Sat 16th Jul 2016

Sway II snatch victory from jaws of defeat

Exbury 133ao, Sway 160-8

On an all too rare warm & sunny day , Sway made the trip to play old friends EXbury at their beautiful ground  - featuring XXL sized boundaries and a relatively slow outfield.

Lovely day & location - cricket pitch in the distance somewhere!

Sway lost the toss and were asked to bat opening with skipper Dan Stevenson in partnership with Rick How whilst the home side opened their attack with the uber-experienced pairing of Greg Livermore (10-1-34-3) and captain Adam Cornwall (9-1-30-2). Both Exbury bowlers were right on the money from the off, given the Sway batsman very few low risk scoring opportunities – indeed their were only 2 wides in the entire innings. The opening moves of this chess game were consequently rather cagey – Exbury not getting the breakthrough, whilst Sway found runs hard to come by, reaching 29 for 0 off the first 10 overs. The game then took a big turn in the home side’s favour as first Stevenson was bowled round his legs for 10 by Cornwall whilst How was trapped LBW by one of Livermore’s tricky wrong’uns for 9.

Ryan Drayton and Barry Jones were the next two in – Drayton looking in good nick whilst, Jones who had been playing himself in, was trapped in front by Livermore for just 4. With Adam Clark out there to partner Drayton, the scoring rate picked up somewhat due to some big hits by Drayton in particular and some quick running by the athletic pairing. Yet again however Exbury hit back to frustrate the Sway innings – their skipper trapping Drayton LBW for 22 and bowling Clark for 11 to leave Sway in a spot of bother at 67-5 off 23 overs.

The experienced pairing of Chris Hammond and Dave Marshall knuckled down with a plan to try and ride out the next 10 or so overs with a view towards acceleration at the end of the innings in order to set a defendable score. The plan worked at least initially, until Hammond was surprised by a ball that held and got up on him which was gratefully snaffled by bowler, Ross Livermore. Marshall, who had been frustrated by a skipper  who clearly knew the location of the three spokes on his wagon wheel, began to open up whilst George Lewis at the other end was under orders to play himself in. This the youngster did well, and the pair moved the score on to 126 before Lewis was caught for a very important 15. Sam Harvey came and went with a golden, so it was down to a hobbling Jon Waller at number 10 to see out the rest of the innings – this he did with some style finishing on 10 not out whilst Marshall finished unbeaten on 53 as Sway reached tea at 160-8.

After a lovely tea featuring Exbury's legendary selection of cakes, Sway’s opened their bowling attack with Sam Harvey and spinner Nathan David whilst Exbury opened with the very experienced pairing of Scott Cornwall and Phil Craymer. Whether the half time cakes played their part or not will never be known, but Exbury very much enjoyed the opening exchanges as Sway struggled to control the flow of runs as the home side raced to 43-0 off just 8 overs. Sway then enjoyed a double breakthrough as first Cornwall was bowled by Harvey (7-1-31-1) whilst Craymer was superbly caught by Ryan Drayton running in from the deep off the tidy bowling of David (10-2-35-1). If Sway thought this breakthrough would lead to further success, they were badly mistaken as another experienced paring – skipper Adam Cornwall and Nigel Philpott seemingly took the game away from Sway. Having reached 111 off 28 overs, Exbury needed just a modest 3.5 an over with 8 wickets in hand before they almost inexplicably began to self-destruct. John Waller, who had been hit for 6 back over his head with his first ever ball for Sway 2nds, took revenge by bowling Philpott for 28 than having Exbury’s skipper Cornwall caught by Stevenson after an irrationally loose shot considering the game’s equation.

Scenting a change in the game, Sway heads were now up and Waller picked up third wicket when Pete Miller played the same shot as his skipper, with the same result albeit this time pouched by Harvey. Marshall also scented blood, bowling Ross Livermore for 0 and R Bambridge for 3.  The big hitting Greg Livermore was now rapidly running out of partners and was clearly looking to take charge so when Marshall (6.1.0-21-3) deceived him with  a slower ball, bowling him for 15 - Sway had now gone from rank outsiders to odds-on favourites. Waller (7-2-23-4) picked up his 4th wicket from a fine spell and Exbury’s collapse was completed when a sharp pick up and throw from the deep by David, allowed Marshall to run out Exbury’s number 11 as the home side subsided to 133 all out, having lost their last 8 wickets for just 22 runs.

Exbury were understandably  disappointed by the manner of their demise, but took the defeat with good grace and will hopefully remain in RD1 for next season so we can look forward to yet another exciting encounter between these two teams - they are certainly far too good to be relegated.