Playing against the top team in the division was going to be
tough but a good chance to test ourselves against the yardstick and see where
Losing the toss and being sent in to the field was made an
even harder job when Jnr Marget got sent to the 1st XI after a late withdrawal
in the 1’s. He was looking forward to bowling a few overs but we had to adjust
and get on with the job. We bowled the first couple of overs with the
intimidating tag team of Thomo & Mulder being one player short in the field
waiting for Gerard to get to the ground and then make sure his hair was
perfectly positioned to take his place. It payed off straight away with the
opener not realising Gerard came onto the park and smacked it down his throat
for the first pole off the old fox. Thomo & Mulder used their experience and
brute strength to break open the top order and have us in great shape at drinks
with the score 3/40. After a short spell from Mitchy moit we turned to spin
with myself and my little protégé Tricky Nicky putting the clamps on and
bamboozling their middle order. After a few near misses we got rewarded with
5/15 in the space of 10 overs including a freakish and probably overdue piece
of brilliance from Mitch Gregory with a direct hit runout. 8/91 at tea was a
fantastic start but it’s been a real struggle to clean up the tail for us so
far this season so we had to stay switched on. I thought we had to get our best
bowlers on but then Thomo took the ball out of my hands with no argument from
me and he got rid of the last two quicker than he downs a schooner and we
rolled them for 99. Thomo was fantastic taking 4/27 off 11 and young gun Nixon
is really starting to feel comfortable at this level now and was outstanding
finishing with 3/12 off 8 overs.
With 27 overs left in the day we looked to finish off a
great day and set ourselves up for the win. Rhys tried to hit the first ball
into orbit but could only find the keeper’s gloves which brought tough as nails
Josh Wylde to the crease. He and two dogs Morrison steadied the ship until Josh
fell for a patient 11 with the score on 37. Some nervy moments and a few plays
and misses against some quality bowling but we kept scoring, well Morro was at
least and with 1 over left in the day we passed their score 4 down with Morro 67
not out with minor CJ on 11 not.
We came back next week looking for maximum points and
percentage with such a tight ladder and it was Morro and the now legal aged
Callum who put on 157 runs. Morro his highest ever score 137 not out and Callum
a welcome 50 after working so hard for starts so far this season. Ended on
We came out to bowl with 45 overs left and bowled ok but
didn’t take our chances and they proved why they will be hard to beat if we
come up against them in finals as we finished the game taking 2/118.
An outstanding first day set up our best win for the season
and now sitting on top of the ladder but with 2 points separating the top 4
teams we need to keep winning. Very impressed with our young team so far and
look forward to the upcoming games.
3rd XI vs The Basin @ Wantirna College
We ventured out to beautiful Wantirna College to face off against The Basin. The Basin have been struggling this year, however they are a very dangerous side on their day. They won the toss and elected to bowl first on what could only be described as a grave yard for bowlers. Nevertheless the decision paid off as I was trapped in front for 1. Dosmanstagram Morrison joined Ben McLean at the crease and batted really well for his 29 before being caught with the score on 92. Dos isn’t far away from a big score and just needs to make sure he can reset after being in for 20 overs and really cash in on the back half of his innings. Josh Curnow batted at 4 and looked scratchy early before finding some rhythm in a good 99 run stand with Ben before he was caught in the slips. Ben was next to depart for a really well made 113 with the score on 240 and Hard Hitting Nibby came and went for 4 with Lamby following for 39 not long after. All of a sudden we were 6/271 and finding going a little more difficult, but the rear guard of Baxter (17), Spencer (24) and Hawksey (28) got us to all out for 346 on the last ball of the day. A great effort and in my opinion about 50 above par for the ground.
We came back the next week on a really warm day with The Basin only having 8 players and quickly falling to 5/62 with wickets to Hawksey (3), Nikhil (1) and Curney (1). The farther/son Wallace combination proved a greater challenge for us and they saw them through to tea and beyond putting on 176 runs before Mitch Wallace was dismissed by the formidable combination of caught Morrison bowled Potts. From there the last guy came in and we wrapped things up pretty quickly with them all out 254 off 52 overs on a very fast outfield. Unfortunately all of us could have had better days in the field and all of the bowlers could have bowled a little bit tighter. That being said the way we played week 1 allowed us that leeway and we came through with the 6 points.
After this win we are still on top of the ladder with 2 games to go. There is a lot of improving that we can do over those 3 weeks to be ready for a big finals campaign.
4th XI vs Upwey Tecoma @ Upwey Reserve
Having snatched a tie from the jaws of victory last round, we headed to Thompsons Oval for round 8 to have Upwey-Tecoma’s 3s rub some very painful salt into the still open wound.
Winning the toss, we elected to bowl first for no other reason than to see how the Upwey-Tecoma batsmen handled the small ground so we could arrange our line up and tempo accordingly. Dropping a couple of catches early on didn’t help our cause with Raj enticing a lofted drive in his first over and Crookie, the perennial luckless bowler, having a slips catch dropped by 2nd slip, grabbed and grassed by 1st slip not long after. Tom eventually broke through with a juggling catch behind (1/67 off 16) and followed that up with another catch behind soon after (2/88 off 21) All bowlers bowled well and fielders did what they could on the small ground until we eventually got another breakthrough with Dylan, having had a near catch and a dropped catch off his first 2 balls finally managing to get the batsman to mishit a ball to the safe hands of cousin Tom (3/150 off 30). Scotty snared another one 2 overs later and Upwey-Tecoma finished on 4/165 from their 35. I reinforced with the guys as we left the ground that we had done a sensational job in holding such a strong batting lineup to less than 5 per over on that ground and just had to bat sensibly to put ourselves in a comparable position at stumps.
Getting off to a solid start with Deepak and Scotty, we had our share of luck until it ran out for Scotty with the score on 54 on the 1st ball of the 13th over. From there it was a bit of a procession as we lost a wicket in each of the next 4 overs from the same end stumbling to 5/66 in the 21st over. All batsmen fell to what I refer to as ‘small ground syndrome’ with undisciplined shots being played at will, not even with the intent of hitting boundaries……merely giving catching practice to mid-off, cover, slip, etc, etc. Tom and Raj held their nerve to get us to 5/100 at the end of our 35.
Not only were we in a poor scoreboard position heading into week 2 but, with 11 players expected up to around the tea break, Varun and then TPug pulled out about an hour before play was scheduled to start. Bails answered the mayday call, heading to the ground as soon as he was relieved from 1s scoring duties. So, heading in to the field with only 9 fielders, we started on the right foot with Dyl knocking over the stumps in his 2nd over. Tom unfortunately couldn’t hit his length so it came down to Dyl, Scotty and Crookie to try to break through the batsmen’s defences. Bails arrived and was soon handed the gloves as our regular keeper said he was feeling the heat as we went from 9 fielders to 10 back to 9 until Grega arrived after drinks. Finally King managed to hold on to a mishit off the luckless Crookie and Jase coming into the week 2 lineup after holidaying the previous week managed to get the same result a few overs later with Dyl taking a fine catch. With 15 overs left and the score at 7/295, it was a case of just hanging on to the end. King bowled a brilliant but luckless spell having the batsmen in all sorts of trouble 4-5 balls every over but, being such a small ground, the batsmen knew they could play their shots with immunity as even the worst mishits were carrying the boundary. Finally the pain and suffering ended with Upwey-Tecoma finishing on 8/396 from their 70 overs.
So, with a realistic assessment of our situation needing to get from 5/100 to 397 in 35 overs, the aim was to make them work for the win and spend all 35 overs at the crease. With Tom departing on the 3rd ball of the 1st over, it was another procession from there as only Jase with a hard hitting 60 (10 boundaries and 2 maxis) and King resisting for 7 overs put up any resistance as we were all out in the 51st over for 177.
We were absolutely smashed by a very talented team with incredible batting depth (6 players scored between 30-59 runs) who predominantly alternate between the division 3 and division 6 teams. They are well clear on top of the ladder and look certainties to claim their 3rd straight flag in this division.
We, on the other hand, get a chance to compete in our own weight division in the next 2 rounds with a sniff of making the 4 still there if we win both of those games.