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

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

Friday, 12th May 2017, 9:45 am
Updated Friday, 12th May 2017, 2:27 pm
Gary Freear in action.

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.

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.

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Johnny Bairstow (right) with Joe Root.

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.

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

HERO OF THE WEEK

Nigel Clough is my manager of the year.

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

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

Eugenie Bouchard (right) and Maria Sharapova.

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.

Johnny Bairstow (right) with Joe Root.
Nigel Clough is my manager of the year.
Eugenie Bouchard (right) and Maria Sharapova.