Put into bat in good batting conditions but on a pitch with variable bounce, Swardeston U15s were soon on the back foot with openers Freddie Ruffell and Callum Taylor both falling victim to Dean’s opening bowler Mikey Lane with only 13 on the board. Reynolds and Gooderham then looked in little trouble, moving the score along to 44, before Gooderham was carelessly run out going for what should have been a comfortable single in the ninth over.
Reynolds kept his nerve and continued to put the bad ball away, even though wickets continued to fall at an alarming rate at the other end, often due to poor decision-making. Despite the lack of support from batting partners, Reynolds’s unbeaten (and match-winning) 45, including six boundaries, nursed Swardeston to a final total of just 90 all out, including 20 extras, which at first sight looked barely defendable given that they had not made use of the final three overs.
Knowing they had underachieved with the bat, Swardeston proceeded to up their game significantly to give a much sharper whole-team performance in the field, ensuring runs were constantly hard to come by, and it wasn’t long before Dean also found themselves 13 for 2. The Swardeston bowling unit kept the pressure on, restricting Dean to 32 for 2 at the half way point, and the tight bowling then paid dividends when Lane, the only Dean batsmen to look at home in the middle, was bowled by Charlish as he went for an expansive shot trying to keep up with the run rate.
The later batsmen were unable to get Swardeston’s miserly bowlers away and it was Matt Taylor who picked up the last three wickets in the 19th over to finish off proceedings, Swardeston winning by what in the end was a comfortable 26 run margin.
Swardeston U15s march on to the Midlands Regional Finals at Leamington CC on August 4th where they will need an improved all round performance if they are to have a chance of reaching the National Finals.