Losing the toss may have been seen at the time as a major disappointment given the 36 degree forecast. Credit to the lads they dug in and remained positive and were able to get on top nice and early. Upper Gully were reeling at 5/35 at Argyle Way Reserve thanks to a terrific opening spell from superstar Adam Wild and the ever improving Zach Flintoff. As good sides do, Upper Gully dug in and a quick wicket before tea saw the visiting side 6/91 after 43 overs. Important to note the tight bowling and young Travis Mulder bowling 13 overs consecutively and only conceding 16 runs with 8 maidens.
After tea The Falcons looked for the quick kill and wickets fell fairly regularly. Some good hitting at the end saw UFTG get to 150 with Slack notching a 50* offering some resistence. Best of the bowlers were Adam Wild 5/52 (20) and Zach recorded his best figures in senior cricket with 3/27 (15). Sent in for 4 overs that afternoon Jarrod Butcher had his first blemish for the year going out on what was ultimately the last ball of the day for 8.
With 137 required on Day 2 Rhys Marget and Shan Small strode out under a blazing sun with the mercury rising to 40+. The boys looked to consolidate early and after getting off to a watchful start, RI chased a wider one and edged through to the keeper to have the score on 2/29. This brought Nav Singh to the crease. In what was extremely testing conditions the pair wore away at the Upper Gully bowlers who bowled an extremely disciplined length. Just to give some indication in the second hour of play only 13 runs were scored.
Knowing full well that less than 3 an over was required the boys batted with great maturity and by tea the score was 2/88. Both batsmen stepped up the scoring rate and brought up their 100 run stand in the 56th over of the day. In the end Navinder fell 1 short of his 50 but the damage was done, Shannon batted 62 overs in oppressive heat for a match winning 65* that has seen him become the number 1 run scorer in the association. Great job Shannon. More importantly 6 points in the bag and a firm hold on a finals berth.
In what was a contrasting story to the first XI runs were flowing early for the 2’s at Upper Gully. Winning the toss and electing to bat the openers generally had things their own way. Dave Hay was first to go with the score on 41 for 19. The in-form Jeremy McKinnon came to the crease and quickly went about keeping the score board ticking over, he and Brett Morrison brought up there 50 run partnership before Jez departed for 20.
Big Ash Thompson came to the crease and he and Morro put on 40, 35 of those were to the big fella before he became the spinners 3rd scalp. This triggered a mini collapse and the score went from 2/136 to all out for 198. Of the other batsman to score Matt Young was the only one to pass 3 with 15. In this time 2 extraordinary things occurred. First was Brett Morrison getting out for a sensational knock of 99, ably supported by a runner. And secondly the spin bowler from UFTG took the first 9 wickets of the innings. 198 was a good score with half the teams score being in the Morrison column. Well done ol man.
If conditions for bowling on day 1, then day 2 was treacherous. Unfortunately for the boys injuries were sustained to both Sean Reid and Brett Morrison in week 1. This left the bowling to Daniel Adams and put together some very nice spells. The Falcons bowled tight all day and ultimately bowled the opposition out for 167 in the 88th over. Best of the bowlers was Dan Adams 3/28 (22) & Daine Vernon 2/55 (22.3). Another important win for the side and against a team 2 spots higher on the ladder. A finals spot looks the goods providing they get 1 win from the final 2 games. They now reside in second spot on the ladder.
Skipper Jason Buljubasic won the toss and had no hesitation in batting. He had barely time to think about the game when he found his castle hassled with the score on 0. Corne Mostert and the inform Andrew Potts went about rebuilding against a quality bowling attack. Corne departed with the score on 31 and that brought Matt Lambrick to the middle. He and Pottsy put on 32 when Matt departed for 4. Pottsy then batted with young gun Jack Marget and the pair added 67 before Pottsy was caught for 60. Selctors must surely be considering him for higher honours. But only because he keeps reminding them…. Every time they see him…..
The youngsters led the charge in the second part of the day with Jack batting well for 37 and also young Anthony Jongen 27* and Callam O’Conner getting his name in the paper with a well made 30. In the end they registered 223 against the second placed side. A great batting display with the youngsters playing some quality knocks.
Day 2 saw Upper Gully come out and try and dominate from the get go. Unfortunately they got moving at such a quick rate the game was over before tea. The Upper Gully boys chased the runs down in 30 overs for the loss of 3 wickets. Best of the bowlers were Varun Kotumraju 2/20 (5) and Jack Deveson 1/59 (6). The batting was certainly the highlight of the day and Jase should be super proud how far this young group have come this year.
4th XI – by Greg Bakker
Round 11 was going to be another tough game as we came up against 2nd placed FTG at their home ground, hell bent on trying to get to 1st and guarantee them a home final. We knew they had a strong bowling line up with the top 2 FTGDCA Div 7 wicket takers and another at 6 who had only played 6 games. We also had a strong bowling attack so we looked forward to a good contest.
Winning the toss, despite the forecast 36 degree heat later in the day, I chose to bat first as we had a couple of players arriving late. Settling on a batting lineup that balanced experience with youth, the focus was on preserving wickets and being patient - the runs will come the longer we bat. Famous last words 15 overs into the game, we had been reduced to 5/18 with both opening bowlers taking wickets and bowling their 8 overs straight. A re-build was required and, with Josh Curnow and a willing partner in Adam Wylde remaining composed, we ended the day on 6/68, somewhat of a comeback with 1/50 off the last 20 overs.
Needing to get off to a good start with the ball, we threw everything at the FTG openers and, despite Crookie and Chris bowling at good pace and in good areas, nothing came of it. Having seen Sammy make breakthroughs out of nowhere over the years with his medium out-swingers, I threw him the ball from the end that had a nice little breeze assisting his out-swing. Starting with 0/10 off his 1st, I could hear the “nepotism” mutterings from the other players……… Next over, however, cries of “got him, yes, p!#@ off you’re out” rang out as the ball was played onto the stumps. Finally a breakthrough in the 12th over with FTG on 49 runs. From there, the mood changed. Sammy claimed another while Nixon kept it tight at the other end. Then Andy, another out-swing bowler but not a noted wicket taker was brought into the attack. The 1st ball was called a no ball (wide off the pitch) but that set the tone - the non-striker looked at me raised his eye brows and said that ball started from outside leg and ended up towards 2nd slip…… Andy then went on to mesmerize the batsmen taking 3/9 off 7 straight overs in a spell that rates as the best spell of bowling I have witnessed all season. Even a left handed batsman did not faze him - he just bowled reverse out-swing (in-swing ). It was pure magic, especially with some added excitement on top of the usual Andy enthusiasm!! At the end of the day, FTG were 5/98 and were lucky not to be 6 down with a catch in slip spilled off the 3rd last ball of the day. So, with us claiming 5/49 off the last 23 overs, we ended our second comeback of the day in a pretty good position. Game on!
With the match (sort of) evenly poised, we started the day looking to play out the 35 overs, grind out some runs to erase the 30 run advantage and then look to establish a lead. I felt that anything more than 30 was going to be difficult for FTG to chase. Losing Josh early for a patient 19 runs, Adam and Nixon looked to survive the opening bowlers who again bowled their 8 overs straight. Unfortunately Nixon succumbed in the 2nd last over of the spell for a well made 9. That brought Crookie to the crease who hammered a couple of boundaries to get us past 100 before unfortunately departing. All out 102 with Adam having made 16 not out against the best attack in Div 7. The 3 FTG bowlers noted above had taken all 10 wickets and were now 1-2-3 in the FTGDCA Div 7 bowling honours.
Needing 5 from 35 overs with 5 wickets in hand, we could have just gone through the motions…….. but there was no chance of us doing that. These guys were going to have to earn it and we were not going to hand it to them!! With Andy not available until 3:30, we opened with Crookie. The 1st ball was a perfectly positioned in-swinger that came back late with the batsman just watching it hit his pads………LBW shouts, finger raised, 1 down, 4 to go and still with 5 runs to get!! Scotty opened with a maiden at the other end but, in his 2nd over, hitting the pitch hard, managed to smash into the batsman’s gloves with the ball carrying to slip…….2 down, 3 to get but now they only needed 2 to win. Unfortunately, the batsman that survived the last over the previous week then clobbered a ball to mid wicket to get them home by 3 wickets. Well done to all the bowlers for their outstanding performance against a pretty good team in FTG (now ladder leaders).
I was extremely proud of the boys having fought back from 5/18. If only we had managed to squeeze out another 30 runs……… As mentioned a couple of reports ago, while we may not be in a position to make finals, we'll continue to be competitive and make them earn every run and wicket.
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