In our stars of ECL series, we look at Swardeston’s wicket-keeper batsman Stephen Gray. One of East Anglia's leading cricket clubs, England’s champion team Swardeston can trace its distinguished history back over 150 years. Having won a historic domestic double including a thrilling win at Lords, Swardeston were unkindly denied their shot at the European Cricket League title following the postponement of ECL20 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
How much of a disappointment was the postponement of ECL20?
Hugely disappointing! It would have been the highlight of the season regardless of the result. I felt very fortunate to be a part of such a massive tournament.
What’s your opinion on the ECL21 qualification process announced recently?
I think the ECL have been superb since first inviting us to join the competition. Their decision on this matter is the only fair process so I am thankful they have given me another opportunity to be a part of the tournament.
How has your life changed since covid19 crisis?
Obviously, the lack of contact with friends and family, but I have a young daughter and it’s been good to spend time with her and my wife.
Cricket-wise how has your life changed since covid19 crisis?
Cricket has always been a stress reliever for me so I’ve had to find other avenues to help me. Lack of training is difficult and my wife throw downs aren’t as good as the lads!
What’s the toughest part of the current covid19 crisis for you?
Social contact with friends and family. I’m a sociable person who likes to spend time doing things. Not being able to take my daughter places she enjoys like the sea life centre.
Positively, what is the best part? If any?
The realisation of not taking anything for granted.
Who or what is your greatest inspiration at this time?
NHS, police and anyone who is putting others health and safety in front of their own.
What do you do more of these days? And less?
I am doing more exercise which is positive, but I usually do a lot more sport so it balances out.
What would be your dream FIRST game back after the fight has been won against covid19?
Great game of cricket, lots of runs, tight game but coming out as winners and then having a beer on the outfield with the lads.
What was the highlight of your cricketing career so far?
Becoming a double national champion for Swardeston 2019 while playing at Lord’s.
Who is the best bowler you've faced?
England and Yorkshire seamer Matthew Hoggard.
The fastest bowler you've faced?
England T20 and Sussex quick Tymal Mills.
And the best spinner faced?
Who is the best batsman you've played with?
Australia’s Justin Langer