1st XI vs UFTG
The 1st XI travelled to Kings Park to take on Upper Ferntree Gully in the first two-day game of the season. Having lost the first two games of the season to last years premier and runner up, taking on last seasons Decoite premiers was going to be another challenge for our young team. This game had a little extra to play for with club legend Adam “Wilba” Wild playing his 200th 1st XI game, becoming only the second player to do so in the history of our club.
Having won the toss and electing to bat the plan was to get to the tea break with having lost no more then 4 wickets and then we would re-asses from there. We got to the break with the score at 5/130 which wasn’t ideal but we knew we just needed one big partnership to settle the side and get us back on top. Mitch Gregory and Jarrod Butcher put on a nice partnership of around 50 after the tea break before Butcher departed for 80. After this came Matt Young, who along with Mitch, helped keep the momentum in our favour. Batting with the tail Youngy played a brilliant and timely innings finishing on 67 not out helping us reach 9/281 off our 80 overs. Each batsman put a lot of value on their wicket and helped us grind out our full 80 overs, which was pleasing.
Week two saw us take the field to defend our 281 from week one. It started off perfectly with Drew Withers picking up one of the openers cheaply. Upper Ferntree Gully stuck their heels in and 30 minutes before tea were sitting nicely on 2/116 and looking on top of the game. Enter Nav Singh, Nav had the Kings batsman bamboozled with his strange swinging off spinners and we went into tea having them 5/140 off 42 overs. The game ended with us taking 8/51 to bowl Upper Gully out for 167 to give us our first win of the season. Nav Singh finished off with around 4/30 and the milestone man Wilba taking also around 4/30 making these two the pick of the bowlers.
Next week we take on Monbulk at home and our next challenge is to back up what was a really strong performance.
2nd XI vs UFTG
After a narrow loss in the 2nd's T/20 match we really needed to secure some points and get to 2-1 for the season after a strong performance in round 1. With overcast conditions forecast and ideal conditions to bowl I won the toss and elected to bat. Got off to our usual fast start thanks to veteran Rhys Marget whacking a quickfire half century but things quickly steadied with our young top order who all looked quite solid at stages. Thomo came in and hit a few bombs in his run a ball 28 but unfortunately a run of wickets from the 25th-35th over saw us at 6-100 just before tea. Really impressed with young Cal hitting a very controlled 20 before making a little mistake which he will learn from. The pitbull Sean Reid batting at 6 was going to be the difference between us getting rolled for a low total and posting a score we would favour ourselves to defend. He was joined by the very intense Josh 'Curney' Curnow and the two of them dug in just before tea to ensure we didn't lose any more poles before the break.
After tea we were looking to bat our entire 80 over and post something solid without too much pressure on scoring quickly which Reidy enjoyed. The two of them batted beautifully peeling off runs with ease and dispatching the loose ball to post a near 100 runs partnership before the 'Pitbull' unfortunately burnt young 'Curney' with a suicidal single for his best ever senior knock of 43! We then managed to again loose wickets in a hurry but was probably saved by a 45 run last wicket partnership between the captain and his vice to post a total of 251. Sean Reid a typical reidesque innings with 53. Although it was an error riddled innings from us we thought we could still defend this score on a fast Knox Gardens reserve if we bowled and fielded well.
The following week with similar conditions we needed to get off to a good start to get stuck in to the opposition lineup. We weren't able to penetrate the top order at all only getting our first scalp after a 100 run opening stand and wickets were hard to come by for the rest of the afternoon. Although I thought our bowling was maybe OK, we didn't quite back it up in the field with a few dropped chances and some sub standard ground fielding letting through too many easy runs. We kept at it but with 5 or so overs left they passed the score for the loss of only 4 wickets. A disappointing result but with so much improvement in front of us we will bounce back strong next match and salute for the Garden Army.
3rd XI vs Eildon Park
We ventured out to Eildon Park No. 2 to take out a team stacked full of youngsters. Having won the toss we had no hesitation in electing to bat first. We got off to a good start with the first wicket falling at 39 when Potts was dismissed for four. Lachy Stuckey came to the crease and along with Ben McLean made batting look very easy. A stand of 103 was ended when Stuckey was caught low to the ground for a very well made 44. This brought Hayden Morrison to the crease who battled through to tea. Ben McLean made his hundred on the last ball before tea but was unfortunately run out after a poor call which left him just short of his ground. This bought Matt Lambrick to the crease. He was uncharacteristically slow to begin with which resulted in our pre tea aim of 350 becoming out of reach. Unfortunately with the loss of McLean, Morrison couldn’t lift his scoring rate and was eventually dismissed for 28 from 99 balls. This brought Anthony Jongen to the crease who along with Matt Lambrick begun to increase the rate before Lambrick was trapped in front for 53. This brought Jason Buljabasic to the crease who came and went for five in the pursuit of quick runs. Jack Deveson then came to the crease and ended up with a well-made 10 not out with Jongen finishing not out on 35, in by far the best inning I have seen him play in the thirds. Previously he has played as more of a bowler, however I feel his batting is a much greater asset for us than his bowling and think he will have a pretty successful year batting in the middle order.
We showed up second week with the aim of taking 20 wickets. I backed out bowlers with some very attacking fields which lead to free scoring from Eildon Park as well as wickets. We stated very well with Jack Deveson taking a wicket in the second over and Matt Lambrick taking a wicket in the third over. After being told he probably won’t bowl this week, Anthony Jongen came on at first change and bowled a mixed bag of deliveries that we have become accustom to. He should have had a wicket first ball with an edge splitting McLean and Potts. He ended up with a wicket off a short ball that was skied onto the off side. Nikhil De Silva came on at second change and after playing a few games in the thirds with limited success last year, found his rhythm and bowled an excellent spell which ended with 2/8. Nixon Adcock and Josh McGowan were later introduced to bowl spin and they didn’t disappoint with figures of 3/8 and 2/18 respectively. In my opinion Nikhil De Silva was the pick of the bowlers in the first innings and will hopefully develop into a very good bowler for the club in the years to come. All in all Eildon Park were dismissed for 98 in 35 overs.
We asked Eildon Park to follow on after tea and they wasted no time in racing to 0/73 off 6 overs with their captain hitting us to all parts of the oval. Nixon finally got his man when he dismissed him for 53 and Nikhil De Silva came into the attack and got us wicket number 2. There was a bit of a lull after this until Jack Deveson came on and picked up two quick wickets and all of a sudden they were four down. Unfortunately this lead to a very good partnership for them which lasted for 15 overs before the skipped introduced himself into the attack and broke the partnership. Two balls later the other member of this partnership was run out off Potts’ hand at the non-strikers end to leave us needing four wickets in the last nine overs. Another wicket for Potts in his next over saw them fall to seven down. Unfortunately after this we missed quite a few chances to get the eight wicket and they ended up seven down and requiring eleven runs to make us bat again. I thought Jack Deveson was the pick of the bowlers in the second innings and his nagging line and length always forces the batsmen to play. He is proof that you do not have to be quick to be an effective seam bowler.
We missed around 12 chances over the course of the day which is the reason why we didn’t get the 10 points we wanted. After the game I told the team not to become complacent and that we can’t afford to make these simple mistakes in the field if we want to win next week against Ferntree Gully. A win next game will set up out season and allow us to break away from the pack, a loss would send us back to the pack so it is important that we all work hard this week and get to Ferntree Gully next week focused and ready to play some good attacking cricket.
4th XI vs Monbulk
To say things were feeling a bit different this season as we headed into round 3 was an understatement! Already mid November, we were heading into only the 2nd days play of the season for the 4s against Monbulk’s 3s and, while it was our ‘Home’ game, it was being played at Wantirna College, effectively an ‘Away’ venue. We welcomed back Dylan Wylde to cricket as well as his cousin Tom who hadn’t played for years.
Winning the toss, we sent Monbulk into bat in cloudy and windy conditions. While keeping the run rate reasonably low in the early overs, there was no real threat to the batsman so we changed things up a bit resulting in Spence getting the 1st wicket in the 13th over with the score on 32. The 2nd wicket was hard work with both Spence and Dylan bowling well without luck until Dylan got the 2nd breakthrough on 96 in the 29th over. Jack Crawford was then brought back into the attack and managed to entice a couple of loose shots netting him figures of 2/6 from his 5 overs leaving Monbulk at 4/108 off their 35 overs.
Opening with a couple of young guns in Spence and Ty, we were in early trouble losing Ty and then Tom on 22. Deepak came and went while Spence continued his sparkling form at the top of the order picking up the short ball very early to play his trademark pull shot at will, running up a quick 43 including 10 boundaries before he was unfortunate to get caught off a leading edge. We were wobbling a bit at 4/63 off 16 overs with Dylan already at the crease joined by an energy sapped Sam, courtesy of a gastro bug. While Dylan went to town on anything pitched in his zone, Sam kept working the ball around and together they pulled us out of a hole with a 96 run partnership that ended on 5/159 from 32 overs with Dylan departing for a majestic and, at times, brutal 74. Sam (24) and Raj (11) saw us through to stumps on 5/170, a lead of 62.
Resuming in week 2 with the aim of throwing everything at them in the hope of getting them all out for under 200, we couldn’t have got off to a better start with Tom enticing an edge to Sam at slip in the 1st over. From there, the wheels went a little wobbly as the experienced Monbulk keeper swung everything to leg from anything pitched up or short, from off stump to leg side. Even he admitted he didn’t have an offside shot but the bowlers couldn’t put the ball there consistently enough to stem the flow. Throwing the ball to Sam having recovered from his gastro bug the week before, he was straight onto the right line on and outside off. With Spence also bowling a tight line and length at the other end, Sam got the breakthrough with the 6th wicket on 198 and then the 7th 3 balls later. From there, we took full advantage of the momentum swing and bowled them all out for 218.
While the Monbulk keeper helped them score 90 from the first 14 overs of the day, Sam’s spell of 5 overs, 2 maidens 4/4 saw us needing 49 to win off 35 overs with 5 wickets in hand.
Sam and Raj went out to resume their innings after the tea break knowing that they just had to play naturally and with no risks……..but Raj may have misunderstood that message trying to push the scoring rate along and holing out for 11 (6/175). Benny Marget strode to the crease and looked comfortable even punching a lofted on-drive boundary from the Monbulk leggie (a name some may know in Craig Broekhof). Unfortunately, Benny played a pull shot too early and cue-tipped a catch to the short midwicket for 7 (7/186). Scotty Christiansen who was not available in week 1 came to the crease to join Sam with the target of 32 runs required from 28 overs. Pushing the score along without incident to 7/209 and in sight of the 219 required, Sam unfortunately ran himself out after a very patient and mature 38. Tony came and went in controversial circumstances leaving us 9/209 needing 10 to win with the last batsman at the crease. After a few nervous moments, including a dropped catch, Scotty finished it off with a couple of sixes with his trademark pull shot to get us the chocolates.
KGCC 9/226 Dylan 74; Spence 43; Sam 38; Scotty 27no def Monbulk 218 Sam 4/4, Jackson 2/28, Dylan 2/34, Tom 1/31, Spencer 1/49
While it was a very tight win, our 1st in Division 6, assisted by players that probably should be playing in higher grades, it is something that we will need to get used to with games against other club’s 3s teams throughout this season. This means we will be up against players who would ordinarily be competing for positions in their club’s Division 4 and, in Monbulk’s case, Division 3 teams.