South North put to the Sward


Peter Lambert hit a sensational 72 not out as Swardeston completed a remarkable comeback to beat South Northumberland by 11 runs and win the Cockspur Club Twenty20.

Under the lights at the Rose Bowl, the 20-year-old student smashed five sixes to help the Norfolk club recover from 24 for four to set the 2008 champions 130 to win.

In reply South Northumberland struggled against Swardeston’s accurate bowling, spearheaded by the excellent Michael Eccles who finished with a miserly 1-12 from four overs.

Swardeston’s spinners Richard Sims and George Walker squeezed during the middle overs, which left South Northumberland needing an unlikely 18 from the final over – a target they did not get close to.

As champions, Swardeston will spend 10 days in Barbados thanks to sponsors Cockspur, although had Lambert not fired so spectacularly then it would have been South Northumberland scrambling for their passports.

On a dank evening, Will Rist was the first to go, trapped leg before by the impressive Stephen Humble and he was soon followed by captain Mark Thomas, who was pinned in front by a ball that jagged back from Jonathan Wightman.

Sims then became the third lbw victim to leave Swardeston 11 for three in only the third over.

Lambert mounted a much-needed counter-attack with a pulled four and driven six off Wightman, but Swardeston suffered a further setback when Jaden Hatwell was comprehensively yorked by Humble who ended with 3-12.

The busy Walker joined Lambert with plenty of work needed to repair Swardeston’s flailing innings and the duo took their side past the 50-mark.

But just as Walker was beginning to look comfortable as he nurdled the spinners, he skewed an attempted drive off Lee Crozier straight to gully.

Ian Tufts then lofted the same bowler straight to long-off and Swardeston were plunged further into the mire at 73 for seven when Ed Hopkins was brilliantly caught and bowled in the 15th over by a diving Richard Brook.

The flurry of dismissals cleared the stage for Lambert who single-handedly transformed the innings with a succession of clean strikes which cleared the boundary.

He launched Chris Hooker straight down the ground for a maximum and reached his fifty, from 39 balls, with a checked drive that flew past the despairing fielder at long-off. It was a shot any of the England players would have been proud of when they played here 24 hours earlier.

Despite losing Jonny Cooper in the late charge for runs, Lambert cantered on and cracked two more sixes in the final over including a huge blow off the last ball of the innings.

Just as Swardeston had done in their innings, South Northumberland struggled to negotiate the new ball, especially Eccles with his peculiar action.

With his arm coming over once before eventually delivering the ball, Eccles held on to a sharp caught and bowled to dismiss Sam Jobson in the third over.

The hard-hitting Hooker and Chris Hewison responded to the early wicket aggressively with the latter unfurling a sumptuous drive that pieced the cover fielders.

Hooker was slightly more agricultural, although his pulled six at the end of the sixth over was as good as anything seen all day.

Unfortunately for his side he ditched his burly approach for something more cute which brought his downfall, lbw to Walker attempting a reverse sweep.

South Northumberland lost another wicket in the 11th over when captain John Graham called Hewison through for a risky single and was run out after good work by Cooper.

At 56 for three, Graham did his best to haul his side back up with the rate but, having reached 34, he perished to a sensational caught and bowled by Hatwell who held on to a fizzing drive with one hand.

That wicket left South Northumberland needing 34 off 17 balls which soon became 25 off the last two overs thanks to James Miller’s pulled four.

The returning off-spinner Sims made Swardeston favourites with two wickets in the penultimate over, first yorking Miller with a flatter delivery then luring Adam Cragg down the track to be stumped by Hopkins.

Eccles was entrusted with the final over, with Swardeston needing 18 runs to win, and the experienced bowler kept his nerve to spark wild celebrations.


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