July 8th 2017

Del's boys come of age

Match report by Nick Brien

Sway 4th XI 197-9    Mudeford 3rd XI 47 all out

Sway 4ths returned to their fortress in Pennington in relatively good form with two wins on the bounce and the wind in their sails. The opposition came in the form of unbeaten league leaders Mudeford who boasted a brilliant track record to this stage and would have fancied their chances against Seward’s men.

Seward won the toss and elected to bat on what was a hot and potentially long day in the field for Mudeford if Sway could post a decent total. A solid start was what was required and that’s exactly what they got from openers Colin Crosthwaite and Derek Seward, Crosthwaite in particular really taking the game to the opposition with some big strokes to all parts of the ground. Sway’s opening stand would come to an end when Seward (7) was done by an extra bit of pace as his off stump was displaced. Clive Smith came in at 3 and endeavoured to keep up the good rate.  Soon after he would be bowled by Churchill for 8 but not before he had struck a few lusty blows of his own and thus kept Sway’s early momentum going. Sway knew however their rate would be irrelevant if they could not convert these quick cameos in to big partnerships, so with the help of classy debutant Richard May (34) Crosthwaite knuckled down and began to give Sway’s innings a bit more structure.

The pair batted fantastically with Colin continuing to strike boundaries at ease and May rotating the strike well whilst punishing the bad balls to the fence. Crosthwaite’s innings would eventually come to an end though for a brilliant 45 after a good ball found its way off the glove and behind through to the keeper. Nick Brien came in at five and started his innings with a flash striking two boundaries early on, however he would fall shortly after for 8 after he failed to keep out a shooter. This would not seem to deter Sway though with some great lower order hitting from Andrew Sharp (32) and a couple of quick cameos at the bottom from Howard (10) and David West (11*). This saw the 4ths up to a very respectable total of 197.

Convinced they had a good total but well aware of their opponent’s quality Sway knew there was a good chance this match would go right to the wire. However the next chain of events proved to be nothing short of remarkable.

Sway opened up with James Howard aka Dapper fresh off his six wicket haul from last week and knowing he would need a good start if Del’s boys wanted a chance of victory. A good start was exactly what they got with Howard dismissing both openers in the first over, first bowling P. Turner for 0 then the dangerous Gareth Walls LBW also without scoring. Not to be undermined the equally good Colin Crosthwaite produced two early wickets of his own, first L.Walls who knicked one behind to first slip and was caught by Andrew who produced a “Sharp” catch then the wicket of C.Turner for just 4 with a lovely one through the gate. The now inspired Sway kept their foot down and continued to back up their bowlers with some great fielding throughout with a special mention to young colt Jake Olney at mid on. Sway’s openers now had their tails up and were instantly immersed in some friendly competition amongst each other to see who could strike next. The next two wickets were shared equally with Howard picking up another LBW and Crosthwaite producing an action man like caught and bowled to see Sway absolutely cruising early on. The next two wickets from the pair came after two very smart catches, one from keeper Seward to award Crosthwaite with another and then an absolute stunner from Clive Smith in the covers to give Howard his fourth. The job was then left to Howard with the help of new bowling partner Arthur Lomax to finish the job  leaving Howard with stunning figures of 6-18 and Crosthwaite a mesmerising 4-3.

So quite an astonishing day for Derek Seward’s 4th XI who complete the hatrick of wins and to be honest must still be pinching themselves after that performance. However I don’t see how any of that can be put down to luck.  After quite a tough and punishing start to the season the 4ths have shown great character and resiliency to fight back and put themselves in a much better position.

Now you see I am but still only a young man but I’ve played and seen enough cricket to spot a good team on its day, and on Saturday I witnessed an assorted collection of eleven men play well beyond their normal ability and coming good in all disciplines of the game. I don’t want to get ahead of myself nor do I want to strike it off as a flash in the pan but either way Saturday was a day to remember, a huge day for Sway 4th team’s development in general and quite possibly the day Del’s Boys came of age…

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