Sat 23rd Jul 2016

Hammond maximum wins it for 2nds in classic encounter

Sway II 169-8, Lyndhurst & Ashurst 167ao

Sway ran out narrow victors over local rivals Lyndhurst & Ashurst in the most dramatic of finishes. Visiting skipper Simon Park won the toss and elected to bat first opening with the experienced paring of Simon George and Rob Hodder, making a rare appearance at the top of the order. Sway opened their attack with a contrasting pairing – the pace of George Lewis alongside the spin of Nathan David and an intriguing battle soon commenced between bat and ball. Both openers were kept in check by David but found it hard to resist any short balls fired in from Lewis (6-1-36-1). Whilst a few balls were hooked to the boundary, the shot was not without risk and the tactic returned a decent dividend when a ballooning Hodder top edge was well caught by Chris Hammond at first slip. Sway then enjoyed further success when David had George caught by Alan Lawes at mid-wicket. Skipper Simon Park looked to get the innings back on track and in partnership with Geroge Hibell the pair took the score on to 54 in the 14th over before Hibell was bowled round his legs by David (10-1-30-2) for 21. Matt Collett was in at number 5 and after a tentative start, was soon providing excellent support to Park as the pair put on 46 for the 4th wicket.

With 100 on the board after 20 overs, the visitors would no doubt have been looking for a score in excess of 200 given the 7 wickets held in hand. A nice little spell of spin bowling from U15 skipper Michael Allport (5-0-20-0) kept the scoring in check and the introduction of the miserly Dave Marshall further tightened the screw as the veteran’s first 5 overs went for just 8 runs. Something had to give to relieve the pressure and the breakthrough came in the form of a run out, dismissing Collett for 28. Lewis Marden (5-1-24-1), in his first game of the season then claimed the key wicket of Park, bowled for a well-made 39 to leave the visitors on 127-5 off 30 overs. Lyndhurst’s expectations off a 200+ score now had to be revised downwards and whilst the experienced pairing of Dave Agha and Graham Flight kept the score ticking over, then were never able to really cut loose. Both eventually perished to Marshall and Alan Lawes on his 2nd XI debut bowled a valuable spell of 5-0-22-1 picking up the wicket of James Clark for 12. Marshall (10-3-25-4) clinically polished off the tail in the final over to leave Lyndhurst with a rather underwhelming total of 167ao.

Sway opened their reply with skipper Dan Stevenson in partnership with Rick How whilst Lyndhurst opened their attack with the pace of Hibell alongside the military medium of Clark. The Sway pairing got off to a steady start until How was caught off Hibell for 16 with the score on 29 after 8 overs. Ryan Drayton went in at number three and along with Stevenson played well, putting on a further 32 runs for the second wicket. The introduction of canny spinner Agha, however, began to turn the tables. Stevenson was sharply stumped for 30 then just a few balls later Drayton was caught & bowled by the wily old campaigner to leave Sway in a spot of bother at 64-3 and a required run rate now in excess of 5 an over. Dave Marshall and Adam Clark, had a cunning plan to keep the board ticking over with quick singles but Agha’s tricky bowling along with a fine spell from Simon Park (9-0-28-1) made things difficult and the plan was defunct when Clark was stumped off Agha. Marshall and Chris Hammond then knuckled down and period of play developed when Sway were just about able to keep up with the required rate, but were never able to get on top of the chase.

Sway’s hopes were dented when Marshall chased a wideish ball from Alex Hodder and was caught for 23 putting more pressure on Hammond. This pressure grew when George Lewis was dismissed for just 3 and Sway’s chances of victory looked to be well and truly slipping away when Alan Lawes was bowled by Park for a duck and Nathan David at number 9 was run out for just 1. So when Lewis Marden went in at 10, Sway needed an increasingly improbable 33 off the last 6 overs. Hammond was by now well set, but with the fielders back, boundaries were relatively hard to come by against a consistently accurate bowling. The fielders moved in when Marden (10*) was on strike, but he proved adept at picking off the singles and also hit a glorious cover drive to keep Sway just about in  the hunt. Going in to the final over, Sway needed 10 to win with Hammond on strike facing Hibell. The first two balls were dots and hearts sank, however a 2-run wide off the third ball raised the home side’s spirits a little. A couple of singles followed by a two meant that with two balls to go, Sway needed 5 to win. The crowd debated how Hammond should play this given the boundary was now loaded with fielders – surely he would have to go for a maximum rather than leave his junior partner to try and hot a boundary off the last ball? Hammond’s eyes must surely have lit up, therefore,  when Hibell fired a ball right into the slot which Hammond (58*), cool as a cucumber, drove magnificently into the tree canopy to spark jubilant scenes at Jubilee Field. No doubt the visitors were gutted to lose a game in such a fashion, but they play a full park in a magnificent game of cricket played in the best of spirits.