19th July  2014

 

Bowlers rescue 2nds yet again

New Milton III 76ao, Sway II 141ao

Sway stand-in skipper Chris Hammond lost the toss and was put into bat by the home skipper, the decision perhaps in part influenced by the possibility of rain later in proceedings. Sway opened with Dan Stevenson and FJ Charton and the pair raced off to a rapid start with Charton in particular taking a liking to the New Milton openers Andy Beck and Harry Ennals. The Gallic enigma hit two massive sixes including one that ricocheted off several buildings and almost ended up in Ballard School's swimming pool as Sway raced to 39 off the first 6 overs. New Milton then responded by bringing on the experienced & tricky Kirstian Locke in partnership with Hampshire U15 star Kieran Whittle. The youngster had looked handy in the pre-season friendly against Sway 1st team and was on the money right from the off with late inswingers checking the progress of Sway's openers and dismissing Charton for a quick fire 29 when he was bowled in a vain attempt to smash a low leg stump full toss. Number 3 Justin Connor did not last long, nicking a decent ball from Whittle to the keeper and when Whittle bowled Stevenson for 12, Sway had been pegged right back to 59-3 off 14 overs. Batting frailties have been an issue for the team this term and this game was no different as Sway's middle order imploded. Steve How was bowled by Whittle for 4 then very next ball Casper Todd was adjudged LBW. The skipper strode to the middle with Whittle on a hatrick - the batsmen's attempt to exert his authority over the youngster back-fired when the putative big hit failed to connect and he was bowled to spark joyous scenes.

Sway had now lost 6 wickets for just 20 runs and at 66-6 imminent collapse seemed a real possibility. Sam Nailor and Dave Marshall, however, steadied the ship with some sensible batting and set out on a course to try and set some kind of defendable total. The pair put on 62 for the 7th wicket before Marshall (30) became Whittle's 7th victim. Number 9 Dom Woodfine only made 2 but he did achieve something his predecessors did not manage - not getting out to Whittle and was bowled by Locke instead! Normal service was however resumed when both Nailor (35) and Nathan David were dismissed by Whittle to leave the youngster with amazing figures of 8.3-3-24-9 as Sway were bowled out for 141 in the 41st over.

To have any hope of victory Sway needed to bowl & field out of their skins and the skipper opted for the pace of Sam Nailor and the nagging accuracy of Steve How. It was Nailor that struck first with the score on just 5 when opener Harry Ennals was brilliantly caught low down by a diving keeper Laurie Symons. Fellow opener Pete Wakefield looked steady and composed, but number 3 Mark Sherred became Nailor's second victim when he was well caught at backward point by Justin Connor. Wakefield and number 4 Dean Miller got the innings back on track and the home side had reached 40-2 by the end of the 14th over, however, spinner Nathan David (8-1-21-1) was soon into his rhythm and deservedly got a victim when Miller was caught by Todd in the covers.

At 41-3, New Milton must still have been clear favourites - like Sway before them the middle order evaporated, but this time there was no batting partnership to save them. Sway youngster Dom Woodfine replaced Nailor and after an over or so to find his length, got into his stride and picked a crucial wicket bowling the belligerent Wakefield for 33. Then in his next over Woodfine (5-1-13-2) produced a cracker to remove the dangerous Locke to leave New Milton in real bother at 55-5 and the Sway players really starting to believe. The skipper knew he had plenty of overs in hand from the normally economical Marshall and How, so he brought back Nailor for a quick burst of pace and the tactic paid a double-dividend as Nailor (7-2-12-4) bowled Lee Miller and had Ashley Russell caught is the simplest of catches at short-mid off by Charton. With the New Milton innings now disintegrating it seemed only wicket-hero Whittle could stand in Sway's way and for a while it seemed on especially when he smashed one How over for 10 runs. How got his man next over though when a massive top edge ballooned up to the keeper and Whittle was half-way back to the pavilion before the ball safely nestled in Symons gloves. There was just time for Marshall to take his customary first ball wicket then the next over victory was secured when Mikey Gargaro was superbly caught at slip by Hammond off How 6.2-2-15-2. The star of the day was of course Whittle, but it was a great fight back by Sway and a top performance with the ball and in the field.