Swardeston crowned NatWest Club T20 champions

Tuesday 6th September 2016
& News
Written by Danny Painter

Swardeston were crowned NatWest Club T20 champions with victories over Tunbridge Wells and Sandiacre on Finals Day at The 3aaa County Ground on Tuesday.

The East Anglian Premier League club beat Tunbridge Wells by 23 runs in a tense semi final before defeating Derbyshire Premier League side Sandiacre in the floodlit final.

Their previous triumph came in 2010 when they beat South Northumberland in the final – the same opponents they face in the final of the Royal London Club Championship in Northampton on Sunday week, September 20.

No club has ever won both national competitions since the NatWest Club T20 was launched in 2008, so Swardeston now stand on the brink of making history with a national double.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve had in cricket so far,” said Lewis Denmark, a 22-year batsman who plays Minor Counties cricket for Norfolk, and followed a crucial 39 in the semi final with a match-winning unbeaten 69 against Sandiacre.

“What an achievement for the club. They won it six years ago, but most of us weren’t involved in that. We’ve got a squad of 13 who have all played their part in this, and to have such great support at the final made it even more memorable.

“We’ve already won the East Anglian Premier League, we won our local 60-over cup competition on Sunday, now we’ve won the T20 – and we’ve said all along, we want to win four.”

Swardeston’s triumph was all the more impressive as it came with only cameo contributions from Joe Gatting, the former Sussex and Hampshire batsman whose spectacular hitting had played a key part in firing them to the final.

He was dismissed for 21 in both the semi final and the final, but made a big contribution with the ball, taking the last three wickets in seven balls without conceding a run as Sandiacre were all out for 83 – watched by his uncle Mike, who has been a long-term supporter of Finals Day in the NatWest Club T20.

Sandiacre had beaten Bramhall, of the Cheshire County League, in the first semi final of the day, thanks largely to a brutal 73 from the former Derbyshire batsman Dan Birch – including a six over extra cover which smashed a window in the 3aaa Pavilion.

Then Swardeston held off a determined challenge from Tunbridge Wells, for whom Fred Florry took four for 26 with his left-arm spin.

Denmark top-scored with 39 as Swardeston maintained their momentum despite losing regular wickets, and captain Thomas then took three for 21 as the Kent side were all out for 144 in their reply.

Sky will show a highlights package before the Royal London One-Day Cup final on the morning of Saturday week, September 17, and also had cameras at the ground to capture a flavour of the day.

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