Swardeston claim reward for Cockspur triumph

Swardeston are currently enjoying the trip of a lifetime as a reward for their stunning performance in the Cockspur Club Twenty20 finals.

Mark Thomas' side triumphed on a memorable evening in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Hampshire's Rose Bowl in September – and their prize is a 10-day cricketing holiday in Barbados.

The team – minus teachers Ed Hopkins and Richard Sims and student Daniel Martin, who were unable to travel – flew out on Saturday for four days of festival cricket as part of the annual Rumsey Pro-Am tournament. While Swardeston will not be playing as a team, their players have the chance to perform alongside a string of ex-professionals.

Among the names listed to appear – subject to ECB commitments – are former England Test players Darren Gough, Bill Athey, Gladstone Small, Craig White and Neal Radford, along with West Indian Phil Simmons and South African Brian McMillan.

Swardeston vice-captain George Walker said: 'It's a once in a lifetime experience to be able to play in Barbados, to have a beer afterwards with some of those players and to pick their brains – I'm sure they've got plenty of stories to tell.

'A couple of our lads have said they're not fussed about playing, but most of us are going to have at least one game and go from there. The trip is a good mixture of cricket and other activities so it's been really well organised.'

As well as the cricket, there are golf challenge days, a lunch cruise, safari tour and various beach parties.

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Walker said the magnitude of Swardeston's success just over a month ago had now started to sink in: 'I've still got it on my SkyPlus and I watch parts of it every so often – I must have seen it 10 times. It was a great day and we got an amazing reception when we went round the pitch at Carrow Road the week after. It's been good fun.'

He added: 'It'll be nice to play in a different country. All the lads love their cricket and it'll be a good team bonding exercise. We've worked hard for the season and probably got fed up of each other's faces, but we've had a nice little break now so it'll be a great trip.'