Swardeston Cricket Club have landed a major coup by signing top New Zealand batsman Mathew Sinclair as their overseas player for this summer.
Sinclair was unlucky not to make the New Zealand party for the forthcoming tour of England after an outstanding season which last week saw him named as Central Districts player of the year and be awarded one of 20 central contracts by New Zealand Cricket for the next year.
The twenty-eight-year-old has played 21 Tests and 38 one-day internationals for the Kiwis and has a Test average of 38.54. He made his Test debut in fantastic style in 1999 scoring 214 against the West Indies and followed that with 204 not out against Pakistan the following summer.
Sinclair makes his Swardeston debut this weekend in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League game at Clacton and home fans will have their first chance to watch him on Sunday when Swardeston take on Beccles in the Stan Biss Trophy at The Common.
Director of Coaching David Thomas said: “To have signed someone of Mathew’s calibre is an thrilling development for the club and needless to say we are all very excited looking ahead to the season.
“It was nip and tuck as to whether Mathew would be free to join us as he was called up for the recent Third Test against South Africa and scored 74, so we thought he might make the tour party.
“We began talking to him last autumn so his arrival in the UK this week has been the culmination of a lot of hard work and negotiations.”
Sinclair said: “I am very pleased to be here and looking forward to helping to get Swardeston up where they want to be. Everyone has been very friendly and hospitable and I can’t wait to get the first game underway.”
Sinclair will be the senior coach in Swardeston’s well established schools coaching scheme, which is being sponsored by Norwich-based Design Company whose investment is being matched by Sportsmatch funding.
“We are very grateful to Design Company (as well as our main club sponsors Rogers & Norton) as it’s a result of their backing that we have been able to bring Mathew to the club to work in our scheme,” said Thomas.
Sinclair replaces fellow New Zealander Michael Parlane, who coached in the scheme at Norwich School for the last two years as well as being the club’s main overseas player.
Sinclair has played one season in English club cricket when in 2001 playing for Cleethorpes in the Yorkshire Premier League he scored 1,000 league runs before the end of June. A call-up to play for New Zealand in Sri Lanka then meant he missed nine games and he finished the season with 1195 runs at an average of more than 91. He also picked up 20 wickets.
Swardeston have also signed former Martham Kiwi star Jaden Hatwell to provide junior school coaching in the scheme and play in the Howes Percival Norfolk Alliance premier division team. Hatwell is a proven performer having scored more than 1200 runs for Martham in the league over the past two years.
“Jaden joining is a another huge boost for the club and we are sure he will be a fantastic ambassador for us and our sponsors at the 12 schools in the scheme and be a tremendous asset in the Alliance,” added Thomas.
On the domestic front Swardeston have been bolstered by the signings of Carl Rogers, Michael Eccles, Nick Foster, Jimmy Nicholls, all from Norwich, young wicketkeeper William Rist from Fakenham and bowler Jeremy Wright from Sheringham. Richard Dolding has also joined after moving back to Norfolk and former Norfolk wicketkeepr Matthew Boyden, will also be available after returning to the UK after traveling abroad.