Cricket interview: Chirk CC skipper Andrew Swarbrick wins top award

Andrew Swarbrick in batting action for Chirk

Chirk’s Andrew Swarbrick has been named Shropshire County Cricket League John Rees Division One group Player of the Season for 2020 after a superb campaign with bat and ball.

In a curtailed season due to the coronavirus pandemic, first team captain Andrew scored 232 runs at an average of 46.40 and took 18 wickets at 14.71 apiece.

He saved his best batting till last with a spectacular 113 not out off 82 balls, including 10 fours and six sixes, as Chirk beat Pontesbury to secure runners-up spot in the division behind champions Newtown.

Andrew has scored a total of 3,746 runs and scooped 279 wickets across all levels and in all competitions for Chirk, who he first represented in 2002.

Also an outstanding footballer and proven goal-scorer, Andrew won the former Welsh Alliance League with Denbigh Town in 2013-14 and has played for Welsh Premier club Cefn Druids and Gresford Athletic of Cymru North, as well as Penycae in the former Welsh National League Premier Division.

In 2011-12, Andrew netted twice for Druids in their surprise 4-1 Welsh Cup semi-final success over Welsh Premier Airbus at Rhyl.

Cefn were in the second tier Huws Gray Alliance at that point.

Swarbrick also played in the final, where Druids lost 2-0 to The New Saints, but qualified for Europe for the first time.

After his latest cricketing accolade, Grassroots North Wales conducted a quick Q & A with the man himself…..

Grassroots North Wales

How do you feel about winning the Division One Player of the Season award?

Andrew Swarbrick

Winning the award this year was a bit of a shock! There’s a few players in my eyes that deserved it.

Dave Anthony from Newtown was class all year and then Nick Flack and my brother Billy are the three I would have picked, but I won’t complain – it’s a real honour.

Grassroots North Wales

Is this the biggest award you’ve won in cricket?

Andrew Swarbrick

I haven’t really won many awards outside of Chirk so winning Division Two Player of the Season last year was amazing and then Division One this year is just fantastic.

I really feel very lucky but without the lads around me and people like Luke Gardner, who takes a lot of pressure off me captaincy wise, I really wouldn’t have won a thing.

Grassroots North Wales

What are your thoughts on Chirk’s Shropshire League season just gone?

Andrew Swarbrick

With it being a new division again for us we were going into the unknown so to finish runners up in the mini-league is a great achievement.

I want to win every game and believe we can win every game, so at the time when we lost I wasn’t best pleased to say the least, but looking back now I really couldn’t be prouder of the way everyone performed.

Chirk CC line up last season

Grassroots North Wales

Do you prefer the Shropshire League to North Wales League?

Andrew Swarbrick

The two leagues are completely different but coming to the Shropshire League has rejuvenated us, not only as players but as a club as a whole.

Support from the league and the cow corner podcast just shows how much love and effort people put in for the game we all love.

Grassroots North Wales

Is the standard of the Shropshire League better/worse than North Wales Division One/Premier?

Andrew Swarbrick

The difference between both leagues is still a bit vague.

The North Wales Premier is unreal! Some great, great teams and having not played in the Prem in Shropshire I’d consider unfair to comment, but I’m really hoping I’ll be able to answer that question in a few years if we can manage to get there.

I’ve heard very good things and the grounds are unbelievable so it’s definitely a big aim of mine to get to the Shropshire Prem and play there.

Grassroots North Wales

How did the shortened 2020 season go overall? Was it bearable or very frustrating with the Covid-19 effect?

Andrew Swarbrick

I really was amazed we managed to get a single game in never mind a mini league so massive credit to the Shropshire Cricket League!

They made the rules clear and we all did our utmost to stick to them while still enjoying it.

So it definitely wasn’t frustrating at all…think we will all agree we would have done anything to get a game of cricket so it kept the buzz alive and everyone couldn’t have been happier.

Grassroots North Wales

What are your hopes for next year for Chirk?

Andrew Swarbrick

Hopes for next year are clear…to try and win every game and be a close to the top as possible!

Like I said I want to play in the Premier, so that’s the aim really.

Young lads are coming along nicely and Wynn Jones and James Carter looked different class again this year so I’m already really excited to get going.

Grassroots North Wales

Are you playing football this season (when we finally get started)? What are your hopes for the 2020-21 season?

Andrew in the days he played for Denbigh Town

Andrew Swarbrick

Football…I actually am!

My own village Ruabon have started a team Ruabon Rovers, so I’ve signed with them.

Few very close friends are playing like Chris Bennion, who was at Chirk for years and even the great Paul Mazzerella is coming out of retirement, who by the way is looking very very sharp!

More very big signings as well but I’ll leave that for Ruabon Rovers to introduce.

Whether we will start anytime soon who knows but we aren’t just in to make up the numbers.

If we don’t win anything I think it will be a failure so big pressure on the boys but we are more than capable of doing it.

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