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2nd grade report Round 14 day 1

2nd Grade Report v North Sydney (Day 1)

Odd sort of a day on Saturday. Sort of good, sort of not so good. North Sydney dismissed for 241 off 93 overs, on a flat wicket, which was alright. But it could certainly have been for less, had we held our catches. Then a wicket at the end of the day meant that we finished at 1-9.

As usual, Howitt lost the toss. No real surprises there, but he was considering bowling anyway. A 9.30am start to the warm up meant that, by 11.00am, the side already had virtually a session under its belt, so it could hit the ground running.

(Rod Hokin against Norths)

There might have been a consequence for this at 5.00pm, however, as the side was deep into the fourth session.

Connell and Sweeney opened, and bowled quite well. Connell struck early, but it was slow going.

One opener was wearing a cap. He had to be bounced. Eventually Connell did, and the batsman looked to hook. The ball skied up, and Wiese completed the 'catch'.

Not out.

Why not?

Because the ball had not hit the bat; rather it had cannoned straight in to the batsman's head.

I can't explain it. I have no doubt whatsoever that the umpire was right, but why wasn't the batsman dead? He didn't even pause between deliveries, let alone rub it.

Another bouncer a short while later was indeed skied off the bat, but fell with pinpoint accuracy between three fieldsmen ' fine leg, square leg, and the keeper. It was to be that sort of day.

(Ed Howitt at Killara against Norths)

Then a piece of Hokin brilliance. A ball was hit just behind square leg, where Hosking fielded it. The batsmen thought about a run, and Hosking had a shy at the keeper's end. He missed. The batsmen then set off for an overthrow. There was pandemonium. Hokin, backing up in the covers, picked up the ball and, from a distance of about 20 metres, threw down the stumps at the bowler's end. It was like one of those 'two stump' drills that we do endlessly, and it was terrific.

Connell took his second wicket, but then a frustrating partnership followed. Frustrating for the fact that catches were put down left right and centre. Two at slip ' one each off Howitt and Stobo ' and then a piece of Hokin unbrilliance as he dived for a ball that was coming straight to him at short cover. The same batsman each time.

Eventually Howitt made the breakthrough, by bowling the North Sydney mainstay around his legs.

It was also at about this time that Garratt introduced himself to the game. He fields well, does Garratt, and is certainly committed. He has held some very good catches in recent times. But his effort on Saturday was memorable.

(Mark Wiese is all concentration at Killara) 

Chasing to the eastern side of the ground, he realised too late that the ball was going to beat him to the fence, and therefore had no choice but to vault over it. Sadly for him, at that particular place there is very little room before a bank drops steeply down for eight or so feet.

It was spectacular. All that could be seen from the other side of the ground was a pair of legs disappearing into oblivion.

It reminded me of Joe Simpson disappearing in to the crevasse in Touching the Void.

But soon enough Garratt hopped up, dusted himself down, and clambered back onto the field of play.

Howitt's wicket was followed by another. Hokin redeemed himself by picking up not just the next one, but the three after that as well.

There was one particularly amusing one.

A left hander was on strike, and it was clear that he was keen to get after Hokin if he was given the chance. Hokin realised this, and made a deliberate fielding change, dropping a fieldsman to the cow corner position on the western side.

He then delivered what is quite possibly the slowest, loopiest delivery ever bowled. It travelled at the speed of continental drift. Before it had landed, the Himalayas had risen by a couple of centimetres. The batsman fell for it, charged down the wicket, played all around it, and was stumped by Wiese, who had spent an eternity waiting for the ball to get to him.

(Like a good web photographer, the webmaster was there to catch the moment of Mark Wiese about to stump the Norths batsman from the world's slowest delivery)  

The second new ball was eventually taken, but it meant runs, rather than wickets. Eventually, however, the final few wickets did fall, to Connell, and the innings was closed.

There was a testing time remaining. Three overs.

Picollo faced the first over, and was struck on the pads with the fourth and fifth deliveries. As one can imagine, the North Sydney players were all around the bat, and screaming for anything that smelt like a chance. Both appeals were denied. However, when Picollo was struck on the pads with delivery six, the appeal was monumental, and he was given out.

It was apparently said later by one North Sydney player that the ball may in fact have hit Picollo's bat first. This would be disappointing if it was true. Particularly given that Picollo had worked hard in the field all day, and had encouraged his bowlers to a man.

Wiese was sent in as nightwatchman, but only faced one ball ' Garratt faced all of the rest ' before stumps were drawn at 6.00pm.

233 to get. Nine wickets in hand. An interesting ' and important ' day ahead.

Richard Stobo


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