A season in review
Posted in Recreational
Another season is over and this year, like most, I was very glad to be putting the kit in the loft until winter nets start in February.
The season might be over but we have still been very active at Swardeston Cricket Club. On Tuesday we held our 25th annual stag dinner in a marquee on Swardeston common. It was a great evening and was attended by around 250 people. This is our major fundraiser of the year and was certainly enjoyed by all this year.
Guest speaker Alec Stewart was very good and was complemented by Jed Stone - a very funny comedian. It was nice to see England Under-19s manager Tim Boon, who played for Swardeston after finishing a long First Class career. Ex-Norwich School pupil Clive Radley was also in attendance.
It was also announced at the dinner that the club has agreed a three-year deal with The Parson Woodforde Freehouse and Restaurant to become the club's main sponsor.
On Monday night I found myself a very frustrated spectator of the Barbados Cockspur Club Twenty20 finals on Sky. Only a year ago it was us on Sky winning the tournament. It was a great night for club cricketers and one I will always remember.
However, having been there once, you definitely want to make it again. The one consolation we can take is that we lost to the much-deserved winners Ealing. Congratulations to them on a great victory and performance on the night. I know they will have a great trip to Barbados.
The loss to Ealing in the Twenty20 followed by a narrow five-run loss to Cambridge Granta in the league were the major turning points in our season.
We managed to beat Cambridge Granta in the T20 to progress through to the regional finals day. An easy victory over Brentwood - our 20th T20 win in a row - took us through to the final against Ealing on their own turf.
Our major problem in the last couple of months of the season was putting runs on the board and this was again the problem at Ealing. Jaden Hatwell made a half-century out of a poor 95 in total. We made Ealing battle and at 20 for three off the first six overs we thought we had a chance but Ealing showed their class and won by five wickets.
We were still sitting at the top of the league when holders Cambridge Granta visited the common. A good bowling performance bowled them out for 125 but from a reasonable position we managed to lose by five runs and open up the league table.
Cambridge Granta were deserved league winners, coming from nowhere to win 10 of their last 11 games to retain the title. We eventually came third and the finish to our season was not helped by an injury to Joel Abraham, forcing him to return home via the USA six weeks early.
Congratulations also goes to Cambridge Granta for not only retaining the title but for narrowly losing in the final of the National Club Championship. A great advert for the standard of cricket in the East Anglian Premier League especially following our success last year.
We still managed to have a good night on the last day of the season - a leaving party for Jaden Hatwell, who is moving back to New Zealand with wife Victoria and daughter Taylor after spending over 10 years playing cricket in Norfolk.
He has played eight of those seasons for Swardeston and has lived permanently in Norfolk for the last six years. Jaden has undoubtedly been one of our best-ever players and has been integral to our recent success. I will be very sad to see not only a great player but also a very good friend leave in early October.
Season’s honours go to our spin twins Jaden Hatwell and George Walker who took 100 wickets between them. George finished top wicket-taker in our league while Jaden also had a solid season with the bat but like all of us would be slightly disappointed with his tally. However, I do think that Jaden will be impossible to replace but the search starts now.