Double-winner Sean still pinching himself

April 6, 2023

SUFFOLK cricketer Sean Cooper said he is still pinching himself after becoming a World Cup and Ashes winner.

Sean was a member of the England squad that won the Over-50s Cricket World Cup in South Africa, and then regained the Ashes in a 2-0 series win straight after.

Sean, who plays for Worlington and has previously appeared for both Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury, recently returned from three weeks in Cape Town, which saw England play 10 matches in just 17 days.

It was his third World Cup and cost him around £7,000 of his own money as no funding was provided by the ECB towards the tour, training or kit.

The opening bowler, who runs his own personal fitness business – Coops Functional Fitness – from the Mildenhall Hub, designed a three-month physical training programme for the squad to follow ahead of the tournament.

The only game England lost in the 45-overs-a-side tournament was to Pakistan in the group stage.

Sean played in five of the six group games, against India, Namibia, Pakistan, UAE and Wales, before a heel injury ruled him out of both the semi-final and showpiece final against hosts South Africa.

Although naturally disappointed he didn’t feature in the final, which England won at the iconic Newlands venue at the foot of Table Mountain, Sean was involved in the warm-ups and taking out drinks to his team-mates.

However, he recovered to play a part in England regaining the Ashes Series that followed.

England’s success came five years after Sean was in the side that lost to Pakistan in the semi-finals of the first-ever Over-50s World Cup in Australia, and also lost the 2018 edition of the Ashes after winning them in 2017.

Sean, who celebrated his 56th birthday during the tournament, said the double success felt unreal and he was still pinching himself.

“It’s definitely something that dreams are made of creating emotions and irreplicable memories that I don’t think can ever be matched,” he said.

He described the playing schedule as “horrific for anyone, never mind a bunch of 50-plus year olds” but the training programme he devised meant England were the fittest and most dynamic squad at the tournament.

Sean continued: “We had an unbreakable team spirit with such a positive mindset, skill set and depth in the squad, where everyone was replaceable which allowed player management and rotation, and gave us the tools and belief that winning both was possible.”

The World Cup win was followed by two matches on consecutive days against Australia, England winning both to reclaim the Ashes.

Sean helped to reduce the Australians to 26 for 6 in the second match as England won by nine wickets.

He said: “Three games in three days gave everyone involved the feelings, memories, and a bond that many will never experience and something that can never be taken away from us.

“We were a squad that had a couple of players with a splattering of first-class games, a lot of Minor Counties experience and good club players, unlike other squads that were littered with first-class and ex-international Test and ODI players, that everyone of us to a man said, that regardless of what we’ve achieved before in our cricket careers comes nowhere near the elations of lifting this World Cup and Ashes.

“Playing in this environment and being part of the atmosphere that is naturally created by the buzz of being at the World Cup, competing against the ex-Test and ODI players is something that once you‘ve experienced you never not want to be a part of so for me, to be playing at my third World Cup and to win it is something that I’m not sure how to explain with words.”


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