29th August 2021
In a final day of drama, Sway sat in the 2nd promotion spot but had no game themselves due to the withdrawal of Bedhampton before the start of the season.
3rd placed Fareham, despite only having played 6 only games, could have pipped Sway to second place if they got a maximum points win at St Cross 3rds - who themselves were battling against relegation. All the Sway players could do was to nervously tune into the Play-Cricket app for score updates as they came through. Surprising their servers did not crash the amount of times "refresh" was clicked!
Fareham won the toss and opted to bat first, so needed to score over 250 for a potential 24 point win. Despite losing a wicket in the first over, they had reached 90-1 at the half way stage - a great base to push on from.... Sway nerves were beginning to fray!
St Cross, however, started to winlke out Fareham wickets and soon the required rate for 250+ was nudging 10 an over. However, enter Fareham number 8 James Headen to the crease - Headen smashed an unbeaten 65 off just 35 balls to take his team over 225 after 40 overs. This meant that if Fareham were to bowl out St Cross they would have picked up 23 points leaving them with an identical average to Sway. In such circumstances the rules state that the first decider is the head-to-head (which Sway won) then the most wins (which was also Sway) - nevertheless squeeky bum time as you just never know for sure that you have read the rules right!!!
St Cross, however, as a big successful club had the resources and confidence to get the job done on their home turf and save their 3rd XI from relegation. Despite losing an early wicket the next two partnerships saw the home side to 158-3 - padding out was no use to them - they were going for the win. In the event St Cross knocked off the runs without losing a further wicket and with an over to spare - Fareham's case not helped by 20 wides and 19 other extras.
So there it was - a sense of joy and relief as the new spread that St Cross had won and Sway were 2nd. To be fair few people would begrudge Sway the spot - having played 14 games, won 13 and beaten all of the top teams in games that went ahead.
The final placing and possible elevation to the SPL is the culmination of 15 years of hard work on and off the pitch, starting with our first 5-year development plan and our first junior sides.
Particularly pleasing that around half of our 1st squad have come right through from our U9s/U11s - and we have a pipeline of other talented youngsters set to join them. With a focus on the spirit of cricket there is no doubt we will be a credit to the Southern League.