Backing up from our strong performance in the T/20 last game
was crucial as it's nice and tight at the top of the ladder. Sitting in 3rd
place just one win off top but only one win ahead of 5th we had to
consolidate our spot in the top 4 before a very tricky run home.
As has been the case there were a raft of changes seeing
both Wylde boys, Ben Mac and Derek Tickets out for some much needed experience
as well as speedster and former English skipper Mike Brearley into the side.
Winning the toss and electing to bat first was a no brainer
as our batting line up was stacked with weapons of mass destruction and the
calm, always reliable and more importantly extremely handsome and charming Sean
Reid. We got off to our usual start with 16 off the first before we really hit
the skids when Rhys once again got outscored by his opening partner by 1 run and as they often do Rhys and Morro went out in quick succession for 42 and 43
as I’m sure they just try and outlast each other! Like ‘Dehli Belly’ the runs
kept steadily flowing but so too did the wickets and after a number of good
starts by our top order we were in a bit of a pickle at 7/176. As the old fox
Trav Mulder strode to the crease in the same style as Stone Cold Steve Austin
about to open a can of whoop ass there was a sense of something a little
special. He combined with the finisher of sorts Sean Reid and the two of them
guided us to a very imposing total of 7/345 in an epic 169 run partnership with
Sean finishing on 65 and the fox with his first ever ton smashing them to all
Very confident we could defend our impressive total we started
in strong fashion dismissing the opener caught down leg side and he
surprisingly walked which was nice. A 100 run partnership followed and although
we didn’t bowl horribly we were not at our best all day. Some rather odd
batting just before tea saw us claim a few wickets to put them on the back foot
and snuff out any real chance of an unlikely chase by them. We tried a number
of bowlers with some rather odd field placements but failed to take all 10
wickets as they fought hard to finish on 8/248. Young ‘Hot Breals’ was a
workhorse and tried hard all day and with a bit more luck could of run through
them but respectable figures of 3/69. Pedro Stuckey also wanted me to mention
he bowled 3 overs and hit the pitch more often than not.
5 wins on the trot and we face a test in the next month
against top 4 sides including 1st vs 2nd this week at
Eildon Park which should draw a huge crowd!
3rd XI vs Lysterfield @ Rowville Recreation Reserve
The 3's travelled our to Seebeck No. 2 to take on the third placed Lysterfield. We won the toss and decided to have a bat. We welcomed Jason Buljabasic and Scott Christiansen back into the side and went in knowing it was going to be a tough game with Lysterfield placed 3rd and us on top.
Ben McLean started brilliantly taking 15 off the first three overs while I was still to get off the mark. Not much changed as I was caught behind for 1 with the score on 22. Scott Christiansen batted at three and was run out for a duck after only facing one ball leaving us in a spot of bother at 2/22. Dosmanstagram Morrison came in at four and worked hard for his 16 without really finding a grove, leaving us at 3/85 and with a bit of control back in the innings, however Ben followed him shortly after with the score on 86. Matt Lambrick and Jason Buljabasic worked really hard for their 40 run partnership, they didn’t look comfortable but they grinded out and did a great job for the team before Izzy was dismissed to leave us at 5/126. Hard hitting Nibby came to the crease and hit 17, surprisingly without any boundaries and when he and Jason were dismissed close together we were in big trouble at 7/160. Baxter, Hawkesy, Nikhil and King failed to get us out of this trouble and we were bowled all out for 179.
We were quite confident that we could defend the score and started well with the ball having them 4/43 with three wickets to Hawksey and hard hitting Nibby taking the other one with the ball of the day. Wickets to Nikhil and Baxter close to tea had them 7/94 and in a lot of trouble. Unfortunately a great innings of 71 from Lachlan Ferguson was good enough to get them over the line and he was well supported by Hose (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz37WY4xiog). In the end it will be a great learning experience for us and shows us that we can’t afford to drop simple chances and lose concentration in the field. We also need to stick to our game plan and not get desperate for wickets. If we can stay patient and play our game there is no side in the competition that can beat us.
4th XI vs South Belgrave @ Wantirna College
Returning from the New Year’s break, we headed to our home away from home at Wantirna College to play South Belgrave’s 3s, a team demoted from division 5 this season and who were grouped with us and several other teams contesting for the remaining 3 spots in the top 4. Back to our preferred 2 day format, we lost Scotty to the 3s but welcomed back a couple of players being able to name 13 which was fortunate with Dylan and Tom only available in week 1……..playing drunken dodge ball or something for a bucks afternoon the following week.
We lost the toss and were sent in to bat. Opening with Spencer and Deepak, we raced out of the blocks with 11 from the first over but then settled into a regulation 3-4 runs per over with both batsman looking very comfortable. Dylan was padded up to come in at 3 seeing he was unavailable in week 2 and that’s how he remained for the day as first Deepak posted his 50 and then Spencer with his first senior 50 just before the end of our 35 overs. While his timing wasn’t always there, Spencer showed great temperament to battle through his innings as he finished on 50 and Deepak 65 with the score at 0/138 from our 35.
We went into the field focussing on taking wickets, opening with Crookie and Dylan who both bowled well but without luck. Swinging the changes as we searched for our first wicket, it eventually came in Varun’s 2nd over with the score on 73 from 17. From there we grabbed the momentum with a further 3 wickets falling soon after to Tom (2/93 off 24), a brilliant run out to Deepak (3/97 off 26) and then Varun again (4/97) who had been bowling exceptionally well. The Wylde boys made their presence felt with 7 overs each restricting South Belgrave with only 1/8 from Tom and 0/11 from Dylan. The wickets really slowed their momentum as South Belgrave finished the day at 4/122 from their 35.
Resuming the innings in week 2, Spencer and Deepak continued on their way posting a 150 run opening stand before Deepak was surprised by a ball that bounced and was caught at short cover for a very well made 76 with the score on 153. The momentum swung briefly as we lost 3 wickets with Justin and Ty falling cheaply but then Ben strode to the crease and settled things down. With Spencer still doing his thing at the other end, Ben made 17 runs in a 47 run partnership. The momentum then swung back to South Belgrave as we lost 3 quick wickets again as Varun and Raj went cheaply but still Spencer continued doing his thing at the other end. After an extremely patient innings where he displayed a tremendous temperament, Spencer raised his bat to acknowledge the reaction from both teams as he reached the first of what promises to be many centuries as a senior cricketer. Crookie came in and put his stamp on the game with some big hitting in his 21 runs before we finished our innings on 7/272.
Knowing that we had 150 runs to protect and 6 wickets to take, we took to the field with Varun and Tony opening the bowling with the focus on taking the 6 wickets. Tony bowled exceptionally well with the batsmen not able to get him away and, eventually, enticing one of them to hit the ball straight to Crookie at short cover. While we bowled well with many near misses, we just weren’t able to get the wickets with partnerships forming and runs coming regularly to relieve the pressure we were hoping to build. It seemed the less capable the batsman, the more luck they had as all bowlers created opportunities to bowl, catch or run out the batsmen but they just wouldn’t stick. Spencer eventually managed to snare an LBW decision, Crookie a caught and bowled and then Ty also with a caught and bowled left them on 8/222 from 62, needing 50 runs from 8 overs. The batsmen at the crease were the number 4 who had already passed 50 and a young kid who had trouble hitting the ball with several balls from Crookie then Varun bouncing over or just past the stumps.
In a decision that will haunt me for a long, long time, I took Ty off with 3 overs to go as the batsmen were looking comfortable against him with the young kid having just punched a shot through cover for 4 to finish with 9 off that over. With only 4 overs to go, they had decided to launch. Looking at the remaining bowlers available, I thought I was the best option to hit my usual length, attack the stumps and the batsmen will play, miss and game over. I’ve made some good decisions and some bad decisions as captain but this was an absolute stinker. It was a bad decision with equally bad execution as they hit 10 off my first over and an above waste full toss from the 1st ball of the last over that was edged over the keeper where 13 to win off 6 became 10 off 6. The next 5 balls were all on the stumps and were mishit for singles so it became 5 to win off the last. Their only shots were to leg so with a square leg, mid wicket, long on and mid on all on the boundary and the kid on strike, we should have been OK to restrict it to 1-2 runs. The kid swung hard, middled the ball and it sailed high in the air to long on where it cleared the fielder’s head and landed just inside the boundary for 4 – a tied result.
My decision had cost us 3 points in a crucial game that would have separated us from South Belgrave by 6 points and percentage. Now we are in the 4 on percentage only.
KGCC 7/272 (Spencer 100 ret; Deepak 76; Crookie 21; Ben 17) tied with South Belgrave 8/272 (Varun 2/42; Tom 1/8; Tony 1/17; Spencer 1/21; Ty 1/34; Crookie 1/66)
While we seemed to dominate the game apart from the first 17 overs of their innings and a couple of mini collapses in ours, we just couldn’t finish them off. We couldn’t take advantage of the great start from Spencer and Deepak and accelerate with a flurry of quick runs to get us to 300 plus and, other than the 4/24 taken late on the 1st day, we couldn’t take quick wickets or stem the regular run flow. Fair to say that it should never have got that close yet they couldn’t have got any closer in the end.