The 2's hosted Upwey in the final match of the season proper with little to play for yet again having sewn up fourth position and needing some unlikely results to go our way if we were to move up the ladder.
We lost the toss and had a bowl first and Upwey came out with some aggression early and got a few away with a few getting them off to a bit of a flyer. They had the better of us before drinks reaching 3/138 off 20 and had us ruing some missed chances. Jacko and Lamby combined well after drinks to pull them back and build some pressure which resulted in a run out to break the important partnership, the opening batsmen soon fell to Jack after slapping 95 when he went out in the 25th over. Josh and Jack bowled well together towards the end of the innings and we took consistent wickets and were able to restrict them to 8/216. Jack was the pick of the bowlers collecting two wickets and the rest evenly spread.
Given Upwey knew they couldn't make finals they came out to the field with a pretty relaxed attitude and somewhat shuffling around there bowling attack. Nevertheless there was still a job to be done and we soon had a good challenge on our hands after losing Reidy followed by Jez shortly after. Jack and Morro saw the score to 58 before Jack flicked one to square leg. Morro really led the way and continued his good form from last week for a well compiled 61 and will be a crucial part of our success come finals time. We lost CJ not long after Morro departed which meant we were about 5/130 needing a run a ball for the last 15 or so overs. Lamby came to the crease and batted well for 18 before he was badly burnt coming back for a second! We managed to finish the job with an over to spare after the Pig was asked to put one over the fence and proved he could hit sixes at will when he sent one to Tucker Hill.
After playing teams in the bottom half of the ladder for the last few rounds, the boys are looking forward to getting into the real stuff and will relish the challenge of trying to get the job done from 4th spot.
After being upgraded from Park Ridge to the main Lysterfield ground we played only the second game on the new surface and it was a nice change after playing the last 6 weeks on the KGCC bottom oval. The new field was spongy and fairly slow but the conditions were still good. Devo pulled out of the game due to illness so our scorer Russell Adcock had to pull on the whites to help us out. We won the toss and chose to have a hit. Pottsy and Benny opened up and got us off to a solid start before Pottsy was knocked over with the score on 31. Haydos and Benny advanced the score to 51 with Benny starting to look really good with a few boundaries and a maximum before he held out at deep mid with the score on 51 for a well-made 35. Haydos departed soon after and we were a little jittery at 3/51. Lysterfield were bowling quite well and making it difficult to score with a slow ground and well set fields. Porno and Gez then got together and had to work hard for their runs early doors but the runs did flow more freely towards the end of the innings with Porno being particularly severe on anything loose and Gerard chipping in with a couple of maximums. In the end they put on an undefeated 89 run partnership to see us through with a final score of 3/140 from our 40 overs. Porno finished with a fantastic 60* and Gerard with 28*. We knew we had a competitive score if we could bowl and field well.
Our bowling was pretty erratic in the first couple of overs presenting a few gifts to the Lysterfield openers which saw them get off to a flyer before Varun struck knocking over their aggressive opener. The V-Cat was in the game again the next over taking a catch from Gez’s off spin so at 2/44 we had steadied the ship a bit. The third wicket was at 73 then with their captain batting well we were in trouble as they got the score to 3/105 with plenty of overs remaining. That was before Porno was introduced into the attack ripping through the Lysterfield middle order to claim three quick wickets. So from 3/105 they were all of sudden 6/113 and it was game on. The remaining batsmen did not look to have too many shots so the runs dried up. Varun claimed another, there was run out and then it came down to the last ball. They were 9 down and needed 1 to tie and 2 to win off the last ball. We brought the field in to go for the win but unfortunately they managed to get one over the top for a boundary to get the win.
Disappointing to lose a close game but considering we were a bowler down and basically gone for all money at 3/105 it was great effort to nearly pinch it. Our two offies Gezza and Nix bowled really well into the wind but from the rest of us seamers there were a few too many loose balls and extras which is what got us in the end. Lysterfield were fourth on the ladder and had a much more experienced team. Jason had a great game claiming 3 Marget Medal votes with his 60* and spell of 3/18 which brought us right back into the game. All in his 200th game and on the night of his acceptance of Life Membership at the club.
Heading into the last round of the season, we had a lot to play for with a home final at stake. Although St Johns Tecoma were on the bottom of the ladder, they’d recently added more experience to the team as well as an in-form young former sub-district batsmen returning this year after a 2 year break from cricket. In what was looking like a potential danger game for us, we needed to get off to a good start and winning the toss certainly helped as we chose to bat first.
Opening with the 8th different pairing in 8 games, Lachy returning from a knee injury opened with Scotty who was looking to spend time at the crease and, with the more consistent bounce of a new ball, hopefully allow him play his signature pull shot. Lachy got us off to a great start picking off some loose balls and racing to 30 with 7 boundaries while Scotty also picked up a few boundaries including a shortish ball despatched over mid-wicket for a maxi with the score racing to 54 off the first 6 overs. The momentum continued with the 100 partnership brought up off 15 overs until Scotty was unfortunate to be given out caught down leg side for a well-made 44 - 1/104 from 16.
Brent joined Lachy and they continued to score runs at will with Lachy reaching his first senior 50 soon after Brent arrived. They played with maturity and composure as they put on a 71 run partnership that was broken when Brent was caught on the boundary for 36 - 2/175 off 25 overs, an incredible 7 runs per over and Thommo was only just striding to the crease. Lachy was tiring and nursing a sore knee at that stage so was content to work the ball around while Thommo settled in at the other end.
From the last 10 overs of the innings, Thommo and Lachy took the score from 2/175 to 2/306 with Lachy reaching a brilliant 100 retired with 3 balls to go that was pure class, composure and maturity. Lachy’s powerful hitting and hard running has always been a strength of his batting but with his shot selection and patience really maturing this season, he is now the complete package and his maiden 100 was just reward for that. While Lachy was working up to his 100, Thommo was doing his best to catch him but even with 8 4’s and 8 6’s, he fell 2 runs short of back-to-back tons finishing on an awesome and brutal 98 not out.
Knowing that they had a mountain in front of them that was too steep to climb, the St John’s batsmen set about building their innings and taking advantage of anything loose but not taking unnecessary risks. Nikhil again set the standard early taking the new ball and bowling exceptionally well but without luck to bowl out his 7 overs for 0/21. Juzzy bowled a couple of overs into the wind but then changed ends to replace Nikhil with immediate effect, bowling one of the openers off his 2nd ball with the wind. Juzzy continued to bowl well finishing with 1/17 off 7 with Chris bowling into the wind at the other end (5 overs 0/19), both managing to tie down the gun former sub-district batsman. Scotty replaced Juzzy and bowled a fiery spell of 6 overs that induced a direct-hit run out from Brent that was closely followed by a huge LBW appeal that, upon being turned down, saw him cartwheel the gun batsman’s middle stump off the very next ball. A great way to finish the innings restricting St Johns to 3/148.
That win saw us cement our spot on top of the ladder with a home semi-final this week. Watching on with interest as the results came in, any of the teams from 4th to 7th on the ladder could have made it but it was the 4th placed Monbulk that won the right to be hosted at Knox Gardens Reserve.
It’s been a great season so far and with 15 players eligible to play finals for the 4s, we are confident of giving a good account of ourselves this coming weekend. If you get the chance, please come down and support the u16s in the morning and hang around to watch the 4s in the afternoon.
Well done to the 2s on making it yet again - “back-to-back” has a nice ring to it!