May 13th 2017
Report by Nick Brien
Do you remember Hamilton Kavanagh the pinch hitter from the Sway U13s or U15s a few years ago? Before Saturday he wasn’t even available to purchase for your fantasy cricket teams but now he is very much on everyone’s radar [priced at £3m] as he struck a destructive 137 on his senior debut as Sway 4ths fell short against a talented Bashley team.
As both teams rolled up to Pennington there was a lingering scent of optimism in the air as Derek Seward’s 4th XI looked to begin their campaign with a bang. The team featured a couple of the usual suspects and a handful of Sway’s talented starlets of the next generation who were looking to stamp their authority on the league.
Derek won the toss and elected to bowl on a grassy pitch, which looked like it might have something for everyone and would hopefully get better as the game went on.
Sway opened with promising youngsters Bradley Balcombe and Olly Smith who both bowled with good pace and managed to create some chances early doors. Both would consider themselves unlucky to remain wicketless in the early stages. Both Bashley openers, the uber experienced Britton and youngster Cox took full advantage of their good fortune and began to play fluently dispatching every loose ball to the boundary to get their side off to a good start. Seward would then throw the ball to the new partnership of debutant Hammy Kavanagh and Nick Brien who both did a good job of tightening the screws on the innings with Kavanagh (0-49 off 10) bowling a constant tight line and Brien (0-18 off 5) managing to find purchase and bounce in the pitch.
Sway would find themselves in a good position come the drinks break with the visitors reduced to just 99. However the lack of wickets was beginning to hurt Sway as both Britton and Cox began to pick the scoring back up with both moving past the half century mark. A couple of decent overs from Mark Wright and Malo Holden would give the batsmen a brief scare but it wasn’t until a decent bit of fielding from Holden that Sway’s first wicket would come running out Britton for 68. Sway managed to pick up two more wickets at the back end of the innings both going to Olly Smith (2-71 off 9) but not before talented youngster Cox had moved past the century mark. Having hit strokes to all parts of the ground, he would eventually present a caught and bowled chance to Smith who gleefully accepted.
It was then just up to Bashley batsmen Hood and Laurent to provide a couple of late cameos to see their team end up on an impressive total of 264.
Sway knew they would really have to motor if they were to get near Bashley’s total but would find themselves in a compromising position early on as both openers Seward (4) and Wright (2) were dismissed by Bashley opener Hart (3-39 off 9), Wright maybe considering himself a bit unlucky as the Pennington strip dealt him a slightly low pitching delivery. This brought in Hammy Kavanagh for his senior debut and from the get go it was apparent he had both eyes firmly on the total as he raced off to a rapid start smashing boundaries to all parts. He would be joined briefly by Olly Smith who provided some good support before he became the first victim of Rumar (1-18 off 7).
This brought in Nick Brien at number 5 who quickly joined in the assault with his first four scoring shots all being boundaries. The pair began to motor with Kavanagh in particular really finding his feet; It would seem Sway could coast this if both could stay in and keep up this extraordinary rate. However it would not last forever, as Brien would eventually be dismissed for a rapid 39 after he was well held at backward point consequently breaking the stand of 130 between the two of them.
Unfortunately Sway would not recover from that set back despite Kavanagh’s still relentless form at the crease which took him to a remarkable debut senior 100. His innings would eventually end on 137 as he was left lying on his back after a mix up leaving him run out. There was however great character shown down the order with arguably the best 0 ever from Freya who occupied the crease for a long time to assist Kavanagh before she was eventually bowled. A few quick cameos at the end from Clive Smith and Bradley Balcombe would sadly not prove enough as Sway 4ths finished 222 all out in reply.
Despite this disappointing loss there are lots of positives that Del Boy’s barmy army can take into the next few games. With a few more players returning next week could we be seeing the start of a slightly brighter future for the 4th team? However this day will inevitably always be remembered for Hammy Kavanagh who posted the club’s third highest ever league total of 137 including a whopping 28 4s. Our attention must now turn to the outranking skippers who will now be well aware of his presence. Who will have the nerve to deprive the 4th team of this young man so that he can bat at 7 and bowl 2 overs like many fallen warriors gone before whilst once more leaving the 4th team in a vulnerable state? Anyway, just a bit of food for thought - and well played everyone!
The U15s of 2012 - Hammy Kavanagh in centre at the front.
Also shown in Nick Brien, back left, with a much better haircut than at present!