Black Swans back from the abyss to make it 4 from 4
By Jack Dominy
Battling grit shown by the lower order to get over the line against Beddington
After taking maximum points from their first three games, the Trust XI were looking to maintain their 100% record across four games, away at Beddington. This, however, was not before a first for the team - the first ever Black Swans breakfast. Enjoyed by all in Walton, it set a great atmosphere for the day ahead and prepared the team for the long journey to Croydon.
Captain Jack Dominy lost the toss and was asked to bowl first, which didn't look like it would be the worst thing in the world. This was confirmed as the ever reliable Luke Minshull and Sammy Davis opened the bowling. Good length balls misbehaved, with some pea rolling and others shooting up to head height, making it a classic minefield, and very tricky for the batsmen to get themselves in. Luke set the orange ball alight as he bowled the opener in what started a brilliant spell from the bulldog (7-2-14-3). He was backed up superbly by Sammy from the other end, who was extremely unlucky not to take a wicket, as Jamie Mann uncharacteristically dropped a couple of chances with the gloves. Uddhav Umakanthan was then introduced with his unerring line and length, and was rewarded as Sammy took a grab at mid-wicket to dismiss the number three batsman.
Just before a well earned drink at 20 overs in the scorching heat, Sammy was again alert in the field as he ran out the Beddington captain after a mix up. And then the twin spin of Minshull and Monk was brought into the attack, as the Black Swans looked to turn the screw at 42-5. The Minsh took an important wicket just before drinks and then both bowled extremely well throughout their spells, Alex taking 3 wickets and Monky unlucky not to take more than his one. Both bowled with great control, pace and flight, and the captain certainly enjoyed spectating from mid-on. Combined figures of 15-5-28-4 prove what an excellent combination the two off-spinners produced and really helped to keep the momentum going for the Black Swans. This was perfectly encapsulated when the Beddington number six looked to get the run rate going and skied the ball over mid-off from Alex's bowling. Luke went charging back and took a one-handed blinder of a catch over his head, much to the delight of all the fielders, and the surprise of his brother.
The last pair for Beddington batted well on the tough wicket but the return of Sammy from the top end soon finished proceedings, as he earned a thoroughly deserved wicket. Beddington finished on 84 all out - a low score but a score on the board nonetheless, as Walton would find out after tea...
The chase started with Nick Christie and Bilal Chohan as the sun continued to blare down. Bilal was bowled in the second over and his replacement Sammy couldn't repeat his efforts with the ball as he was bowled round his legs. Jamie Mann, in at no.4, set about his work on the unrelenting wicket, looking to keep the strike rotating and the runs ticking over. However, he could only watch on from the other end as the Beddington captain claimed 3 wickets in an over, with Christie, A. Minshull and Firth all dismissed. Monky was in at no.7 to try to stem the tide, and he did for a while, before blasting a full and wide one at short cover who held on to take a tremendous catch. This left the Black Swans in a rather sorry state at 21-6 and staring down the barrel.
The special thing about this side however is how everyone plays for their team mates until the very end, even with their backs to the wall. It was very apt then as Uddhav in at no.8 and Michael Simpson in at no.9 provided vital support to Jamie as the lower order looked to support the set batsman in pursuit of the 85 runs needed. Jamie commanded the situation superbly, and Uddhav and Michael showed a huge amount of mettle and spirit, which was not only vital but also fantastic to see from two young lads.
When both were eventually dismissed and 20 runs were still needed however, the job was certainly not done. The captain joined Mann looking to get that job done. A shaky start was an understatement as Dominy survived an LBW appeal first ball and was then bowled second ball, only to be reprieved by a front foot no ball. The over was seen out and the game shifted in momentum yet again as Jamie got himself back on strike at the other end. A few more extras and an excellent sweep shot from Jamie edged the runs required to 10. Jack was then able to guide one through the vacant third man area off the seamer and then carve one through backward point for back-to-back boundaries, and ease the tension of Walton onlookers on the boundary. Jamie cooly defended the first five balls of the next over before crunching the last ball through cover for the final two runs required, and seal a nervy but important win for the Black Swans by 2 wickets.
Jamie's 43* was absolutely crucial and a match winning innings, but a huge mention to Uddhav and Michael, whose batting efforts were vital in securing the win. It was one of those games to just get over the line, and the team spirit allowed us to do just that. At 21-6, most would have written us off, so it just goes to show what this team is capable of. The day was brilliantly capped off by a team dinner back in Walton - what a way to end a Black Swans Sunday! Thanks to OC for umpiring, Rohan for scoring and Kate Davis for her loyal support. It's now onto Sutton at Ashley Park on the 23rd July, so please come down and support if you can - hopefully see you there!