18th April 2014

Season opens with hard fought win

Bishops Waltham 196ao, Sway 206-8

The two best teams in CD3 last season went head-to-head in an entertaining and hard fought pre-season friendly at sun drenched Albany Road.

Sway skipper Alex Hall lost the toss and was put in to bat and things did not get off to a good start when Dan Stevenson was bowled in the first over by Phil Dalton. Sam Nailor joined the skipper in the middle looking to banish the memory of his start to the 2015 season when he managed just seven runs in as many innings. The pair soon settled down and looked comfortable and the early setback was soon forgotten. By the time Nailor was trapped LBW for a well-made 35, Sway had reached 76 off 15 overs. Number 4 Jon Grasham failed to trouble the scorers and when Ryan Drayton was also bowled for 2, the game had evened up with Sway at 98-4. Hall however looked in fine form, cruising past his half century in a chanceless innings on the way to 79 when he finally holed out with the score at 137. Adam Clark was rotating the strike well with new bat Vito Falso, but Falso took one chance too many off the tempting slow bowler and was caught for 2 whilst Clark was a tad unfortunate to be adjudged LBW for 13. Dave Marshall and David Steadman then put on 48 for the 8th wickets and as the overs ran out really looked to push the run rate. Marshall was eventually run out for 13 but Steadman was still there at the end unbeaten on 43 (one of the highest ever Sway scores for a number 9) as Sway finished up with a competitive total of 206-8.

After tea Sway took to the field and opened their attack with Jon Waller and Steadman. Waller initially struggled whist Steadman was on the money from the start despite drawing the short straw of having to bowl uphill into a somewhat stiff and gusty wind. The home side openers McGee and Boriani settled in and had rattled off 29 runs off the first 7 overs with only some quality fielding from the two youngsters Drayton and Falso keeping a lid on the scoring. Hall then introduced Grasham into the attack - coming down the hill with the wind behind him, the big man was genuinely hostile and in a key moment a huge edge flew high down to deep third man where it was well caught by Steadman to dismiss Boriani for 14. McGee at the other end was looking comfortable but then took a very sharp blow off Steadman in the Queensburys that resulted in the youngster having to retire hurt.

Dave Marshall then replaced Steadman and clearly jaded by his 12 hour journey from Spain served up one of the worst first balls ever seen! Marshall slowly woke up and trapped number 3 James Carss LBW for 12 with the score on 54. Marshall then removed dangerous number 4 Harry Barrett who was caught at 2nd slip by Vito Falso for 22. The very next over the miserly Jack Walton showed why his 10 overs every week will be hard to replace when he goes on his travels when he deservedly had Dave Corder caught behind by Hall for 7. When Walton picked up his 2nd wicket, that of Dalton LBW for 13 Sway looked well in control of the game with Bishops Waltham struggling on 106-5  off 26 overs. Harry McGee however proved quite literally to be a very hard nut to crack when he returned back to the action. McGee stylishly brought the home side back into the game with a series of fine strokes, which were a pleasure for cricket purists to behold  as he worked the ball skilfully around the field.

The score had moved on to 148 by the time the dangerous number 7 Hussain was bowled by Waller for 21. Marshall then claimed his 3rd wicket with another catch by Vito Falso, this time in the covers. McGee was still there however already having passed his half century and there was a real wobble from Sway - with a set batsman, 36 off the last 5 overs looked on for the home side. McGee's fine innings however came to an end when he went down the track to a Waller delivery and was stumped for 65 - with the advantage of hindsight, McGee possible did not need to attempt that particular shot. The skipper Dan Wheeler then smashed a quick fire 17 to raise home supporters hopes but when Steadman, now steaming in down the hill knocked over the number 10, Sway were closing in on victory which was duly wrapped up when Wheeler was bowled by Grasham with the 3rd ball of the final over.

Lots of positives from the game for both sides for the season ahead. Thanks to Nikki Batchelor and Steve Drayton for umpiring.