|1st XI vs Monbulk @ Home
After a great win against a quality opponent in upper gully in the previous round the 1's were keen to find some consistency in their cricket when taking on Monbulk at home.The ones lost the toss and fielded on day one. Having Monbulk 1/0 we couldn't have asked for a better start. However Monbulk stuck their heels in and had us on the ropes at 1/170 with plenty of overs to bat. To our credit we stuck with it all day and our patient bowling started to pay off as we went on to take 9/90 to bowl them out for 261. All of this after losing Michael Brearley in the first over with a pec injury and Nav Singh 1 hour before the start of play with a bad neck. Zach Flintoff was the pick of the bowlers with 5/66 of a monster 25 overs
We knew we had the batting to be able to chase the total if we applied ourselves. We got off to a flyer thanks to some extremely erratic bowling gifting us over 20 runs in extras and some smart batting from Josh Gregory. He and Zach put on 70 for the first wicket before Josh departed for 37. Scott McInerney followed the very next ball leaving us at 2/70. Zach played his role perfectly as opener, batting for nearly 25 overs for a total of 15. Jarrod Butcher and Niraj DeSilva had a 110 run partnership with Butch making 76 and Niraj 50. We passed the total 6 down with handy contributions from Mitch Gregory, Sean Reid and Matt Young with the bat to ensure we secured the points and giving us back to back wins. That puts us 5th on the table and one win out of the top four.
2nd XI vs Monbulk @ Monbulk
Starting the day travelling all the way to Monbulk the last thing we needed was a late omission from the side and unfortunately we had two! Jack and Reidy were late outs which threw a spanner in the works but once the game started we had no excuses. Winning the toss and electing to bat first Rhys Marget and Ben McLean got us off to a steady start before both were dismissed in quick succession which exposed our young new look middle order. With batsmen number 3 through to 6 all being under 21 years of age we really needed them to stand up and they did! Although probably not at their fluent best the youngsters really dug in for the team and batted superbly all day guiding the team to a great total of 5/292 off our 80 overs. Callum O'Connor, Lachie Stuckey and Josh Curnow are really establishing themselves as senior batsmen and all contributed well with Cal 34, Lachie 46 and Josh 32 not out finishing the innings off nicely with the old fox to club 38 runs off the last 3 overs. Josh Wylde was the star for us batting for an impressive 65 overs coming in at number 3 and finished up with a gutsy 92 runs.
Having set a pretty good total we really backed ourselves to get the job done on the second day if we bowled tightly and backed up our bowlers in the field. Trav Mulder and first gamer in the 2's Jack Deveson opened and got us off to a great start. Although we didn't pick up any wickets in the first 18 overs we restricted them to just 20 runs. Ash Hawkes came on and immediately inflicted some pain with his searing yorkers and was backed up by myself bowling some gentle spin and we were able to capitalise on the great start by the openers to have Monbulk 6/72 off 45 overs at tea. After the break we threw the ball around with the game well in hand and although one of their players smashed a quick fire ton we finished the game 73 runs ahead in a great team performance.
Really pleasing to see the continued improvement and maturity of our young stars as they push for higher honours and we are building a great team for the rest of the season.
3rd XI vs Ferntree Gully @ Ferntree Gully
The 3s ventured out to Ferntree Gully for a top of the table clash. Unfortunately we were without some of our start players last week with Ben McLean, Jack Deveson and Nixon Adcock all playing in the 2s and Matt Lambrick pulling out with a back injury. Players pulling out from the higher grades on the day of the game also made for tough going for us, however we were aided by Gerard Jongen who could only play week 1. Finally some normality was restored to the day and we won the toss and batted first in near perfect conditions for cricket.
Andrew Potts and Gerard Jongen opened the batting with G Jongen looking very good and scoring freely. Potts on the other hand found scoring difficult early. G Jongen was dismissed the ball before drinks for a very well made 32. His brother Anthony Jongen was in next and unfortunately lost his bearing and didnít realise he was standing three meters out of his crease after being sent back by Potts. He casually turned around and the stumps were thrown down leaving him stranded and out for a duck. Hayden Morrison came in at four as we looked to stead the ship a bit. The scoring from both Morrison and Potts was certainly not free flowing and Morrison was caught at gully for 6. Jason Buljabasic was next in and he looked very good early and was scoring well. Unfortunately he nicked one to first slip the over before tea and was out for 11.
After 43 overs we were 4/86 with Potts on 33 and Spencer Stuckey on 2. I spoke to the team about how important this part of the game was and how we simply had to bat our overs and make 180-200. Unfortunately what resulted was probably our poorest session of the year. Stuckey was dismissed without adding to his score. Ty Puglise then came in and put on a partnership with Potts who was struck in front by his old nemeses Dean Glare for 48. Jackson Crawford came and went for a duck and the rest followed pretty cheaply. Special mention to Ty Puglise who batted really well for his 30. In summary the only major contributions we had Ty Puglise (30), G Jongen (32) and Potts (48). We then came out and bowled and again, unfortunately struggled to find out line and length. Josh McGowan got the only wicket for the day and after 12 overs they were 1/50.
We were on our way to the ground for day 2 and found out an hour before the game that Jackson Crawford couldnít make it. Thankfully Jack Marget and Matt Lambrick sub fielded for us. Our game plan was to set a strong offside field and make them score the runs through us or over the top. A Jongen and Nikhil De Silva followed the game plan perfectly. Both took a wicket each, however, this didnít really show just how well they bowled. They bowled together all the way to drinks and in the end A Jongen bowled 15 overs and De Silva 12 overs. Plenty of maidens and stuck to the game plan. Josh McGowan took 4/50 off 12 overs and bowled really well. Being an up and coming leg spinner he is always the target of the opposition batting line up and can get his for boundaries. He usually gets his man in the end as they go for one too many big shot against his big turning leg breaks. Potts came on after the score was past and finished with figures of 1/10 off 4. G Jongen had 0/12 off his 4 overs in week 1 and Varun Kotramraju bowled 1 over 0/9. They past us 5 down and we saved a bit of face with a few wickets after that with stumps being called at tea with Ferntree Gully 8/167.
The main lesson to be learnt out of the loss is to not throw your wicket away, no matter what your batting ability. Far too many players were dismissed playing poor shots and not working hard to get their runs, which Ferntree Gully always make you do. It is so important to bat your overs and to dig in, even as a lower order batsmen, especially when someone from the top 7 is still in and scoring freely.
4th XI vs Belgrave @ Home
We headed into round 4 at our Ďhome away from homeí with some confidence given our win in round 3 and a strong and evenly balanced team from Thursday nightís selection. That was until 3 players pulled out from other teams and we were left scrambling to put a full team on the park. The late inclusion of the Crookie Monster (Greg Crook) certainly helped but only having 9 players at the ground when winning the toss meant that batting first was the only option, but not the preferred option.
Opening with the 3rd different pairing in 3 games, Scotty and Deepak got us off to a reasonable start before Deepak (15) played on from easily the best ball Iíve seen in my 4 seasons back (1/27). Tony came in and, while looking assured, unfortunately didnít last long with a well-pitched ball getting through the gate (2/48). Dylan joined Scotty and together they put on an 85 run partnership with both playing shots to all parts of the ground. Dylan smacked another delivery through mid-off looking for his 50 but was unfortunately caught out by a one handed Ďpluckí to depart on 46 (3/133). Sam joined Scotty and together they saw the overs out finishing on 3/152. Scotty was the mainstay of the innings compiling a patient 75no where his timing improved the longer he was out there.
Knowing that Belgrave had a strong batting lineup, we were intent on tying them down with good line & length bowling but unfortunately that plan went as astray as the bowling. While there were some good deliveries, there were enough not so good ones that relieved the pressure on the batsmen. Sam struck first with the more experienced opener deciding to leave a wobbler outside off that took out his stumps (1/36 off 6). From there, unfortunately, it was just hard work as the other Belgrave opener (Div 3 player Jim McNamara) played shots to all parts of the ground from bad balls and not so bad balls. While lucky to survive Dylanís sensational spell (including a turned down plumb LBW appeal), a stumping and a deep mid-wicket catch late in his innings, he deserved his 100 retired. Rallying the troops to finish off strongly, we managed to snare a couple of late wickets with Grega having the new batsman well caught by Crookie at cover and Sam hitting the stumps again from the 3rd last ball of the day. Belgrave had raced to 3/210 (effectively 4 with the retirement), a lead of 58.
Having lost a friend during the week, the players supported an emotional Scotty with black arm bands as he went out to resume his innings. With both Scotty and Sam looking assured in the middle and having Mr Joey Jo Jo (Morro) padded up, the intent was to chip away at the deficit and then work on building a lead. Having scored 152 from 35 the previous week, it was not inconceivable that we could do the same this week. Scotty and Sam took the score close to 200 when Scotty reached a well-deserved 100 as he pointed his bat skyward in a special and emotion fuelled tribute to his mate. A brilliant and fitting result! Sam and Morro continued on until Sam holed out trying to lift the tempo for a well-made 30 (4/220 from 53). With 17 overs left, the opportunity was there to build a reasonable lead but the wheels fell off from there with the loss of 6 wickets for the addition of only 14 runs and a lead of only 24.
Tom started with a wicket in the 1st over, a smart stumping from young Benny Marget and Crookie from the other end trapped the batsman on the crease plumb in front from his 1st ball to have Belgrave effectively 6/214 and us well on the way to a possible rout. A couple of dropped catches off the luckless Crookie suggested it was not meant to be as they passed our score a few overs later.
KGCC 9/234 (Scotty 100ret; Dylan 46; Sam 30) def by Belgrave 5/240 (Sam 2/27; Grega 1/22; Crookie 1/41; Tom 1/58)
It was a bitter pill to swallow as we pondered what might have been if we had managed to put another 50 odd runs on the board with the 13 overs we left on the table.
Great wins by the 1s and 2s and a really big effort by the young 3s team, especially considering the injuries and unavailabilities impacting all teams. With players coming back and growing confidence within the club, this round should provide the impetus for all teams for the rest of the season.