The soundtrack to Swardeston’s truly remarkable season is still driving them on in their quest to make history.
The Norfolk club clinched a memorable treble on Tuesday night by lifting the national Natwest Club Twenty20 trophy under the lights at Derby. But they still hope to be singing even more songs of success a week on Sunday when they attempt to write their name into cricketing folklore. If the East Anglian Premier League and Carter Cup champions beat South Northumberland in their maiden Royal London Club Championship (45 overs) final they will become the first team to win both tournaments in the same campaign.
Given the faith they have shown in each other to get this far, it’s no surprise that Journey’s 1981 smash hit ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ has become the anthem that is now synomonous with the glory charge at the Common. And George Walker admits the words continue to ring true for those connected with the EAPL juggernaut.
“I think it was the chairman (Mark Taylor) who got us started with that song,” chuckled the side’s vice-captain.
“He played it one night in the clubhouse, put it on, and thought it was good for what we’re doing. He’s been saying that if we believe we can win all four then we actually can.”
Walker and three of his team-mates, captain Mark Thomas, Michael Eccles and Peter Lambert already knew Swardeston could taste T20 triumph having helped the village club win the illustrious competition in 2010.
For the nine other members of the squad who played during the finals night it was their first experience of getting their hands on the coveted silverware. But Walker insists he felt no need to pass on any words of wisdom prior to their opening clash on the night, a semi-final against Tunbridge Wells.
The Swardeston stalwart said: “You’ve got to try and tell the guys they don’t have to really do anything differently.
“We told them they didn’t have to get to the ground three hours earlier than usual to do extra warm-ups just because it was a big night. Everyone has played a lot of cricket, they know the things they have to do, so it was just about reminding them of that.”
A 25-run success against Wells set up a showdown with Sandiacre Town, who saw off Bramhall, at the home of Derbyshire. And it was the villagers from just south of Norwich who came good with an unbeaten 69 from Lewis Denmark setting the tone.
Chasing 149 for victory, Eccles set the ball rolling with 2-8 and his colleagues completed the job as their opponents collapsed to 83 all out.
Walker, who along with Jeremy Elliott came in for the deciding clash in place of Jason Reynolds and Tom Oxley, said: “The plan was always to use all 13 of us on the night. We have mixed the side about a bit in matches to give everyone a game and use our squad to our advantage.
“All the wickets and runs were shared out. It was a team effort. Lewis will take plenty of credit for his knock, and so he should, but everyone made a difference.”
Once the celebratory headaches have faded, it’s a trip to Frinton-on-Sea up next for their final league game of 2016 on Saturday. It was a fifth clinching of that crown on the spin which started the latest push for honours – a move which may yet end with a quadruple being completed.
Report courtesy of EDP Cricket.