Fair Oak 143ao, Sway 144-3
Sway U14s, or more accurately 4 U13s, and U12 and an U11 produced a superb performance to overcome Fair Oak in the South Hampshire indoor cup final at Fleming Park.
Fair Oak had beaten Sway in the league game earlier in the season and Sway were without regulars Oli Sharp and Oscar Hudson, however a plan was hatched to turn the tables on their rivals. Skipper Olly Marshall got the first part of the plan right by winning the toss and opting to bowl first.
Noah Glass immediately applied the pressure with a superb over of line and length outside off stump to a 3&1 field, giving the experienced Fair Oak batsmen few scoring options and just 2 runs were scored. Although bowling partner Olly Marshall, nursing a painful should was not at his usual level, a second tight over from Glass meant that by 4 overs, Fair Oak had just 35 runs. In the middle of the innings it was the turn of Ethan Baker & Jasper Condon to spearhead the Sway attack. Whilst both openers retired not out, it was slow going and accurate bowling and top fielding kept the pressure on. Baker deservedly picked up a wicket in his very tidy & extra-less spell of 3-0-28-1 and U11 star Condon produced a memorable spell of accurate moons balls, very much reminiscent of the late, great Dave Hurrell and picked up a wicket with a direct hit on middle stump.
As Fair Oak tried to up the run rate they were pegged back again following a run out – a superb single stump direct hit from Lucas Andrews fielding at point. Going into the final over to be bowled by Glass, Fair Oak were really struggling at 125-4. The over got off to a great start as Glass bowled the Hampshire dangerman Tom Clark, but a couple of wides and a costly overthrow meant that Fair Oak’s hopes were raised with 18 runs added to the total before a run out on the final ball. So 144 to win required - precisely 12 and over.
Sway opened their reply with Glass and Marshall – the pair were pretty much untroubled and some fine running saw Sway to a whopping 60 runs off the first 4 overs, well ahead of the required rate. By the halfway point, Sway has reached 85-0 with both Marshall & Glass safely retired. Baker and Alex Condon came in at 3 & 4 and kept the runs ticking over albeit the Fair Oak bowlers had tightened things up somewhat. Baker holed out to mid-on for 12 meaning Alex was joined by younger brother Jasper in the middle. In the warm-up Jasper had quite literally (and depressingly) dispatched coach Dave Marshall’s finest deliveries to all parts, so fireworks from the powerful youngster were eagerly anticipated. Alas although he reached 10 with some lovely sweeps, there was a brotherly mix up and he was run out. Andrews was in at 6 and Fair Oak were able to put a bit of a squeeze on meaning that 30 were required from the last 3 overs. Andrews was run out as Sway tried to push, bringing man-of-the-match Glass back to the middle who resumed where he had left off working the ball around in his 28 not out. With 15 needed off the last two overs, Sway just needed to keep their heads. In the event only one over was needed, Alex Condon (24*) again producing an innings of increasing maturity, bringing a fine piece of silverware back to Sway off the last ball of the 11th over with a lovely straight drive for four.
In fairness, the win was no more than Sway deserved as they were better in all three departments. Fair Oak, to also fielded a young team will be serious rivals again in next season’s indoor action!
Pic BR L-R Jasper Condon, Alex Condon, Oli Sharp, Ethan Baker
FR L-R Noah Glass, Olly Marshall, Lucas Andrews