30th August 2014

Bitter pill for battling seconds

Sway II 122ao, Winton 149ao

Sway II took on league leaders Winton at Jubilee Field knowing that a victory would see Sway promoted - but also conscious that Winton needed a good win to secure the league title for themselves. An added ingredient to the mix was the cancellation of Sway first eleven's game at Sarisbury which confirmed Sway as champions - not only freeing up a couple of players to play for the 2nds, but also provided raucous support from the sidelines. With skipper Kev Glass having to work, Chris Hammond took the reins and on winning toss, invited the visitors to bat first.

Sway's opening bowlers Nathan David and Dave Marshall were both pumped up for the big occasion. David's first two overs were maidens and Marshall removed both openers in his first two - bowling run-merchant Charlie May then having J Clarke superbly caught by Dom Woodfine at mid-wicket. The initial damage done, Marshall was held back for later with Matt Bramwell joining the attack along with spinner David whose first spell of four overs went for just 7 runs. With Winton staging a minor recovery, Hammond turned to Sway legend Nilantha Atapattu who in his second over had J May caught well behind by the increasingly impressive Laurie Symons to leave Winton at 28-3. David was then rewarded for his fine spell (7-2-25-1) when he had S Blythe caught by Dan Stevenson. A partnership then developed between number three Adam Willard and skipper Ally Williams with the pair steering Winton to 81-4 at the halfway stage before Willard was trapped LBW by Atapattu for 26. Marshall who had been left brooding returned to the attack and duly struck again bowling Luke Phillips for 5, but was again taken out of the action after just a single over as Hammond juggled his resources. Atapattu (10-1-45-3) then claimed another wicket to keep the pressure on Winton, but Williams was still there batting well. Marshall returned for his third spell and Williams duly cracked the ball through cover to bring up a well-made half century - but Marshall got his man, bowling him the very next ball. It was now a matter of trying to finish off the Winton innings without leaking too many runs. Jack Walton (6-0-18-1) did an excellent job of this holding up one end whilst Marshall at the other end polished off the tail to finish with career-best figures of 8.4-2-20-6 as Winton were bowled out for 149 (one short of an extra batting point which ultimately handed the league title to rivals Suttoners).

In reply Sway opened with Dan Stevenson and Dom Woodfine and the first 9 overs were negotiated successfully without incident. Winton had now woken up to their predicament and were bowling and fielding like the Dorset Premier League side they were last season. Both medium pacer Ally Williams and spinner Charlie May were proving very hard to get away. May claimed the wicket of Woodfine for 5 and Stevenson was trapped LBW in the first over of L Garrett to leave Sway on 17-2 after 13 overs. Big hitting Vito Falso was unable to get into the groove and he also fell to Charlie May for 6 and youngster Ryan Drayton was bowled by Garrett leaving Sway at 35-4, but with some strong bats yet to enter the fray. In a crucial moment of the game the classy Jack Walton was dismissed playing a rather uncharacteristic shot in the last over before drinks. Marshall and Atapattu were now at the crease needing 6 an over against some tight bowling and fielding. The pair put on 37 together before the pressure finally told on Marshall who was bowled by Garrett for 16 going for a heave over mid-wicket. The skipper Hammond joined Atapattu and there was still hope of victory with every run being cheered on by the increasing well-lubricated home crowd. Hopes began to fade when Garrett (5 for 31) deceived the Sri Lankan with a slow ball and bowled him for 26.. When Hammond was caught for 15 Sway's chances looked grim and although Matt Bramwell 6 and Symons (15no) get the runs flowing, Sway were eventually all out for 122, 28 runs short of victory and automatic promotion. Sway's disappointment was obvious but it was a superb and fiercely competitive game of cricket and a fitting way to end what has been a very good season and if an additional promotion place comes Sway's way it will be well-deserved.

Thanks to Andy Lee for umpiring such a high pressure game and to all those who have helped out over the course of the season.