15th August 2015


2nd XI dig deep for crucial win

Relegation threatened Sway 2nd XI played host to Damerham badly needing a victory to move clear of the RD1 relegation zone.

With Alex Hall and Adam Clark kindly volunteering their services for the 2nds and with a bonus appearance of Lloyds of London quant & Sway legend Terry Steadman, the batting line up looked strong so skipper Dan Stevenson naturally opted to bat on winning the toss.

Sam Nailor and Rick How opened the batting for Sway but found themselves pinned down by the Damerham bowling attack of James Vincent & Ben Bealey both of who were bowling tight lines. Nailor gloved a Vincent delivery through to the keeper for just 4 runs and after 8 overs Sway had managed just 16. How & number three Hall however were both playing themselves in and were just starting to up the rate when Hall got a poor half-tracker from Edgely but only succeeded in pulling this "hit me" inscribed piece of leather straight to mid-wicket where he was caught for 15. Shortly afterwards How was caught for a well made 22 to leave Sway in a spot of bother at 52-3.

Terry Steadman

Steadman was in at number four, and proving that form is temporary but class is permanent, settled straight in at the crease as easily as he might settle down into his favourite comfy chair and in partnership with number 5 Adam Clark, the Sway innings settled down. As to be expected the running between the wickets was excellent and the bad balls were put away as Sway started looking forward to a total approaching 200 or perhaps more. This was not to be as the innings was checked again when the Lutine bell unexpectedly tolled for Steadman when he was on 31 and Clark also perished for 33 just before both were really looking to open up. The lower order did their best to keep the score moving on - Chris Hammond chipping in with 11 before being unfortunate to deflect the ball onto his stumps off his body but the Damerham bowlers kept it tight with skipper Henry Gilbert box of spinning tricks being particularly hard to get away. Sway were finally bowled out in the final over for a somewhat sub par 161.

Damerham were delighted with their performance and after another superb tea courtesy of the Mrs & Mrs Stevenson, were even more pleased to have bowled first! Sway on the other hand knew that they would have to bowl and field out of their skins if they were to win the game. Sway opened their attacked with on-form Sam Nailor and Dave "jaws" Marshall returning to cricket after injury. The opening overs were just what the doctor ordered with just 5 runs coming off the first 6 overs and Marshall's initial 4 over spell going for just two. Better still, there were two early wicket as opener Horne was bowled by Nailor and his partner Holmes bowled by Marshall. This brought to the crease Damerham's key batting partnership of Bealey and the skipper Gilbert. After surviving a a few early edges that missed fielders and the odd LBW shout, the pair batted superbly - ticking the score along nicely and putting away any bad balls on offer.

Sam Nailor - two 5-fors in a row!

Sway's change bowlers of Lewis Marden (8-0-39-0) and Alex Hall (6-0-26-0) were both bowling some good balls, but with a low required rate, the batsman patiently waited for the right balls to dispatch to the boundary. By the half way stage the pair were still together and had knocked off more than half the required total and Sway heads were starting to drop. With the game seemingly drifting away, Stevenson was left with few options other than to gamble and bring his opening bowlers back on early. For a few overs no joy was to be had as Damerham cruised passed 100 with relative ease.

Sway's luck then began to change. Gilbert smashed a  Marshall off stump half volley over cover to bring up an excellent half century, but the very next ball Marshall deceived Gilbert with a slower ball in the same spot and he could only loop a his-mistimed shot to the safe hands of Hall in the covers as he tried to repeat the shot he played previously. Just a few balls later Nailor had number 5 M Colbourne caught by Steadman for just 3. Sway had suspected that Damerham's batting order might be a bit fragile in the lower order so when Rick How took a sharp catch at 2nd slip off Marshall (10-3-23-3) to snaffle number 6 Thompson for a duck, Sway were really starting to sense the possibility of victory and were boosted by the vocal support of the returning 1st XI. Nevertheless Bealey was still there and was batting with Vincent who had made the batting averages in 2014 albeit his form in 2015 was not as good.  It then fell to Nailor to deliver the fatal blows to the visitor's chances, first having Bealey trapped LBW in front for 37 then bowling Vincent for 10. Nailor (10-1-22-5) then picked up his second successive 5-wicket haul when he had D Colbourne LBW for a duck. With just two wickets left and the the run rate climbing fast Sway were now odds on favourites but there was still a job to be done and it was Steadman (3.1-1.8-2) who picked up the final two wickets, both bowled as Damerham collapsed to 120 all out.

With two games to go Sway are not safe but this vital win means that it would take a couple of really poor performances co-inciding with some fairly unlikely results elsewhere for Sway to get dragged back into the relegation zone.