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.


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'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.'

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