19th April 2014

Excellent warm up at Boltons Bench

Lyndhurst & Ashurst 236-7, Sway 203-5

In a match aimed as a warm up game primarily for Sway's 3rd and 4th teamers, Sway travelled the short distance to a sunny Boltons Bench to take on a Lyndhurst & Ashurst side containing a couple of decent new signings.

The home side batted first opening with ex-Beaulieu stalwart Simon George and Sam Constable. The pair were relatively at ease and managed to see off decent spells from James Howard (8-1-63-0) and Cameron Jones  as the score ticking past 50 off 9 overs. It fell to spinner Chris Straw to take the first wicket when he had George caught by Dennis Batchelor for 25. Dave Marshall (8-1-26-2), who had snuck into yet another game, then removed Constable, well caught at mid-on by Nick Brien and a couple of overs later bowled number 4 Charles Brennan for 10. Michael Allport replaced Straw (7-1-50-1) and his two spells of bowling were one of the highlights of the afternoon for Sway - naggingly accurate off-spin that saw his first 4 overs go for just 10 runs, initially with no luck. After switching ends, Allport finally got the wicket his bowling deserved - the dangerous Matt Collett could not resist himself and a bit of turn resulted in the ball looping up to Mark Wright in the gully. It was Wright himself that produced the bowling figures of the day - two overs, two maidens, and one wicket - Rob Hodder amusingly bowled round his legs for 9. Allport (8-1-40-2) then struck again to give Sway hopes of bowling out the home side relatively cheaply  - Kym Homewood creamed an off-drive straight down the throat of Marshall at short mid-off.

Unfortunately for Sway, a partnership then developed between Matt Birch and Dave Agha - Birch thumping 9 fours and 2 sixes on his way to an unbeaten 62 and Agha pushing the quick singles to give the Sway skipper a headache. The pair upped the run-rate and some loss of control by the Sway bowlers in the final few overs saw the home side reach 237 after 42 overs albeit Agha did hole out off the final ball of the innings to give Jones (8-0-44-1) a deserved wicket.

In reply, Sway opened with Pete Bennet and Dennis Batchelor and the pair got Sway off to an excellent start reaching passing 50 in 14 overs in relatively untroubled fashion seeing off opening bowlers Dan Agha (8-1-27-0) and Alex Hodder (8-2-35-0). As the Sway pair tried to up the run-rate, the home side turned to the uber-experienced pairing of Kym Homewood and Dave Agha. Sway members with long memories will recall the last time Homewood played against Sway. Back in 2007 for Ordnance Survey he single handedly destroyed Sway 1st XI taking 8 wickets for just 23 runs. As back then his bowling was on the money and together with Agha (7-0-24-0) they massaged the required rate up past 7 an over. Something had to give and it was Batchelor who fell for a 23, a Homewood delivery unexpectedly climbing on him and was caught at slip trying to fend it off.  Brien joined Bennet who by now was really starting to motor plundering 9 fours and a six before retiring not out for 50. Chris Hammond joined the fray and also looked in good nick and had made 35 when he was dismissed in a game changing moment - an inside edge off man of the match was incredulously caught by the home keeper diving low to his left. Birch had also accounted for Brien for 15 so this left Marshall and Wright the tricky task of trying to score 80 runs to win off the final 8 overs against Homewood (7-0-37-1) and Birch. Marshall clubbed a quick 28 but hopes were already as good as gone when both he and Wright were bowled by Birch (4-0-15-3) and Sway finished 34 runs short.

Despite the defeat to a decent Lyndhurst team, there were lots of positives for the Sway side - important batsmen looked in good nick, the youngsters did a good job with the ball and there was even a welcome return to action by Sway moon-ball maestro Dave Hurrell. Thanks to Nicki Batchelor for umpiring again.