SWANNY’S WORLD OF SPORT: Freear is a real clubman, unlike many non-league footballers, Clough a hero, cheats don’t prosper

Gary Freear in action.
Gary Freear in action.
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How refreshing in a weekend of local sport dominated by professional players to see a genuine amateur clubman grab some headlines.

Wisbech Cricket Club skipper Gary Freear has played at Harecroft Road all his life (bar a brief unenjoyable spell at Godmanchester as a youngster) and has never taken a penny from them to play.

Johnny Bairstow (right) with Joe Root.

Johnny Bairstow (right) with Joe Root.

He’s spurned overtures from other clubs to stay at HIS club through thick and thin. His 190 not out in a Cambs Division One match followed by a hitting a six off the last ball of a match to seal an unlikely victory last weekend lead to some well-deserved publicity.

I enjoyed watching Asim Butt and Ben Smith stroke delightful tons for Peterborough Town and Oundle last weekend, but they are employees excellent at their job.

As for the delirious local footballer banging on about club spirit and loyalty last weekend when he’s at his sixth club in the last five years, words, for once, have failed me.

Many local non-league footballers would move clubs at the drop of a hat for an extra fiver. They’d be off like a shot if the money ever ran out.

Nigel Clough is my manager of the year.

Nigel Clough is my manager of the year.

Loyalty demands more than a couple of seasons at the same club.

HERO OF THE WEEK

I have a confession to make. I didn’t think Burton Albion would get 20 Championship points in their first season at that level so for them to stay up with a week to spare is a remarkable achievement for such a small club. Kudos to Clough, a manager I had dismissed as a dull boss of dull teams. He should be manager of the year.

JONNY MUDDIES THE WATER

Eugenie Bouchard (right) and Maria Sharapova.

Eugenie Bouchard (right) and Maria Sharapova.

England have just muddied their Champions Trophy selection waters by playing against an outclassed Ireland side in two one-day internationals. Any motivated England squad player was likely to fill his boots against such hopeless opposition as Jonny Bairstow (above) did. He should be in the side anyway even if not keeping wicket. Interest in Sam Billings as a wicket-keeper/batsman is baffling when a proven international star is in such great form.

CHEATS DON’T ALWAYS PROSPER

Tennis player Eugenie Bouchard was close to becoming my heroine of the week. Her win over Maria Sharapova was a great advert for the ladies game, but more importantly proved that cheats don’t always prosper.