26th April 2021
On the face of it a 73-run defeat does not sound very impressive, however, the pre-season friendly at New Milton saw saw some great cricket from Sway's youngsters and some not-so-youngsters.
New Milton fielded primarily their 2nd XI who play in Hampshire County Division 3 - the division above our 2nds. Sway had our a mixture of 3rd and 4th regulars as well as one U12, 2 U13s, an U14 and an U15. With a couple of over 50s as well, the team was on paper significantly weaker than that of the hosts.
New Milton batted first with Sway opening their attack with Connor Treacey and Hammy Kavanagh. Treacey produced some fine pace and bounce as did Kavanagh, albeit less frequently. The New Milton openers, skipper Jimmy Adams and Rich Wilson rode the early pressure, however, although Wilson was forced to retire hurt with a pulled calf.
New Milton remained relatively in check due to really sharp fielding from Sway and tight spells from Arni Badami and in particular some very tight lines from Chris Davis.
With a couple of sharp chances going down, New Milton had progressed to 114 before the first wicket fell. Dave and Olly Marshall were bowling in tandem but it was Marshall junior to bag the honours trapping number 3 Ben Griffiths LBW after a couple of previous loud shouts. Marshall senior then got in on the act taking a sharp caught & bowled to to dismiss Lewis Naylor.
U13 Jasper Condon in his first season of senior cricket was introduced and was the bowling highlight for Sway and a good bet for the Fantasy Cricket! His 4 overs of nagging line and length saw him pick up 2 wickets as batsmen tried to force the issue. First he nabbed the prized wicket of Adams, caught driving on the up into the covers by Dave Marshall then the very powerful Ellis Day went down town low and hard and was very well caught by Olly Marshall at deep mid on.
Sway had now removed what they thought were the main dangers, however, despite a good spell from Declan Treacey, an excellent unbeaten 80 run partnership from the Worcester bowlers saw the hosts to 260 off their 40 overs.
Sway opened their reply with Olly Marshall and the newly elevated Arni Badami. Whilst there were few bad balls on offer, the pair saw off New Milton's opening attack of the highly experienced paceman Andrew Deakin and Jacob Varney with relative ease and the score had progressed to 47 before Marshall chopped on for 13.
Pete Bennet went in at number 3 and along with Arni began to up the rate against the change bowlers. Bennet was run out by a direct hit for 16 bringing in Kavanagh at 4 who immediately began tucking into the bowling like a hungy friar! Suddenly the win looked on and the hosts frustration (and number of wides) grew. Alas Kavanagh by his own admission attempted a more traditional cricket shot that was not in his normal armoury and was caught and bowled for 18.
Badami was still there, accelerating away and looked set to power on further if he was not withdrawn from the frontline having made his maiden Sway half century. It was now the turn of Sway's youngsters - both Tom O'Calllaghan and Jake Olney made good starts before O'Callaghan holed out and Olney was bowled. When Condon was also bowled Sway's innings looked to be petering out, however, the wind was soon back in the Sway sails thanks to a superb 53 run partnership between Declan and Connor Treacey. Declan in particular looked totally assured and comfortable out in the middle despite his age against an experienced bowling attack and was unlucky to be run out for 19. Another top Sway Fantasy Cricket bargain pick!
With the Treacey boys finally out the last rites to the Sway innings were somewhat farcical. Dave Marshall in at number 10 was embarrassingly bowled 2nd ball in the penultimate over by the returning Deakin. Badami who had de-padded frantically scurried to get his pads back on under immanent threat of being timed out - only to be immediately bowled and having his average nobbled on reaching the crease.
Notwithstanding the comedy at the end, it was a hugely impressive performance by Sway's youngsters against high quality opposition and this will give the Sway skippers some problems, albeit good ones! Very proud of all the boys.