Swardeston CC Become First Club Ever to Claim Knockout Trophy Double
Swardeston etched their name in history after they became the first club to claim the national knockout trophy double with victory at the Vitality Club T20 Finals Day on Sunday.
All-rounder Callum Taylor was the hero as he crashed 22 from nine balls before claiming five for 18 as the East Anglians defeated Toft Cricket Club by 21 runs under the lights at the Pattonair County Ground in Derby.
It completed a memorable week for Swardeston after they had secured the first leg of their historic double at Lord’s on Monday when they defeated Nantwich CC in a rain-affected Royal London Club Championship final by 53 runs.
The record books therefore beckoned at Derby for Swardeston – who narrowly failed to secure the double three years ago and – but this time they were not bowed as they claimed their third national T20 title in the past decade.
“It’s incredible. This is by far the best week of all of our lives,” Taylor said.
“To do the double and the fact that it has never been done before just goes to show how hard it is.
“We’re so tight as a team on and off the field. We are all just best mates really and I think that shows with the team spirit."
Swardeston first swept aside Surrey’ Cranleigh CC by 47 runs in the morning semi-final and, after watching Toft snatch a dramatic last-ball win over Sheffield Collegiate CC, their powerful batting line-up ensured the Cheshire club’s momentum was halted.
Skipper Joe Gatting, the former Sussex and Hampshire batsman, was the architect of the semi-final victory, thumping six sixes in a 29-ball 61, as they rattled up 200 for six.
The final was more of a showcase for Swardeston’s batting depth as opener Jordan Taylor, the brother of Callum, paced the innings with 45 from 39 balls before Lewis Denmark (39) and Lord’s man-of-the-match Peter Lambert (33) hurried the final total to 178 for seven.
Callum Taylor then claimed two early wickets and while the evening dew aided Toft’s hitters the match turned when Gatting and Denmark combined for a brilliant outfield catch on the long-off boundary to dismiss James Scott, who had struck 41 from 23 balls.
Taylor then mopped up the tail before Tom Oxley’s direct hit completed the win with Toft bowled out for 157.
“It’s crazy really, I’m lost for words,” Taylor added.
“Whether I take five wickets or I don’t take one as long as I can contribute to us wining.
“Over the years we have become one of the biggest clubs in national teams which is great for a little club from Norwich. That is down to the bunch of lads who are unbelievable.”
Toft skipper Jimmy Lomas praised the spirit of his side as they put aside a disappointing league campaign to reach the T20 final.
It was the first time the club had reached a national knockout final for 30 years and Lomas was certain his young team had done the club proud.
“None of this team were born the last time the club got to a national final,” said Lomas, who at 28 years of age was the oldest member of the Toft team.
“It was the biggest day that we’ve had as a club since then and we really enjoyed it. It’s just not quite gone our way in the final, but I’ve never been prouder of the lads. We were just beaten by the better team.”
Toft reached the final in sensational circumstances when, with four needed from the final ball of their semi-final against Sheffield Collegiate CC, Henry Hughes found the cover rope.
It sparked wild celebrations which have gained online attention after it was posted on their Twitter handle.
“I’ve seen the video and that is one that we will treasure,” Lomas said.
“Henry certainly enjoyed the moment - I think he did a full lap. There have been a lot of great memories getting here and we’ve made more today and I’m proud not just of the lads but the club as a whole who have supported us throughout.”
© Cricket World 2019