After a great home and away season including an up and down
last couple of rounds we deserved our spot in the top 4 and now had the chance
to go one step further and clinch a spot in the Grand Final.
Having won the toss yet again I had no hesitation in batting
first on the small but somewhat slow Eildon Park back oval. After losing R.I
early, Twodogs and Jnr Marget set about steadying the ship as Morro chopped and
slashed his way to a well-made 46 before trying to hit one into the tennis
courts and getting a bit more loft than required. Cal came in and looked good
before missing a straight one which had Mr March (J. Wylde) joining Jack Marget
at the crease with the score 3/77. In what was an innings steadying partnership
the boys applied themselves well even if they were starting to get frustrated
at times with an outfield that seems to be slower than my wi-fi connection.
They got us to tea in good shape at 3/118 off 48. We looked to build and
increase the scoring rate after the break which we did before Jack got caught
for an impressive 48. Reidy walked in then walked off which saw young Pedro
Stuckey at the crease and he and Josh Wylde steadied for us before Stucks got
bowled by a grubber. The old Fox strutted to the middle and the crowd woke up
and moved their cars out of sight luckily as he deposited a few clubs over the
fence. Unfortunately Josh ran himself out just short of what would have been a
brilliant half century and then Thomo joined Fox at the crease to finish off
the innings. The two exchanged blows before both departed for quick-fire 21ís.
The skip struggled to see the pill and Nixon improved his season average with
the bat to 0.5 before guiding one into the keeperís gloves leaving the side all
out for a respectable 227.
The indestructible tag team of Mulder and Thompson opened
the bowling on day 2 and bowled really well at times before Mr Ashley Thompson got
a tickle to the keeper to get the ball rolling and get us going. A bit of a
frustrating partnership was brewing as we Ďturnedí to spin to get through the
overs and put real pressure on the batsmen that didnít look at all comfortable
at times. Nixon and I managed a wicket each to get the score back to 3/92
before a brain fade from their opener off Nixon just before tea and a
thunderbolt from the old fox had us in a great position taking 5/118 off 51
overs at the break.
Some great bowling after the break by fox and the irrepressible
Sean Reid didnít end up producing the wickets we were after but kept the clamps
on and built up pressure with still runs to score. Some hard hitting off my
gentle bowling and a few lucky edges saw the runs continually ticking over
which meant we had to do something special to get back into the game. A
brilliant bit of fielding by L Stuck had the opposition captain well short of
his ground and a pure act of genius and whole hearted fielding stop and throw by
Thomo saw the momentum turn our way and them sitting precariously on 8/210 with
them needing 18 off the final 30 balls. Jack Marget and I bowled as well as we
could and were helped by some nervous batting and superhuman fielding to get
the equation to 10 runs off 10 balls. It was a bit of a blur the next ball as I
threw up a genuine half volley that got thumped into the cover region and out
of nowhere Foxy dove one handed and flicked the ball back to me at the non-strikers
end which I then crashed through the stumps for the win.
A great fighting team performance now sees us into the Grand
Final and we will take a lot of momentum and confidence going into next week
knowing we can win from anywhere. Super proud of the team and enormously proud
of how the club conducted itself throughout the weekend.
Canít wait for next week and good luck to Andrew, Greg and
the other boys too!
3rd XI vs Ferntree Gully @ Knox Gardens Reserve
Semi Final day came around and we had old rivals Ferntree Gully at Knox Gardens Reserve. After being beaten by them in the grand final 2 years ago we were certainly looking to extract some revenge on them this time around. We lost the toss and Ferntree Gully decided they would bat first on what was a pretty nice day for cricket. Devo and Curney were put in charge of setting us on our way and Devo had a wicket early on which was soon followed by Curney to have them two down. A good partnership then came from Morrison and DiClaudio before lazy running saw DiClaudio facing a ball he should have been down the other end for and he was caught at 45. We made sure Morrison knew he had burnt his team mate and he lost his wicket the next over to leave them 4/95 at tea. Gerard Jongen and Ash Hawkes started after tea with a barrage of wickets and Curney took the final wicket to leave Ferntree Gully all out for 143 with 20 overs remaining in the day.
We came out to bat and thanks to a misjudgement on the boundary Ben McLean was away again with a 4 first ball. Unfortunately the 3rd ball was better judged and he was caught at fine leg sending the gully into a frenzy. Gerard Jongen, our trusted number 3 came in and set about building the score whilst I anchored at the other end. Unfortunately his eyes lit up a few overs before stumps and he was caught at mid off. This brought Dosmanstagram to the crease to face a fired up Ferntree Gully attack that was right up in his face from ball one. Thankfully he managed to see through the day with me and we went to stumps at 2/49 needing 95 runs to win.
Day 2 started brilliantly with some over aggressive fields leading to us scoring freely for the first few overs. We set little targets of getting ten runs at a time and ticking them off. Dosmanstagram batted brilliantly under tough circumstances ending up with a very well constructed and mature 57 not out with myself finishing the day with 39 not out as we went through chanceless on day 2.
Next week we have Lysterfield at Liberty Reserve. Lysterfield were last yearís runners up and we were runners up the year before. We both have the opportunity to avenge a previous Grand Final loss and create lifelong friendships with our teammates. The build up to a grand final is a great experience no matter how many of them you have played in and we will embrace the week and give it our all to have that medal around our neck at around 5.30 on Sunday.
4th XI vs Belgrave @ Belgrave
A fantastic start to our finals campaign on day 1. I won the
toss and decided to do something different and bowl first. We opened up with
Crooky and VCat who both bowled extremely well and got us off to a great start.
Then with a double change on came Sam and Spence who continued on with the
tight bowling, Sam 0/15 off 5 overs and Spence 1/9 off his 5 overs before the
spin twins King and Tommy had great figures also with 0/9 and 0/12 respectively
off 4 overs each. The fielding was fantastic and the tight bowling kept
Belgrave to a modest total of 1/86 off their 35 overs.
Myself and Spence opened the batting in reply and got off to
a solid start. Spence was the first to fall for a very well made 19 and Justin
followed caught trying to hit over the top for a brisk 18 and at the end of the
days play we were well placed at 3/145 with myself 78 and Sam 12 still at the
With a deficit of 59 runs Belgrave were on the back foot
heading into day 2 but we knew it wasnít over by any means. As overnight rain
fell and we had to deal with a cake of soap so I changed it up a bit and
started with Raj and King. Raj claimed a wicket in his first over whilst Kingy
kept it very tight at the other end and at drinks they still hadnít managed to
erase the deficit and we were right on top. Belgrave finished with a total of
Chasing a total of 109 we knew we still had work to do. As I
retired with my 4th century of the season Tom came to the crease and
went quickly which sent Dyl in who was looking good but on 14 mistimed a drive
and went down the throat of one of their fieldsman. Not long after Samís
innings came to an end with a well-made patient 32. Suffice to say I was
starting to get nervous with roughly 45 runs to get and two of my favourite and
highly talented juniors strode to the crease. Tpug and Benny did exactly what
was asked of them and put a price on their wicket with the prize of a Grand
Final spot on the line. Ball by ball they blocked, left balls and took singles
until we could see a light at the end of a tunnel not to mention a few handy wides
off their captain who tried his hardest to unsettle the two junior stars.
Unbeknown to him it would backfire in his face to the joy of our small but
vocal crowd and the two young guns smashed 4ís and picked up the singles which
brought the scores level before one of their bowlers handed us the victory
bowling a wide.
Well done to the boys and thanks for all your support as I
took over the captaincy for one game. Thanks to the supporters who came down
and helped out.
Bigger fish to fry next week boys. WE CAN DO IT!