Strictly Come Dancing: Graeme Swann takes nasty SWIPE at rival Ashley Roberts as he leaves the show

Cricketer Graeme Swann took a cheeky swipe at Strictly rival Ashley Roberts as he became the ninth celebrity to leave the competition last night.

After facing Ashley in the dance-off, he said: “Secretly I’ve had 25 years of ballroom experience, but I kept that to myself.”

He admitted he could not compete with Ashley, a former member of pop act The Pussycat Dolls, and partner Pasha Kovalev.

The judges all preferred their samba to Graeme and his partner Oti Mabuse’s quickstep.

Graeme, 39, said: “I’d have voted for Ashley and Pasha as well. I can’t quite believe I was put against them. I would have been so embarrassed if I’d got through instead of her – she’s an incredible dancer.”

Strictly Come Dancing: Graeme Swann takes nasty SWIPE at rival Ashley Roberts as he leaves the show

Graeme and Oti say goodbye
(Image: PA)

Oti was clearly emotional as she set to say goodbye to her friend, who she declared gave her her best series so far.

She said: "I’ve had the best season of my entire career on Strictly. I have never laughed so much, I’ve never been so angry so much. I have the best friend in you. We might not have been the best dancers but you have the spirit of Strictly.

"The show is such a nice family to be a part of the judges are amazing, the pros and the celebs are such a great support because they are lovely, so thank you guys.”

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After both couples had danced a second time the judges delivered their verdicts, with Craig Revel Horwood saying: “For me it’s a no brainer and the couple I’d like to save, Ashley and Pasha.”

Darcey Bussell said: “The couple I would like to save based on this dance is the more technically efficient performance and that was Ashley and Pasha.”

Shirley Ballas agreed with all the judges, after Bruno Tonioli said: " No disrespect but it’s evident. Overall much much stronger on every level, come on, it’s Ashley. Ashley and Pasha.”

Strictly Come Dancing’s Stacey Dooley collapses in tears after powerful Paso Doble

Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday 1 December at 6.50pm, with the results show on Sunday 2 December at 7.20pm on BBC1.