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Swardeston in high spirits ahead of Natwest Club T20 national finals day

Swardeston celebrate winning during the Cockspur Club T20 Final match between Swardeston and South Northumberland at the Rose Bowl on September 23, 2010 in Southampton. Photo by Christopher Lee for the ECB

Swardeston celebrate winning during the Cockspur Club T20 Final match between Swardeston and South Northumberland at the Rose Bowl on September 23, 2010 in Southampton. Photo by Christopher Lee for the ECB

Christopher Lee / ECB

Swardeston travel to Derby today looking to repeat the greatest triumph in their history.

Norfolk’s dominant club team head to the 3aaa County Ground, the home of Derbyshire CCC, for finals day of the Natwest Club T20.

It’s a competition the villagers know well, having lifted the trophy at the Rose Bowl in Southampton in 2010, and they head into their semi-final in high spirits.

Having already wrapped up their fifth consecutive East Anglian Premier League title at the end of last month, the south Norfolk side lifted the Bob Carter Cup for the first time since 2009 on Sunday.

“It’s been a great year,” bowler George Walker said, after captaining his team to that 95-run win over Norwich at Manor Park.

“We’ve got a great set of lads and that counts for a lot, that team spirit, and we’ve got it in abundance.”

Peter Lambert’s 97 led the way to that victory over Norwich on Sunday and it was the batsman who was also on top form to help Swardeston win the national T20 title six years ago.

On that occasion Lambert top-scored in both the semi-finals, scoring 33 in a nine-run victory over Wimbledon, and the final, smashing an unbeaten 72 in an 11-run win over South Northumberland.

Lambert, along with Walker, returning club captain Mark Thomas and bowler Michael Eccles are the remaining regulars from that 2010 success – mixing experience with young talent such as Matty Taylor and Freddie Ruffell.

“It’ll be good, finals day,” Walker continued. “We were there in 2010 but we’re a much different team now.

“We’ve got a chance, Twenty20 cricket only takes a bit of magic with the ball or someone to fire with the bat, but everyone’s up for it.

“I think we’ve got a good chance, I don’t see why not.”

Derbyshire side Sandiacre Town taken on Bramhall of Cheshire in the first semi-final, scheduled for 11.15am, before Swardeston face Kent club Tunbridge Wells.

The final is then set to be played under floodlights from 6.30pm, with free entry throughout the day.

The Norfolk representatives head into finals day in good spirits after Sunday’s win, avenging their 45-run Carter Cup final loss to Norwich last season, when they had to field an understrength team due to a clash with an ECB Club Championship quarter-final. Both clubs agreed to a change of date this season to avoid a similar clash and Swardeston took their opportunity.

“Each tournament we enter we want to win it, there’s no point entering it if not,” Walker added.

“So we wanted to set the record straight because we’d not won it for seven years, so it was definitely something that we wanted.”

Whatever happens in Derbyshire today however, Swardeston’s season is far from over.

Their EAPL title may be wrapped up ahead of their final league game of the season at Frinton-on-Sea on Saturday – but the biggest match in the club’s history then awaits on Sunday, September 18.

The final of the Royal London Club Championship one-day national final against South Northumberland at Northamptonshire CCC is looming, following a one-run win over Weybridge in the semi-finals.

With two trophies already added to the cabinet, Swardeston could be on the verge of the club’s best season yet.

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