Swardeston promote star batsman Joe Gatting to vice-captain
East Anglian Premier League champions Swardeston have promoted star batsman Joe Gatting to vice-captain as thoughts turn to the new season.
The former Sussex and Hampshire right-hander became the south Norfolk villagers' professional ahead of the 2016 campaign and went on to play a pivotal role in a superb season.
He helped Swardeston win their fifth consecutive EAPL title, topping the league's batting ranking with 978 runs and an average of 51.47.
The club also enjoyed national success, winning the Natwest Club T20 and reaching the Royal London Club Championship final, as well as winning the Carter Cup, the EAPL's T20 competition and reaching the Norfolk T20 final.
The 29-year-old was at the centre of much of that success and has now committed to the club for the next two seasons.
Swardeston chairman, Mark Taylor, said: 'It's always a bit of a risk when somebody joins the club who you've never met before but I spoke to Joe a couple of times via social media and I got a feeling that we were going to get on really well with him.
'It's not until he arrived that you could see that and I have to say, he's been absolutely fantastic for the club and for the cricket scene in Norfolk in general. Joe's been doing coaching work at Norwich School as well and I know he's very highly thought of there.'
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Gatting – currently scoring lots of goals for Dereham Town during the football season – will now assist captain Mark Thomas, with George Walker stepping down as vice-captain but remaining on the club's selection committee.
'I've watched Joe play football and it's a bit like watching him play cricket, you get the feeling he should be playing at the step above, but he doesn't behave like that,' Taylor continued.
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'He's committed to the cricket club, not just a professional cricketer ending his career with a club like Swardeston. He's coaching the young players, he's been absolutely fantastic, we couldn't have dreamed it would go so well, not just with his work on the pitch, but around the club as well.'