A fairly atypical Gladdies performance on day one, in as much as we knuckled down, preserved wickets against solid bowling, built an innings and batted right through to capitalise at the end!
Kunal was an absolute rock at the top of the order, safely getting us through the first 30 odd overs while wickets fell around him, and making a solid 30 himself. Martin and then Junior provided assistance and some solid run support before one D.Centellas came in and helped himself to 3 sixes and a few fours in quick time before Ottam put the fielders on the boundary to try and stem the flow. Funky made an unbeaten 4 in his long awaited return, while, tragically, Damo had to be content with facing Jimbo, Nikos and me against one fielder after stumps had been pulled.
Dave finished agonisingly short on 48 not out, but certainly helped a hell of a lot in getting us to 199 off our 50, certainly something to defend next week. Meanwhile, Nikos and Damo obtained some hopefully useful footage and commentary in their quest to explain Australia’s historical failures to win in India. If they wanted a grassroots perspective, it doesn’t get much more grassroots than the Gladstones.
Bit of a heartbreaker day two. It promised to be a long day from the outset, with warm temperatures, blustery conditions, a lightning quick outfield, and, to be fair, not the strongest bowling lineup (on paper) we’ve ever fielded.
But everyone genuinely put in, and after Ottam got away to a good start, Marty finally got the breakthrough after a spell of serious pace. 3 more wickets fell pretty quickly, with Dangerous Dan keeping things interesting and grabbing two, and Jnr genuinely bamboozling their number 4 before he was mercifully put out of his misery by Kunal’s stumping. At 4/61, we were in the box seat.
After drinks Ottam put together a bit more of a partnership, before another burst of wickets put us right on top, Ottam 9 down with 30 to get. Marty’s second spell was possibly more brutal than his first, removing the stumps repeatedly. 4/37 off 12 was an outstanding effort, and all but got us home. Brendan also ripped out some pearler deliveries, but without reward.
There were chances in the final overs, but a big knock from their number 6 and some scrounging from number 11 somehow got them home with 3 overs to spare.
In the end, we were really a bowler, one or two catches and some vaguely consistent umpiring short. And given how close it was, that’s a damn good effort by everyone who was there.