Please excuse the poor quality of this week’s match report, I can only plead that the Gladdies only really started playing well after I left. We batted in a predictably carefree fashion having been sent in, effortlessly cruising to 107 all out off 22 overs. Dan missed out on the coveted 50% of the team’s runs by a whisker, champing himself to be last man out on 53. The Cheetahs looked on target to knock the runs off fairly easily until I left, thereafter apparently everything went according to plan… what, what? Marty and Lach got 3 a piece, and the Cheetahs were all out for a dismal 87 off 31 overs. On MP4. Lock in a semi final on 10 August. Beers ensued at the Bavarian right up until I was on my back, when everyone suddenly had to go home. Good times.
The Gladdies went down to Coogee Bay, but gees we sure didn’t go down without a fight. Coogee Bay won the toss and batted like they had a plane to catch, absolutely pulverising us early. They’d scored more than their entire innings against us two weeks ago in the first 8 overs, and didn’t lose a wicket until the 24th over (ouch!), by which stage they had a lazy 164 on the board. The Gladdies pulled it in a little at that point, with evergreen Dan picking up another 3 wicket haul, but the final damage was 6/237 off 36. Not an impossible task, especially on Moore Park 4. But hardly a walk in the park either.
We lost a wicket early, but then Dan and Lach came together to get some runs on the board. Dan retired, and Lach was one of 5 Gladdies to get 25 or more. Rob, Christian, Hirak and Jamie all came to the party, and despite the required rate hovering above 10 for much of the backend of the innings, we actually came ridiculously close, falling just 5 runs short in the end. A pretty bloody solid result against one of the better teams in the grade.
Somehow, we managed to cobble together a squad for the game today, and 9 players was enough to do the business against the plucky, but very young Glenbrook side. With 4 people in attendance, it was a very good toss to win and bat. Lach got a couple of early boundaries, but we struggled to get the ball away for much of the innings, and despite being dry, it was quite a slow outfield. We kept wickets in hand though, and went to the break at 1/61. Not long thereafter Dan brought up his 40 in his return fixture (thank god for Dan), before the pressure of having to up the run rate brought a mini collapse. We lost 6 for 20, before the tail wagged a little, and Dan returned to bring up his 50. 149 all out was the final analysis. It felt a little short, but was certainly defendable.
Hirak made a massive contribution to our success with an outrageously good ball in the first over to take out probably their best batsman. We then kept it very, very tight to go into drinks with 3 wickets down and just 46 on the board. Despite giving away a truly absurd number of no balls in the back half, we kept the pressure on, and a magic spell of 2/16 off 6 from Tim really broke the back of the chase. We also pulled off 4 run outs and Dan’s 2/6 off 5 was icing on the cake. Home by 30 runs in the end, and the 12ths are pretty much assured a finals appearance now.
The 11ths finally got their first win of the season, and they sure did do it in style! Taking on the highly fancied Coogee Bay Rebels, and losing the toss in fairly wet conditions had all the hallmarks of a difficult day, but Hirak and Ali served up some absolute peaches in the first six to have the Rebels slightly on the back foot. Jamie and Soli then moved in to remove the openers, and then the top order as the Rebels got gun shy and slipped to 4/35 in the 15th over.
After drinks, Jimbo and Lach positively feasted on the carcass, with Lach conceding just 2 runs off his 6 overs, and Jimbo collecting three poles. In the end, the Rebels whimpered out for 67 in the 32nd over, meaning the Gladdies weren’t under any pressure at all to score quickly.
Which was lucky because score slowly we sure did. We didn’t lose a wicket for the first 14 overs, but we sure did only score 17 runs. The Rebels bowled very tight, but when Centejas came out to bat it was like a different ball game. A grand total of 12 fours were hit all day by both teams, and Dave hit five of them in his destructive knock of 29 not out, ending the game pretty quickly in the 27th over.
We didn’t really play terribly, and the team we played weren’t really amazing, but boy we sure did get our arses handed to us. The conditions were glorious at Parkes Drive, but the cricket was anything but. We never really got going, losing wickets steadily to a solid but not breathtaking bowling attack, although, to be fair, they did hold their catches well. No-one got a duck, and a few got runs here and there, but there were a lot of overs when the best we could do was kind of survive, and the run rate showed. We were 4/64 at drinks, and all out for 133 off 35 overs. It was never really enough.
They started the chase like a house on fire, and it very much looked like we’d be done before drinks, but a couple of wickets to Lach and some tight bowling from Soli and Jimbo at least got us past the 20 over mark. Not a lot though, as they brought up the winning runs with 7 wickets and 14 overs to spare. Ouch.
Pretty shit Saturday all round… I spent much of it dry retching after an outstanding Friday night and early Saturday morning. The Gladdies spent it proving conclusively that we are the worst team in 11th grade.
Losing the toss always sucks, and it seems the Scorpions took full advantage of Johnstone Reserve’s quaintly miniature boundaries. Ali got two early, but it doesn’t look like they ever took their foot off the pedal, and with a couple of retirees, they banged out a very healthy 232 despite Jimbo’s economical and strikeworthy 3/29.
Our chase began solidly enough, with Christian hitting some boundaries early, but we really let the asking rate climb dramatically early on, going to the break only 2 down, but with less than a third of the job done at 73. Various blows were struck in the final 18, but we ended up not even bowled out but a good 27 runs short. Some hard thinking needs to be done in the early-mid overs if we’re going to beat any one in 11ths it seems.
The 12ths kept their season going strong with a close win over Glenbrook out at Villawood. We were asked to bowl first and Hirak showed wheels again, quickly reducing the mixed bag of teenagers and late middle aged men to 2/20. They then built a partnership, however, and one guy retired after a pretty stylish 40, leaving them well placed at 1/96 at drinks. But some vintage park cricket almost-bouncing-twice bowling brought a breakthrough not long after, and Jimbo chimed in with a brace and all of a sudden they were 6/102. Again though, they dug deep, and cashed in towards the end off the back of some profoundly 12th grade fielding, and finished off 8/184 at the close, their opener unbeaten on 66.
The outfield was fast, and their fielding was also not amazing, and we made a solid start. Dave hit some very crisp boundaries, and Christian was threatening to unleash when given out leg before. Jimmy also cashed in on the part timers, and we were cruising at 1/100 at drinks after Dave’s retirement. They did make us work for it, and the Gladdies did all they could to turn a straight forward chase into a nail biter. A couple of run outs, including Jimmy’s for 39, and some quite tight bowling turned 5 an over into 6, and a clutter of wickets left things a little close for comfort. Fortunately for us, they bowled out their best bowlers a little early, and the part timers at the end just sent down a couple too many loose ones, and we ended up wrapping it up with 4 wickets and an over to spare. Solid, if not inspiring.
So, the 11ths are still winless after 3 rounds, but we at least had a bit of a crack.
Having been forewarned the previous night that the opposition would be short, when they emailed literally every captain in all of winter comp to that effect, it was clearly going to be a very good toss to win. Naturally, they did, and elected to bat. Hirak and Ali opened with plenty of pace, but the Chatswood openers simply used that pace to have the ball rocketing to the boundary from the outset. We didn’t take a wicket until the 15th over, and shortly after that, their reinforcements arrived, meaning they were going to be able to both bat and bowl with a full complement. One of their reinforcements was a skinny looking kid who looked terrible, but sure did hit some glorious sixes. In the end, we were probably a bowler or two short, and after a lot of chasing leather, 233 was the damage. The absolute bright spark of the innings was Rob’s amazing 6 over spell of 1/6. Sure did put the other 227 runs off 30 overs into somewhat sharp relief.
So not an impossible task with the bat on the lightning quick MP1 outfield, but certainly not an easy one. It’s an ill wind that blows no one any good, and while the farmers hate it, gee the drought allows for some pretty cheap runs when there are only 7 fielders. We started ok and Charlie and Kunal found the boundary a few times, but it was really Rob that got us going, adding a 40 to his bowling achievements. Chatswood kept us in the game with some dropped catches, and inexplicably feeding of my one and only shot for no good reason.
With two in the shed, Christian and Mishal really hit out, the former with some awesome sweep shots on his way to 39. Once they dropped almost all their fielders back, it was frankly a pretty good effort to keep the required run rate below 10 for most of the innings. Rob fell to an amazingly slow ball on his return, leaving us needing 48 off 29 balls for victory. I did my best, but frankly, the fitness and strength just weren’t there to find the boundary often enough, and we ended up on 220 all out from the final ball.
So in the end we lost by 13. Still, at least we weren’t World Cup semi-finalists from four years ago and currently 3rd ranked ODI team losing to the 7th ranked team, in circumstances that would have us teetering perilously on the edge of missing the finals altogether. Although, actually, the whole teetering thing is probably not wrong. The 11ths will need some very strong performances to be playing come August at this rate.
A fairly clinical performance by the 12ths had us register win number 2 for the season. We lost the toss and fielded first, but it turns out we were actually fielding the best bowling attack we’ve had in years! (Stradling who? … sorry Marty, obviously I’d love to have you back any time. To bowl second change.)
Hirak and Ali showed serious wheels to begin with, and we had both openers fairly cheaply by the 6 over mark. Simon and Soli then also bagged a couple, and when Rob picked up his LBW, they were 5 for 49 and in all sorts after 21 overs. However, 6th bowlers exist to make a game of it, and they did manage to put on another 47 before the last 4 wickets fell in a heap to have them all out for 98. Outstanding bowling effort all round, and solid fielding to back it up.
Charlie and Soli looked to be making short work of the target when one of the most suspect actions seen in Gladdies cricket since Kynan came on, and while it’s hard to argue that his chucking actually got him his two wickets, it was quite the controversial over, as he was called for chucking and instructed he couldn’t bowl again. The Cheetahs (awkward) took this pretty well, all concerned, but the remaining 60 runs came relatively easily with Tim turning out a fine 21 not out, to go with his first Gladstones wicket.
Burwood games are never dull and this one was no different. A new umpire means a new set of rhythms and bugbears, and me having to find $55 to pay him before the match was one of those. A lost toss saw us take the field first, where Hirak and Ali once again showed serious wheels and beat the bat repeatedly. Umpy Steve was beating something else when we went up for an outside edge off one of their openers who, on about 5 at the time, was so sheepish at being given not out that I don’t know how he kept it together to
cheat make 40 and set up their innings. Being Burwood Park, the concurrent domestic dispute across the road re driveway parking was everyone else’s source of embarrassment. In the cricket, meanwhile, some lusty late hitting saw PTW turn a well-bowled-boys 1/73 at drinks (well, not sure you can call it a drinks break when no time is allowed for a drink) into 5/226 at close, which is probably par for Burwood.
Our reply was tricky, with Jimmy the victim less of a decent delivery but rather a classic “you should open, Jimmy” Shanghai into the role. From there, getting towards drinks, both Lach and Charlie had made 34, before Lach was well yorked and Charlie’s suspicions about umpy’s nick-hearing were turned into the strongest confirmation possible with one of the poorer LBWs in a while. Umpy called yours truly out to warn of penalty runs being issued if players showed dissent at decisions, to which I thought it best to confirm with old mate skipper from Parra Telugu Warriors whether he stood by the appeal. Not understanding the question, Charlie remained out and his kit was subsequently the poorer for it. The day was absolutely the poorer for it when the umpire called out that Charlie was on report for – and I’m not kidding, this is a direct quote – “equipment abuse”. A text from Charlie to pass on apologies to his fellow Gladdies (upon whose behalf I happily accepted) had me picturing less and less of Charlie’s batting gear dotting Parramatta Road in a shit-umpiring tribute trail.
Suffice to say the whole thing really took the oxygen out of the run chase and other wickets fell fairly quickly thereafter, to see us on our way home at 117 all out. Chats with umpire Steve both at drinks and at game’s end allowed one side to explain that “players can be reported even if that’s heard through dressing room walls”, and the other to explain that, in circa 350 park games’ experience, chucking your bat and gloves down on your bag is just what some of us call Saturday. My sense is there likely won’t be a report filed after all and, regardless, Aldi make a five-seater camping chair that delivers on comfort and price. Future weeks of five of us on it will be the real test though.