The 1s were at home again and we had no hesitation in batting when the toss fell our way. With a Gunbower player dislocating his finger in the warm up and another having a sub fielder for the week, it is fair to say there wasn't a shortage of wombats keen for a hit. Franny set the tone early and Thommo was looking comfortable as they brought up the first 50 run partnership for the day in the 13th over. Thommo (23) threw away a good start but Franny and Mick kept the score moving and Franny soon had another 1s fifty under his belt in good time. There was another hundred on offer for Franny but he picked out a 'straight hit' fieldsman on 76 with the score 2-143 in the 34th over. The procession continued as Mick rediscovered a cover drive with his new bat (about time) and Brenno looked at home at number 4 building a nice innings. Mick also gave away a hundred on offer hitting a catch back to the bowler on 71 but that merely brought Devo to the crease and the runs kept flowing. Now Devo hasn't always been known for his quick scoring but knowing the scenario proceeded to put together with Brenno what must be close to the fastest 100-run partnerships ever in the 1s. In around 15 overs the damage was done with Brenno (66) and Devo (53) taking the score from 3-205 to 5-308 after 65 overs. We declared at 5-328 with 8 overs left in the day to scare the Gunbower top order.
Greeny sprayed a few and had the openers jumping whilst Daz's beautiful in-swinger had the Gunbower keeper trapped lbw first ball. He wasn't happy with the decision (or for being sent out to bat by his captain perhaps) throwing his bat half-way to the fence and then not bothering to turn up the following week. Daz cleaned up the No. 3 as well who didn't look confident wielding a bat covered in duct tape. At the end of 8 overs an outright seemed possible at 2-21. The following week saw the Greeny and Daz show in full force against a shaky looking Gunbower. The first ball from Greeny cannoned into leg stump before No. 4 could
get his bat down and then the fourth ball took the top of middle as No. 5 thought he could leave one go. Greeny was bowling pearlers as an in-swinging yorker took the prized wicket of the Gunbower captain and gave him his third bowled in 7 balls. Daz wasn't quiet at the other end either with a nick to Nuke at third slip and another bowled to have Gunbower reeling at 7-29. We couldn't take our chances however and put down 4 catches to give Gunbower an opportunity to build a partnership and more importantly bat time. After a partnership of 77 Franny took the second of his caught and bowled chances and after tea Daz and Greeny cleaned up the final two wickets. Daz 5-29 and Greeny 4-20 were just too good for Gunbower who were all out for 113. With 25 overs left our chance of outright was slim and without an early breakthrough it turned out to be too difficult. Kearney did however get his first two wickets for the club and a broken stump to add to that.
It was excellent to see four +50-run partnerships and some dangerous new ball bowling. Must work on our fielding and follow up against Maccabi this week who are showing they can make a score on a good day.
2s headed down to Oakleigh, for fantastic tea and good times….
Winning the toss we DB and Coach Strauss started the bidding, until DB was dismissed in the third over. Strauss was looking settled, confident, and ready to tonne up – so Brown pushed one between (ish) gully and point, called yes and burnt Strauss to a crisp (it was a long and silent drive home). This set the tone for our innings somewhat. Fini (13) and Main (11) did better than most, and Brown (34) displayed one of the ugliest innings ever seen to top score. The only real revelation with the bat was Sam Clarke (Making his debut in the 2s), who laid on a well made 11 n.o. at number 9. 98 to defend.
Cue the real highlight of the game – our first bowling innings. Two wickets in the last two balls of the first over had the team up and about (Brown 3-24 off 9). Surprising everyone Strauss (somewhat fired up) took the new ball at the other end and bowled a treat – in-hooping-away-decking-god-what-just-happened kinda stuff (0-15 off 5, and unlucky not to have wickets). GI came in as a very handy change (1-16 off 7); and at the other end T Rafter came back (baby), and was sensational (1-4 off 3). Pick of the bowlers was by far E.
Hay, who cleaned up ESO with 5-20 off 8, and snared first innings points rolling ESO for 83.
The second innings was ugly. Very ugly. With 2 overs to face in the day, Millar and Bennett took guard on a wicket that appeared to be something left over from a 5 day test (large cracks, dry and played on by a Sat side and a junior side the morning before). Needless to say it was challenging (2-2 at the end of the day, with DB gone LBW and Millar out to a ball that literally rolled). With a bit of rain the next week one hoped the pitch might be in slightly different condition. It was. It hadn’t been covered – at all. It’s fair to say – “it was different” (somewhat soft…) and, with the exception of Clarke (another superb n.o. 14 batting at 9), and Hay (a lofty 13 batting at 8) our batsmen simply failed to adapt to the conditions. We were rolled
for a disappointing 51. Hats off to ESO’s V. Singh who bowled superbly in both innings to take 10 fa for the match.
With 5/8 of stuff all to defend the second bowling spell was always going to be difficult. Opening the bowling
Party Marty gave us a sniff of a chance taking two in his first two overs. Unfortunately no other bowlers managed to break-through and the 2s slumped to a disappointing outright loss. We will be back.
The 3's headed south to Bentleigh, to the Burt Bacharach toilet and the side that dispatched our 4's in last year's Granny.
Winning the toss (again), and on a nice sunny day, we batted first on what looked like a decent track. GG and Pickers got things underway and saw off the new ball bowlers and getting through to drinks without loss. The spinners came on and GG managed to crack a few drives to the ropes before top edging a pull shot to fine leg for 34. At this stage we were 1/59 and feeling pretty good with life.
Whitey, Benny, Roan, HP and Pops came and went without scoring while Pickers watched in some disbelief from the non-strikers end. A mix of good bowling/catching and poor shots dissolved our middle order.
Pickers then gave their mid-wicket catching practice similar to a Thursday night for a patient 24 to hand over the batting reins to Rishi and Cal and the score on 7/72 having lost 7/13. #parkvillecollapse
Rishi lead the recovery playing some great shots including a back foot drive that the Little Master would have been proud of. Sadly drinks approached and despite Cal's words of encouragement about seeing out the over, Rishi aimed over the top and got caught at mid off for 22. Billy made it the 6th quacker of the innings and a healthy contribution to the Duck Pond from the 3's.
So score at sandwiches was 9/96 and Cal was 3* playing his usual prodding forward defensive. Encouragement from the skip suggested another 15 runs would be really handy so swing the willow big fellas. The rest of us got into our whites. Cal and Legs decided that they would do more than just 15, and smashed the club record for the 11th wicket with a stand of 111 which included some good hitting, solid defence and loping singles. Cal virtually doubled his tally for the previous 5yrs with the Wombats, with 84* and Legs finished up on 21 for a team total of 207.
We had 13 overs at them and they finished off on 0/14, but obviously didn't fancy facing our bowlers this week calling off the game due to the wet weather. Round 4, and 3's still without a win.
The fours had two one dayers over the past two weeks with contrasting results. In the first match we lost the toss and were thrown the ball against South Yarra. Evan and Dungy opened up and both bowled extremely well. Wickets fell fairly regularly throughout the early overs and we were right on top when we had them 8/95. Unfortunately we didn't take another wicket and the Yarras managed to bat out their 45 overs for a decent total of 152. It was really a case of letting them off the hook as we dropped our intensity following the break for dinks. Matters weren't helped by an extended session in the bushes looking for the ball after the Captain was put back over his head for a massive zak. The pick of the bowlers were Evo with 3-14, Dungy with 1-23 and Rodey with 2-27.
The chase got off to an inconspicuous start when both openers were gone with just a run on the board. And it didn't get much better than that. We lost wickets in clumps and were all out for a very disappointing 96. One of their blokes bowled very well to take 5-14 but really it was a lack of application at the crease that did us in.
In our next match we took on local rivals Youlden Parkville. It was a delayed start 35 over game and the toss was going to be crucial on a damp deck. Unfortunately we lost the toss and were inserted by YP. Again we lost wickets early and were in real trouble at 3-11. The pitch was proving very difficult with the ball coming on much slower than anticipated leading to a lot of easy catches being offered. However, Miss Viss and and T Mac steadied the ship somewhat before Dan Bense came in at number 8 and crushed it around the park. One wind-assisted six is still coming down. He finished with 32 in our total of 138.
Dungy was the star of afternoon tea. Having been reprimanded the previous week for bringing a solitary watermelon as his contribution he proceeded to claim that he was "adding variety" to the fruit offering this week by bringing two watermelons. There must have been something in those watermelons though as they certainly got Bensey fired up. He came out stomping and snorting and proceeded to inflict a trifecta of damage - to the YP scorecard, their batsmens' health and the reputation of the Wombats as mild mannered gentlemen cricketers. His first over went for 13 and he bowled nine on the trot to finish with 5 for 33. At the other end Miss Viss bowled tidily without luck. Dungy replaced Benso to take a crucial wicket as they looked like getting the chase well and truly back on track. Tommy 'Kleenex' McQuillan then cleaned up tail taking the scalps of numbers 8, 9, 10 and 11. YPs were all out for 95 and a much needed win was on the board for the 4s.
The 5's were away at Burnley this week and again managed to bowl first. Opening up with Geoff and Rob we started steadily, Rob contending with swinging the ball a mile before settling in nicely. The introduction of Kamal (1/25 off 9) brought our first wicket to a handy caught and bowled, and some good tight bowling from Kris (2/26 off 8) brought another two not long after to have Burnley 3/48 in the 19th. Gus and Dave bowled tight to get us through drinks, drying up the runs and lifting the pressure on the batsmen. A 80 run partnership for Burnley's 4th wicket started to take the game away from us, with both batsmen running tight singles and pushing the ball around lifting their run rate. The reintroduction of Rob (2/40 off 8) removed both their no. 5 (LBW) and their captain (bowled), before Geoff picked up two late ones to finish 2/52 off 9. Burnley ended up 7/177 off their 45, which was a decent total but we thought was quite chasable. All the bowlers bowled well and a good effort in the field despite being put under pressure and a hard day in the field, with balls often going just wide/over fielders and a few tough chances/runouts being missed.
We started the chase with Harpers and Beefy, who got us off to a steady start before Harpers departed to a catch at midwicket to leave us 1/16 off 8. Shane and Gus then batted very solidly to see us through to drinks without any further wickets lost, with us on a decent platform of 1/52, nearly the same runs as Burnley but with more wickets in hand. Both Gus and Shane were looking in great touch but unfortunately creaming the ball straight to fielders before Gus departed for 26 shortly after drinks trying to lift the run rate to have us 2/59 off 25. Geoff was run out soon after and we were soon 5/80 off 31 after the losses of Josh and Reubs with the required run rate starting to climb. Shane soon fell for a really good 33 (6/95 off 35), and Steve decided to start "putting pressure on the fielders" (read suicidal singles) to grab any runs possible. Dave fell LBW to one that came in and kept low and Steve burnt Kris (see above suicidal singles, sorry Kris). Steve and Rob then pushed runs around put couldn't get the necessary big runs needed for the run rate before Rob (18) and Steve fell off consecutive balls to be all out for 137 off 43 overs. Credit to Burnley who bowled tight and at the stumps all day on a deck that occasionally kept low, were sharp in the field and were tough to get runs against. A solid platform and really good batting from Shane and Gus (who was heard to be disappointed to have "played like an opener") but we couldn't quite get the shots away against disciplined bowling and fielding. Plenty of positives to take from the game and we can look to win number 2 next week.
The 5's again journeyed out to Albert Park for our match against Ajax. Once we arrived we found out that the "brand new pitch" we were meant to be playing on had not been prepared and our game had been moved to another ground. So we drove down the other end of pit straight to find a pitch had been prepared but was very soft. The whole key ring would have had a chance of going into this thing, never mind a key. Unfortunately Steve called incorrectly on the toss and we were sent in. The pitch played like we expected, with balls popping up off the pitch and almost seeming to stop and pop straight up on occasion. We opened with Gus and Steve, before Steve departed by lobbing one that stopped to mid off. Gus (16) missed one not long after to have us 2/20. Dave was caught not long after that and Geoff was triggered despite batting outside his crease to a left armer and hitting the ball. After being 5/31 Taffy helped us settle for a while before skying one to depart for 15, and another flurry of wickets saw us all out for 65 after 26.1 overs. To their credit Ajax held pretty much everything that came their way, taking some very sharp chances, but we were confident of being able to defend even a low total like 65 on a pitch playing the way this one was.
With 18 overs for them to face before tea, we opened up the bowling with Dave R and Kris knowing early wickets and tight bowling were the key. Dave R (1/13 off 4) drew an edge early and Kris (0/3 off 4) was bowling nice and tight but we needed more wickets and soon. The pitch was losing its ridiculousness and batting was getting alot easier. Gus (0/13 off 3) and Kamal (2/14 off 5) joined the attack and pretty much saw us through to tea with Ajax 3 down and needing about another 15 runs. We were told that tea was back at our original ground (why???) so most of us stayed behind with a few venturing with a small contingent of their team to grab some food. Their return was accompanied with grumblings of the state of the offerings (apparently make your own sandwiches, biscuits and some dips that seemed to have had a going at before us). Geoff (2/19 off 6) and Dave M (2/26 off 6) got us back underway, with Dave quite excited and surprised to bowl one of their batsmen by him leaving it despite it never going anywhere except straight into the stumps. We were slowly plugging away and getting wickets but by now they had passed us and were pushing for a lead to put us back in. The pitch was almost good to bat on now with some hours in the sun. Weel (1/11 off 4) came on and bowled very well and picked up a well deserved wicket and late call up Ryan Gwynne picked up his first wicket off his first (legitimate) ball in club cricket. Ajax all out for 126 off 34.
Really this game was lost at the toss, with batting getting alot easier as the day wore on. Quite a few balls landed just over, wide of fielders with Ajax batsmen throwing the bat at most balls, and we feel that on a decent deck we would have had this one. Ajax sent us back in, chasing 63ish and we made short work of it, passing it one down off 17 overs, just to prove that the pitch was much better for batting than it was at the start. Great batting by Dave M (47) again falling just short of the elusive 50, with good support from Geoff (6*) and Gus (9*). A tough day but win number two probably isn't far away.