HAMWORTHY REC II 111-8 (18pts) beat ABBOTSBURY 109 (6pts) by two wickets

ABBOTSBURY came up two wickets short at Hamworthy Seconds in a bowler dominated encounter in County Division Three.

The Swans were looking to earn their first win of July but following a rain delayed start it was the Swans who batted first with Alex Drew and Nick Kneebone heading the order.

The first over proved to be extremely productive for the away side with Drew creaming a trio of boundaries through the covers off the bowling of Bryan Kelly (0-24).

At the other end, Kneebone was continuing his good form with the willow as the duo batted with few alarms in the early overs.

However, Mike Fisher, who had come out of retirement to aid the home team following some Covid-related withdrawals, was proving to be adept at delivering a nagging line and length and accounted for Drew (21) stumped, aided by some very sharp work by wicketkeeper Paul Driver, ending an opening partnership of 42.

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While Fisher tied up one end, there were runs to be had at the other but Fisher struck again in his final over as a thin edge to the keeper removed Kneebone (27).

Unfortunately for the Swans, this precipitated a collapse as 55-2 became 67-6, Colin Driver (3-13) the main instigator.

Pankaj Nikale (8) smashed a straight six soon after coming in but was out the ball after trying to repeat the shot. Frank Pitman (19) added a measure of respectability to the score as the total was pushed past three figures but the remainder of the tail were blown away by Cam Basey (3-13) as the Swans posted a score of just 109 to defend.

However, it looked like the Abbotsbury bowlers were up to the task as the home side were quickly reduced to 18-3, medium pacer Elliot Gunn (2-34) grabbing a brace and spinner Nikale (2-19) trapping Ty Stroud (3) lbw.

Early optimism was dampened though as the balls started to be bowled too short which Gordon Frazier (45) was eager to swat to the leg-side boundary.

With home skipper Joe O’Brian (21no) playing a supporting role Hamworthy moved to within 32 runs of the winning target but then suffered a collapse themselves triggered by Nikale’s dismissal of Frazier, followed by a run out.

Harry Testa-Fisher took 3-15 as his unusual combination of gangling height and sedate bowling proved to be very confusing to the Hamworthy lower order batsmen as the deceptive arc of the ball caused all manner of problems as three further wickets fell cheaply.

However, the batting side had crept to within three runs of the Abbotsbury total with two wickets remaining and Swans’ hopes of an astonishing comeback victory were extinguished in the 26th over as a stray leg side delivery was flicked to the boundary for four.

Today, Abbotsbury will be aiming to bounce back with a home fixture against Martinstown Seconds.

The Swans currently sit seventh in the table.

*Abbotsbury main sponsor: Brace of Butchers