August 26th 2017
Lyndhurst & Ashurst 155ao Sway II 184ao
League leaders Sway travelled to Bolton's Bench in an RD1 title decider against second placed Lyndhurst & Ashurst. Sway skipper Sam Nailor lost the toss and was invited to bat first. Sway opener's Adam Clark and Oscar Marshall got off to a steady but unspectacular start against tight lines from Nick Salter (10-1-40-3) and James Clark (7-0-22-0) with just 28 runs coming off the first 10 overs. It was a bowling change that brought the first wicket when Marshall was caught off Matt Park (6-0-28-1) for 10. Sam Nailor immediately started going about upping the rate but with the score on 62 Sway's progress was checked again when Nailor was caught & bowled by Alex Hodder (10-0-37-2) for 17. Youngster Daniel Bailey joined Clark and Sway brought the total up to 102-2 off 30 overs.
With wickets in hand, Sway set about trying to up the rate - not easy due to good bowling and a low bounce. Bailey eventually hold out for 20 then Will Millard smacked two boundaries before the was bowled by Salter. Clark's lynchpin innings eventually came to an end when he was caught for 51 - but this brought in the big hitting F-J Charton who made a quick fire 23 before he was caught behind off the canny bowling of Dave Agha (9-0-49-2). The big push was now on - and there was a rapid cameo from Dave Marshall (10) and some vital lusty blows right at the end from Sam Harvey (18) as Sway were bowled out for 184 off the last ball with Dan Stevenson 2 not out..
Lyndhurst openers Simon George and Anthony Goodman got off to a promising start with Sway leaking too many extras - 28 in total, the result being that the batsmen did not have to take any risks to stay on the run rate against Sway's opening attack of Harvey and Matt Bramwell. The pair reached 49 off 13 overs as Sway nerves started to fray. It was a bowling change that brought a much-needed breakthrough when George drove a Josh Bailey (6-0-35-1) delivery hard into the off side but was sharply caught above his head by Dave Marshall for 25. Marshall (10-4-18-1) then commenced a miserly spell of bowling with his first 6 overs going for just 2 runs. With the pressure ratcheting up on the home side, Goodman chopped on for 21. Despite this, by the half way point there was 82 on the board with 8 wickets in hand putting the home side in an excellent position.
Dan Bailey replaced his brother Josh in what turned out to be the other key bowling spell. First up he bowled number three Simon Park for 20 then had the dangerous Phil Morris caught superbly at mid-on by his brother for 22. His naggingly accurate bowling slowly built up the pressure and wickets began to fall at regular intervals. Salter was bowled for 10, Agha stumped by Adam Clark for 7 and when Rob Hodder was caught by Nailor for 13, this gave Bailey (10-1-35-1) a superb & crucial 5-wicket haul. Whilst not out of it completely the home sides hopes were now fading as fast as the late August light as the required rate started rising to unlikely levels. Fittingly it was left to the skipper to wrap up the game, the title and the season picking up the last two wickets as the home side were bowled out for 155 in the 41st over.
So it will be County Division 4 cricket for the 2nds next year - fantastic progress for a team that was playing in the HCL basement division just 7 years ago.
Thanks to all the players, supporters & helpers for making it happen. Particular thanks to Sam Harvey for his superb teas, and John Bailey for umpiring 1st/2nd XI games.