25th April 2016


Guildford "tour" report

A happy band of Sway players & officials boarded the party bus on a sunny but chilly morning for the traditional pre-season "tour" game to Guildford to play old friends, Sanford Arms.

After the usual stop off for the Hampshire League distribution event and another stop to drain Tesco Express of Ginsters steak slices and scotch eggs, the bus finally reached the ground - which was predictably cold, but at least the wicket looked to be in good shape, having been freeze dried like a jar of coffee!

The home side batted first in a timed game and got off to a steady but unspectacular start. George Lewis was bowling some quick stuff at one end and Andy Straw was accurate at the other which kept the runs down but with no breakthrough. Eventually a couple of wickets did fall (cant remember who to!) but it was Chris Straw who made the crucial breakthrough  claiming the wicket of dangerman Chris Cooke.

Cooke had battered Sway in 2015 scoring an unbeaten 129 out of Sanford's total of 169, so the pro ice hockey star was itching to get at the bowling as he seemed marooned at the non-strikers end. With the final ball of the Goose's first over, Cooke made it onto strike and Dave Marshall was still retreating rapidly to the deep mid off boundary when Cook predictably launched a missile toward the cow corner boundary. Marshall was able to run round and take the catch - and early contender for catch of the season, only for the effort to be surpassed just a few overs later......

Hard hitter in every sense - Wight Raiders star and more than handy cricketer, Chris Cooke

Aside from  a late flurry of big hitting from a Sanford youngster on his debut, Sway seemed now to be in the driving seat with wickets falling at regular intervals. Marshall picked up four wickets and was denied a jug by a dropped catch at slip. Vito "Big Show" Falso bowled well picking up  a deserved wicket, but the highlight of the Sandford innings was a catch by skipper Bennet which the youngsters would describe as a "worldy".

With Nick "Maverick" Brien taking up the keepers gloves, Bennet found himself fielding at mid-wicket. The Sanford batsman mis-hit a delivery over Bennet's head - what followed would have been perfect for a slow motion camera. Pete's facial expressions went through a full gamut of emotions - first frustration at a ball seemingly out of reach, then optimism as he realised he might just have a chance, then determination as he turned 180 degrees and dived, then glee as the ball settled in his hands and finally fear as he realised the impact on the ground would be significant!

Sandford were eventually all out for a very gettable 136 and after a team which included some tasty hot dogs, Sway opened with Bennet and Dan Stevenson and got off to a steady start against a decent Sandford attack. That was about as good as it got for Sway however as veteran bowler Smallpiece picked up the 3 of his 5 wicket haul in a single over - and this included Sway danger man Nilantha Atapattu who was stumped for a duck.

After much pre-season hype, Sway Massive T20 stars Maverick, Goose, Big Show and Young'un all looked to regain the initiative - but the assembled crowd (woof and meow) were to be disappointed on this occasion as Goose was ducked, Big Show was a No Show, Young'un played a wrong'un and the Maverick was more like Baldrick! A frustrated Dave Marshall was left a the other end, seeing off the main bowlers overs before strangling a leg side deliver through to the keeper just when more hittable bowlers entered the attack. Cometh the hour, cometh the man as 4th team skipper Derek Seward entered the fray determined to save the game by batting out the last 20 overs as last man standing and also show the youngsters how to do it. Seward's concentration was immense - leaving anything not on the stumps, blocking anything straight and smashing any tasty half volleys to the boundary. Sandford grew increasingly frustrated (and thirsty) as the light faded and rain looked imminent and with just 6 overs to go, it looked like Seward might just save the game. It was not to be however and his fine display ultimately counted for nought as he was trapped LBW.


Video courtesy of the Maverick

As ever the game was followed by drinks with the opposition and trip round the Guildford hostelries and a KFC to finish things off. Thanks to Dennis & Nikki for umpiring and particular thanks to Pete for organising....and driving the minibus!