Harry Swindells: Leicestershire's One-Day Cup hero was looking for a new job before final

Harry Swindells holds up his bat and helmet after scoring a century in Leicestershire's One-Day Cup final win
Harry Swindells came through Leicestershire's academy

Leicestershire's One-Day Cup final hero Harry Swindells says he was job hunting minutes before being unexpectedly called up for Saturday's showdown.

The 24-year-old, who is soon to be out of contract, produced an unbeaten 117 at Trent Bridge, in his first game in the competition this season.

It was an instrumental knock, as the Foxes recovered from 19-4 to beat Hampshire off the final delivery.

"It's a special day, I'll remember it the rest of my life," Swindells said.

"I've been at the club 16 years now and this year has been extremely frustrating. I wanted to play more and contribute to more wins, but the lads have been brilliant and it's been hard to get in.

"I'd not played in any of the group games or the semi-final. But I got my chance and tried to do my best for the team, as I always do."

'Looking for jobs'

While Swindells played a part in Leicestershire's T20 Blast campaign, he has been largely limited to playing with the County Championship side's second XI this season.

When asked about his future at Grace Road after producing his match-winning performance, Swindells revealed just how uncertain he had been only days earlier.

"Thirty minutes before I got the phone call, I was actually looking at jobs," he told BBC Radio Leicestershire.

"It's been a whirlwind of a season and a whirlwind last few days. Never give up and good things will happen."

Swindells was modest when deservedly showered with praise after the game, insisting that he was "not the hero" and that the honour applied to everyone involved.

However, Leicestershire's joint interim head coach James Taylor, a former England batter, politely disagreed.

"He has won it for this club," Taylor said.

Leicestershire interim head coach James Taylor
James Taylor was appointed batting coach at Leicestershire in October 2022 and became joint interim head coach in June after Paul Nixon's departure

"That was one of the best one-day knocks you will see, given the situation. I'm so pleased for him - what a man and hero he is for this club.

"Swindells, he kind of sums up this group. He is always giving, always working incredibly hard and he has taken his chance when it was given to him."

'No perfect road' for Foxes

Taylor said Swindells' poise under pressure, and the character shown by those around him - including an assured 60 from Sam Evans and a trophy-clinching final over with the ball from Josh Hull - exemplified all that the Foxes had produced this season.

Leicestershire had been a side that started the season justifying why they should be allowed to survive as a first-class county, with years of barren results in the red-ball game and failure to achieve white-ball success of any description for more than a decade.

And while they made a strong start to the County Championship season, they were seemingly plunged into turmoil when head coach Paul Nixon was placed on gardening leave in June.

Still, they have gone on to capture their first List A trophy since 1985 and remain in with a chance of promotion to Division One of the County Championship.

"It sums up the way we have been this season," Taylor said. "It hasn't been a perfect road, but we have found a way through."

Leicestershire captain Lewis Hill said the win is proof of the club's value in the English game.

"I've been with Leicestershire for nine years as a professional after being here at 16 in the academy," he said. "I've seen some dark times for the club, so it is great to see the good times returning.

"This trophy shows we are going about it the right way and proving that teams like Leicestershire are needed in county cricket."