The fourth grade team plays for the Reid Cup. All of the lower grades generally contain a number of experienced players and young higher grade aspirants.
All points for the results from the side go towards the club championship.
For the Fourth grade schedule go to Fixtures
Fourth Grade match reports for 2014/15 season are provided below:
The 4th Graders made the long trek out to Sutherland with the aim of playing some good cricket and get a win under our belts.
Another toss lost and Sutherland elected to bat on a typical slow Sutherland wicket. We knew anything under 200 would put us in a good position to chase down.
Corbin provided the boys hope down the order
The medium pacers got us of to a solid start picking up an early wicket. Spin was on early however the rains came down making it difficult for them to grip the ball. With the score at 3/100 after 28 overs, we were off for rain.
I must point out that the attitude of the Gordon boys was fantastic during this period with one end of the bowling crease very wet not one complaint was made on our part.
Whilst the Sutherland batsmen seemed to have something to say after every delivery about the conditions. The attitude from the 11 Stags players was screw it, just a bit of rain let’s play, which is great to see after a tough year.
Once we got back on wicket fell regularly with Sam Watts again being the pick of the bowlers. Fielding let us down as it has so often with a couple of catches going down again. Not even the threat of post round 15 fines could stop a couple of costly chances going down and an attempted defense of he smashed it at me was not well received by the boys. 170 was the total and it was our turn to bat.
After losing Stan early we were going along reasonably well then as it seems to every week disaster struck. Two run outs cost us the game. A word of advice for all young cricketers, when the ball is smashed to short fine leg there is generally not a run! With Corbin still at the crease there was hope but alas it was no to be falling about 40 runs short and another disappointing loss.
So another loss for the 4th graders but we look forward to taking on the Panthers in round 14 and taking the points. To sing the song a couple of times over the next three weeks is what keep this team motivated.
After a disappointing season so far, our side was keen to show the rest of the club, our supporters and our opposition that we still have some fight and pride in our performances.
Shayne won the toss and elected to bowl against a Parramatta outfit that was still in finals contention.
Sam Watts takes wickets when needed for the boys
It has been discussed within the senior player group that we were losing large clunks of wickets on pitches that were doing a bit early on.
Some of our best batting performances have been on wickets that were flattening out later in the day as was the case at Killara against Randwick-Petersham. However when you put the opposition in you can't afford to drop two silly catches early on at crucial moments, which was the case on day one.
Parramatta's first wicket came courtesy of a bad mix up between their openers, with both stranded at the non-strikers end. A terrible feeling for any batsman.
In the bowling ranks Matt Keane was developing some good rhythm and chimed in with a wicket to make the score 2/23. Matt has the potential like all of the bowlers, to go up the grades if he can hit the top of off stump each ball. There is nothing more annoying as a batsman than not getting enough half volleys to feast on.
On top of that us batsman are always on the look out for short ball that we can get inside of and pull and balls that we can free our arms and late cut or cut through point. This is part of what Steve Waugh described as '' mental disintegration '' with a few choice words thrown in on top of that.
Tim Ferrero rocks back and punishes the Eels bowlers
Back to the match and the Parramatta progressed to 106 when Sam Watts broke through. Sam is a real lion hearted performer and ended with 3/40. At 6/156 the games was ours for the taking, but the Eels managed to take the score to 236 with some lusty blows at the end of day 1.
We all knew that if we batted like we did against Randy Petes the match was winnable, however like any struggling young side doubts linger.
Kleem and Gaynor put on 63 for the first wicket in good style before Kleem was dismissed for 44. He'll be looking to address his inability to convert good starts this season. Saahil Turki who is developing into a fine player was out early. He was philosophical about his dismissal telling me '' hey look it happens ''.
Stan was also dismissed soon after for 37. The man from Moree is working hard on his game including ball where he plays around his front pad, a bit like Shane Watson. Stan is trying to come more down the ground, so balls that he plays to square leg, should be on drives. Some technical advice from Sparky should do the trick and some concentration techniques that can be used when your set.
Kleem also take note.
Enter Michael Strauss (The Marshes we call him for similar traits possessed by Mitch and Shaun). At the start of the match Straussy asked the side in warm up. “So tell me if we get the runs today, do we win the match?” Hello!! Hello!!
Benny Leighton is looking good for Shayne's side
Anyway Michael is a very gifted cricketer and is fun to have around. He also wants to be chartered accountant. His insights into the political turmoil facing his homeland are invaluable.
In the game he was dismissed for 19, but watch this space, if he can screw his head on he could be something very special. From there we just crumbled and 6/164 we were hoping for some resolute batting.
One good thing that came out of the game is the emergence of Tim Ferrero who's had some great success in Greenies. For a young bloke Tim showed plenty of aggression and was prepared to back himself. He has a good head on him and will hopefully do well in third grade this weekend.
He was unfortunately dismissed for a well-made 63 and our side ended up being bowled out for 212.
The side will be hoping for a change of fortune when they take on Sutherland at Sutherland this weekend. They are usually very strong and well led around the park.
We will have to be on our game to get the biscuits.
After a strong performance last week against Randy Petes, 4th Grade were looking to continue and get another win on the board. We rocked up to a relatively small, Blick Oval with a very flat wicket, a strong bowling and fielding performance was going to be needed.
Crofts. Occupation: Burglar of wickets. Wanted for theft of one Wests wicket
As has been the trend this season, the toss was lost and we were bowling first. Another trend that has developed has been Watts getting a wicket in his first over and he didn’t disappoint, removing one of the Wests openers. Sam continued to bowl well, taking another before the author also chipped in with one. Aaron ‘The Burglar’ Crofts also thieved another Wests wicket before drinks.
The Stags have found that pushing fast through the middle overs seemed to keep us in a very good position late into the innings, as was seen last week, and Shayne decided that today would be no different. Leighton and Ahmed bowled well, pushing through the overs, keeping it tight.
Wests continued to build strong partnerships through their innings; with the opener being their foundation and this had them in a good position coming into the last 10 overs. Here, they were looking to launch off.
A few wickets fell and Gordon were looking as though we could keep them under 200. This included a sensational run-out from Corbin who, from the boundary, swiftly retrieved and released the ball, hitting middle stump from deep mid-wicket.
There was some good death bowling and some not too good death bowling and this was not helped by the small boundaries. Wests did well with big hitting late to get their score to 228 before being bowled out in the last over. If we batted as we did last week, this would be an achievable score.
It's a shame all the photographers were competing to get "that" shot of Clarke. When Mitch Kleem is on fire, there is little better in this world
After some Maccas runs and a relaxed lunch break. Mitch and Stan went out to start our innings. The start was not good due to some great bowling from the ex-first grader for Wests Barry. Stan was out to a great catch at third slip, which was not too dissimilar to our very own Iqbal’s catch from last week.
Another 2 wickets fell quickly and Gordon stood at 3 for not many.
This brought Strauss to the crease and with Kleem put on a show. The pair ticked the score board over at seven an over. Kleem seemed to not be able to hit a fieldsman, smashing balls through the field to all parts of the ground, before being dismissed for 43.
Meanwhile Strauss has absolutely no issue clearing the boundary doing so many times and hitting it a very long way. After an exciting innings, one was mishit and Strauss departed for 45.
The Stags were looking in a shaky position here, being 5 for 100 odd and needed a few more big partnerships. Some resistance was seen from Crofts, Lin and Watts but due to some really good fielding, all were dismissed. Gordon fell around 80 runs short.
It was a good effort from the boys but Wests fielding really turned the game for them. Had a few more shots been played along the ground and a bit of luck our way, it could have been a different story.
Lets look to next week and make it a really strong performance to show what this team is capable of.
Keane – 2, Watts – 2, Crofts -2, Ahmed - 2, Strauss 45, Kleem 43
With a poor start to the new year a big turnaround was dearly needed. It was established early in the morning by the inspirational skipper, Shayne ‘Rin’ Lin, that our attitude was simply not good enough. With that in mind the lads took to the warm up with intensity that looked like a winning outfit.
Stan Gaynor... this shot was similar to his first for Gordon, down at Balmoral. The webmaster dropped him in his fantasy team immediately
Due to our dismal batting display on our last hit at Killara, Shayne was a bit unsure whether to bat or bowl on what looked like a good batting deck. Fortunately Shayne didn’t have to make a decision, as is the trend this season he lost the toss and the opposition elected to bat.
Sam Watts was absolutely terrific with the ball opening up. 2 wickets in three balls gave us more to cheer about than we have since the New Year. This was essential in setting the tone in our fielding effort. Sam was practically unplayable in his first spell and was well supported by Matt.
This set a perfect platform for the young Dylan Hood on debut in 4's to execute his skills and continue the pressure created by the opening bowlers. Generally pressure and tightening up runs leads to wickets. This was no exception but not without some magic. Iqbal "magic fingers" Ahmed was the wizard that executed one of the catches of the season.
Kleem, without the trademark red helmet, but in a good vein of form
A thick edge raced to the big man, with a slight movement to the left he stuck out his right hand and he never looked like dropping it. This shifted momentum on our side and throughout our entire innings we were exceptional in the field; lead by Lez "pineapple head" Leighton.
Ben deserves plenty of credit for Gordons energy and talk in the field. Ben and Iqbal bowled very well in patnerships managing to keep the runs down. Randy-Petes were tracking towards a total below 200, however some fine power hitting from one of their youngsters threatened to build a total far greater than that.
Fortunately Sam Watts couldn't put a foot wrong at the death and managed to pick up more wickets and keep the runs down. Sam ended up with a 5 for and deservedly so.
Gordon were set a total of 212 and with our recent run of things we thought 212 could be a competitive total. However all of us were wrong.
Sam Watts sets his side up for the win
212 was far too little for the class of Gordons top 3 (as that’s all it took). Mitch Kleem was clearly excited about his recent texts from a new friend he made in the Philippines. She/He would be very proud as he smoked his way to 41 and laid an excellent platform. Unfortunately whilst thinking about the photo “they” sent, Stan took a run that was a bit too risky and he was run out.
The fall of wicket bought Saahil to the crease. The pair capitalised on the great start and took the game away from the opposition. Both played some excellent shots and made it look far too easy.
Stan and Saahil batted till the end and scored 75* and 68*. It was a wonderful all round performance. Let’s take this momentum to the next match and see where the season takes us!
Having experienced a less than desirable start to 2015 against the Bears, 4th Grade travelled to the prestigious surrounds of St. Paul’s College ‘within the University of Sydney’ looking to regain lost ground on the top half of the table.
The author, Stan Gaynor, follows up from Mitch's explosive start
Unfortunately the team was faced an uphill battle before a coin was tossed, with the college oval proving a tricky final destination for some lost stags, leaving many driving or walking within the labyrinth that is the University campus. This proved to be a good thing for those who did allow time for transit, as the side was greeted with possibly the smallest change rooms imaginable.
Surely some money could have been spared on the brand new Australian Institute of Nanoscience being built next to the ground to allow for more than 7 people to have a seat in the rooms. For those not quick enough to secure seating, floor space next to the urinal and the heating unit would have to suffice.
It was not all bad news however, with Gordon actually winning the toss (shock me) and getting another chance to bat first. Few if any had played at the ground before, so we set off with nothing but the advice of the accommodating Uni captain; ‘It stays a little low’. Thanks mate.
Having being bundled out for 100 the week before, you would not be surprised if we started cautiously, however Mitch Kleem had other ideas, and the score began to tick over nicely from numerous wides and several sparkling Kleem cover drives. The Uni captain then introduced himself, and after the score had passed 0/40 he had Mitch adjudged caught behind for 21.
Saahil and Stan then dug in, looking to keep wickets in hand for later in the innings and not be drawn into any stupid dismissals like the week before. We went to drinks one down with the score past 70. Following drinks Stan departed after being trapped in front. Corbin Edgar then joined Saahil and the two continued to work the ball around nicely.
While not scoring at a high rate we were confident that if we kept wickets in hand we had a strong middle-lower order capable of getting quick runs later on. Unfortunately, wickets fell at regular intervals of around 20-25 runs, and although some clean hitting from Edgar, Strauss, and Lin helped the total keep moving we never really put enough pressure on the Uni bowlers, who were backed up by a solid fielding side.
Tim Ferrero, on debut, and Sam Watts both batted patiently to ensure that we batted until the 50th over, which allowed those watching to see Michael Strauss have his first run in with Australian wildlife, apparently a spider resembling a tarantula had creeped up on him on the hill.
Corbin Edgar join Turki to consolidate in the middle
Ben Leighton, cap on as always, was the standout at the end with a composed 23* which included excellent running between the wickets. Gordon all out 186 in the 50th. It was a telling figure that pretty much every batsman got into double figures but no one carried on past the 20’s.
Following lunch at Ralph’s café, the Stags trudged back past several more magnificent University buildings, one with a water fountain, only to end up back in the changeroom with seven seats.
Keane and Watts started the innings with the new rock, with the uni openers starting steadily before Keane bowled the former first grader Crowley. The bowlers continued to work hard but the Uni batsmen were able to find a steady stream of singles and twos around the ground.
Watts and Ferrero did well to contain the runs with their medium pacers, and it was good to see Tim get a wicket on debut. Our three leg spinners in Iqbal, Ben Leighton and Corbin Edgar also bowled well without much reward and eventually the students passed the total in the 42nd over 5 wickets down, including one of the most suicidal run outs being gifted to Ferrero.
All up an improvement on last week but as a batting unit we need to continue to apply ourselves better in setting a competitive total.
After a sub-par performance prior to the Christmas break, the 4th Grade side headed into the New Year optimistic of every cricket team’s fortunes….. A WINNING STREAK!
Sitting mid table, the match against North Sydney beckoned to be a must win! Shayne Lin’s side was once again challenged by a few changes to the starting XI.
Stan Gaynor's trademark glide through backward point has always been successful
Corbin Edgar, Michael Roberts, Dave Monaghan playing for the first time in 4ths, whilst the googly Iqbal Ahmed returned from injury. With an in depth batting line up, the team epitomised the match upon their batting strength.
For the 7th time this season, Captain Lin lost the toss and North Sydney sent Gordon in to bat. Whilst rumours throughout the week led the team to believe that batting was going to be a dying art. Openers Stan Gaynor and Mitch Kleem ridiculed the rumours after posting 50 runs off the first 5 overs, not to mention half of those runs were granted from a 15 ball over!
At a run rate of 10.0 an over , the Killara Pavilion settled into their regular pre-bat rituals. Tjaard Tait in his undies even though he was due to bat at 4 and Captain Lin shirtless as always. You would’ve thought that the Gordon side were cruising early in the innings, however as we all know from a lifetime of cricket, only one ball can change the entirety of a match.
After this photo of Mitch Kleem, there weren't too many more of the batsmen
Openers Gaynor and Kleem fell within minutes of each other and with the score at 2 for 60, the Stags were still in command of the match. In an unexpected twist, Gordon lost 7 wickets in a matter of 11 overs. A combination of poor stroke play and inability to adjust to an inconsistent Killara Pitch ultimately led to the downfall in the Gordon innings.
Michael Roberts and Corbin Edgar looked threatening during their time at the crease, however the Gordon innings tumbled for consecutive innings this season. The top scorers belonged to the innings extras, accumulating half of the Gordon total of 107 all out.
A quick turn around and the Gordon side hit the humidity of Killara Oval. Matt Keane and Dave Monaghan (2/39) were lively in their opening spells, creating havoc for the opening pair. Shayne Lin and the cordon looked certain to snare a few behind the wicket, as the openers played and missed more than enough times.
Monaghan (LBW) struck for Gordon’s first wicket with the score on 10, to enlighten the chances of a strong bowling performance. However, with a small target to reach, North Sydney went on the attack and scored with intent and purpose in their attempt to win with a bonus point.
Iqbal Ahmed claimed two wickets in a spell that produced turn, kick and bounce. A fine effort from the man as he returned to the bowling arena after his time away. North Sydney ended the match 3 for 108 in the 24th over.
Once again, the Gordon side faces an uphill battle in need of multiple wins. Next week’s match against the students could ultimately dictate whether finals will be played for the fourth grade side this season. With plenty of potential, the boys need to soar above the oppositions in rounds to come.
With most of the boys turning up to Asquith park for the earlier start, a couple of the boys decided that they would follow their GPS and prefer to play a game of under 10s down the road.
Once the remainder arrived, the toss was completed and for the first time this year Shayne was able to guess correctly and decided to have a bat.
Saahil Turki provides a anchor role in an innings that never really got going
We did not get off to a good start, losing 3/30, with the majority of these runs coming from wides. This brought Saahil Turki and Matt Chamberlein together who first prevented the fall of another wicket and then began to progress the score with ease.
They were able to combine for a 100+ run partnership before Matt was dismissed for 30. This lead to a steady fall of wickets before we were able to get to 8/174 with Saahil ending up on 66 and total extras of 39.
We thought this was going to be a competitive score but the loss of Tim Fulton 3 balls into the first over the innings was always going to make this a struggle being a bowler down. However we were able to bowl well in the first 20 overs limiting runs but were unable to take all the chances they offered with the score at 2/50.
As the pitch became even flatter the bowlers were unable to break the partnership that was forming. As the two batsmen became more set they became more attacking but still only provided minimal chance. When we finally took the third wicket with them needing only 4 runs with 2.4 overs remaining, there was little mutters of “Ive seen stranger things happen on a cricket field”, but they were soon squashed with the next ball going for 4.
The 3 wickets shared between Tjaard Tait with 2/44 and Crofts 1/21.
Thanks must also go to Mr Crofts who assisted in the field to replace Tim.
The final result was disappointing leading into the Christmas break, but it provides more motivation to get a roll on post Christmas.
The fellas rocked up to Fairfield Park at 11:15, as per Shayne’s request. Nice. There was talk of a green pitch in the change rooms, it looked like we wanted to bowl. After having lost the toss (for a change, Shayne 0 & 4 for the season) we were bowling.
Shayne 'Rin' Lin whips off the bails t0 give 'Lez' another pole
The opening spell set the scene for the rest of the innings, Rob Barker appeared to be bowling grenades, the Lions opening bats couldn’t get him away leading to the first wicket, a quality, Knox boy, run out from Ben ‘Lez’ Leighton. Shortly there after with poles to Rob and yours truly the Lions were 3 for not many. The Stags were looking the goods.
As we continued to mount the pressure the wickets continued to tumble. After the opening onslaught followed up with strong support from Sam Watts, Lez bagged a magnificent 6 wickets haul. He bowled every ball in his repertoire, bamboozling the batsmen at will. The Lions were all out shortly after tea for 133.
The boys congratulate 'Lez' on his wickets
Mitch and Stan set about taming their attack, a solid partnership was brewing. With the score on 53, the mood in the change rooms was confident. But a mix up lead to a run out and an LBW shortly after had both openers enjoying our company for the rest of the afternoon.
However, the strong opening partnership had wore the bowling down and set us a strong platform for the remainder of the chase. Nick Fagan and Aaron “Hair clip” or “Chesty” Crofts took us to stumps.
In the car on the way to the ground for Day 2, ‘Ronny’ Crofts informed me that “today I will be wearing a hairclip” when he bats. After my complete, understandably, shock, horror and banter, he explained that his hair “was too long”, with embarrassed panic in his voice.
And here is 'Lez' Leighton in action against the Lions
Good thing his hair wasn’t in his eyes, because he copped a good nut first ball of the day and was out, caught, with nothing to blame.
JOF was with us almost as quickly as his off peg cartwheeled half way to the boundary. Was there an all too familiar 4th Grade collapse pending? Sort of.
We had stumbled to 5/80 as Nick was dismissed after lasting out several early overs. Shayne went out, and well, he smashed them around a bit for 26 before his stumps were rattled. As Adrian, Rob and Sam all accelerated us past the total we soon declared with a lead of 97 (first team red ink for the season).
As the Lions stumbled to 5/38 thanks to some great bowling from Rob and Sam, we figured we were in with a shot of an outright.
Sam Watts accelerates the score towards the end and gives the boys a chance at outright points
But after a rare Lez full toss, leading to a replacement ball being required, some of the sting went out of our ascendency, the new ball must have been a leftover ball from 1st Grade as it didn’t move the same as the initial ball.
The Lions batted on reaching 6/117, with the close of play approaching stumps were pulled.
A well earned win to the Stags, rutting beauty!
With another Saturday comes another game of cricket and the Gordon 4th Grade side travelled to Graham Reserve to do battle against the Waratahs for the Mal Hall Trophy. Some new faces to the team and some returning one, confidence was high, so was the temperature and the slope of the pitch. All hopes were on Shayne winning his first toss of the season and batting. Unfortunately, Shayne shattered our hopes, lost the toss and we were bowling.
Some good bowling from Harry Middlebrook and myself saw a slow start from Manly with few runs being scored from proper cricket shots. With the no wickets falling, Shayne brought Iqbal on to bowl. The reason that most fast bowlers hate spinners is because they seem to get wickets fairly often from crap balls and the first wicket for the Stags came from such an occurrence.
Harry Middlebrook bowled well to keep the runs down early
A short ball from Iqqy saw the batsmen rock back and smash it only to be out to what was described by Stan as “probably the best catch he has ever seen” as yours truly dived spectacularly to his right and snared it with one hand.
After this, another wicket from Iqqy and 2 from Will saw Manly 4 for not many. More good bowling followed for not many wickets as on batsman form Manly slowly made his way to 100. An inspired bowling change by Shayne to bring Aaron “Chesty” Crofts saw a wicket on his second ball as he “bowled one back up the hill”.
Tea was taken and after a good motivational speech from Shayne we went back out to get the last 5 wickets quickly.That unfortunately didn’t happen. The bowling was good but some dropped chances and some occasional slack fielding saw the number 3 for Manly make 100 and for 3 batsmen in the lower order to make 20’s.
Iqbal Qasim (Iqqy) took 3 wickets
After some more good bowling Aaron was able to take 2 more wickets as he continued to send the ball “back up the hill” and I was able to dismiss the number 3 after he had made his hundred.
Iqqy took another as he played with the batsman until he got his desired stumping. As the day drew to a close and the batsmen weren’t scoring runs Manly declared 9-260 and sent us in for 2 overs of batting. Mitch and Stan diligently faced those 2 overs without a hitch and we left to hopefully come back and win this game.
As we rocked up for the second week, the pre-game catch up consisted of Ben “Boogie Board” Leighton’s week, Shayne “getting use to this Tinder” Lin’s female meet ups and thanking Shayne for losing the toss as the day was hot. Warm up was good and confidence was high as we started the run chase.
Mitch and Stan continued their good batting and had a 50 run opening stance before Stan was dismissed for 28. Mitch continued to bat well and stayed at the crease as 3 more wickets fell before he was dismissed for 66, which was probably the only positive to come out of our batting performance. Now at 5-121 the storm hit and we were off the field for an hour after some lightning and thunder decided to halt our game.
Mitch Kleem batted well for 66
When we went back out on the field, the hard work that Mitch and Stan had put in at the start of the day became useless as we allowed for 2 spinners to get into a rhythm and with our terrible batting performance we were all out for 145. After a stern talking to from Shayne we left with our heads down and determined to never let that sort game ever occur again. Unfortunately, the Mal Hall Trophy had to go to Manly, the first time have won it since the inclusion of the award.
Let’s work hard boys to win our next game and not stuff it up like we did this round.
The Stags 4th best side arrived at Killara to take on the Saints on the back of a comprehensive victory against the Whales in round 1. The pre-match chat revolved around the chance to get a good indication of exactly where we stand against an undoubtedly strong side in St George, and Shayne’s Friday night Tinder date. The latter was a relatively short conversation. No signature moves.
Harry Middlebrook captured 2 wickets for 86 on a tough day for the bowlers
It was shaping to be a brilliant day for cricket.... if you were batting. A flat, hard Killara track with possibly the world’s smallest boundary on one side, 30+ degrees, an outfield resembling the surface of the moon in parts and a resident film crew which was there undoubtedly to capture all the action. Sure enough the skipper lost the toss and we were fielding. Our illustrious captain is now 0 from 2, and memories of the legendary Ed Howitt’s season of (a mathematically) almost impossible 0 from 13 a few years ago came drifting back. That’s a one in 8192 chance. Let’s hope Shayne doesn’t emulate and starts calling correctly.
It was a day in the field that had almost everything. At 30+ degrees by the start of play we knew we would need to execute our plans precisely and consistently to avoid a long day and ensure Iqbal wouldn’t require copious amounts of Savlon cream come stumps.
However, our new ball bowling was wayward at best and the scoreboard was ticking over at more than 6 an over. 1-100 off 15. Then there was the smoke rolling in from back-burning in Ku-Ring-Gai National Park. Things were looking ominous. Then the first swarm of bees arrived, punctuated by the voice of the People’s Terrorist “Ah, we have some bees. I think we should get down’. The sight of men falling to the ground in fear of anaphylaxis was a common one through the rest of the afternoon.
The skipper decided to change things up with the introduction of Harry Middlebrook from the northern end. Charging in through the smoke and the bees, the world’s biggest ATAR candidate drew a half chance from his first delivery, a thickish edge through point for a comfortable 3 to the long boundary.
Aaron Crofts scored a fine 70
With the throw safely back to the keeper, skipper Lin, Shayne decided it musn’t have been a comfortable 3 and fired a throw at the bowlers stumps. Well, more like he fired a throw at deep long off, as the ball flew away from the voluminous Middlebrook and the disengaged mid-on and mid-off. They really should have been backing-up.
A 7 to start the over and an economy rate of 42 from ball 1. Things didn’t improve much in the next Middlebrook over, as 4 overthrows eventuated again, this time to gift a 5. I don’t remember who that was. Probably Shayne.
A difficult afternoon highlighted only by a post tea spell from Harry Middlebrook (2/86) and the guile of Iqbal Ahmed’s legspin, finishing with 1-30 of 13. Iqqy bowled beautifully, and for the majority of the time at two left-handers who were well and truly set at the crease. Things may have been different if he had a crack at a right-hander or a new batsman, but we simply couldn’t remove the top order. One bloke finished 160 not and Saints had amassed 6-366 by the end of a day.
Despite some rain around early in the week, day two saw another flat hard track and similar conditions from week 1, only 10 degrees cooler and the notable absence of the bees. A great day for a run-chase. The Stags started cautiously and after 15 overs were 2-45, having disastrously lost a composed looking Tom Carruthers and the run scorer from the previous week, Sahill Turki to rare bad balls down the leg-side.
Stan Gaynor, along with Tom Carruthers and captain Shayne Lin, batted out the last 27 overs
Run chases are always interesting, not least of all because you get the chance to get to know your team-mates a little. This process can result in life-long friendships over the years. With some new faces to the author in the 4th best side, I started to find out a little about some of the younger teammates.
Take Aaron Crofts for example. I learnt he likes swimming. I learnt he likes taking selfies and sending them to his mates.
Then there’s young Matt Keevers. A good kid, emerging as a quality quick bowler. Having played with Keevers for the majority of last year, I also learnt he likes to be an informant.
Exhibit 1 - Aaron Crofts and his swimming / snapchat exploits
Most noticeably, he likes to keep me informed of the certain individuals going about their day around the various cricket grounds we visit. Particularly if they’re female. Quite coincidentally, he also informed me of something via the great social network this morning, just as I’d made my flat white and began penning this report. This time it involved, once again, the one and only Aaron Crofts. This picture may well be shared only on our Facebook page.
Along with learning of his affiliation for social media, we learnt the kid can bat. Aaron was the only one to provide any resistance in the run chase, compiling a quality and dominating 70 whilst others fell around him.
To sum up our first attempt at the run chase, I’m going to quote Catts. His simple message from the motivational pre-season launch of ‘Don’t f@#k it up’ was blatantly ignored on this occasion as we slumped to 6-64, losing 3 wickets in an over to the wily medium pace of St George veteran Wark.
Catts, always the inspirational motivator, could still provide some solace in quipping ‘Well, at least we’ll get to bat twice”. Brilliant stuff Catts.
And he was right. Despite some resistance form that man Ahmed, whose 38 was likened to an innings of Mark Waugh more than once, we capitulated to be all out for a modest 157.
With 27 overs remaining in the day, Saints (possibly justifiably based on recent events) thought there was the chance of an outright and invited us to bat again, the full 27 overs negotiated by Carruthers, Stan Gaynor and a (self) promoted Shayne Lin to see us 1-81 at the close. If only those numbers were involved on the first attempt.
1 win from 2, 6 points and middle of the table. This team is much better than that, if we consistently get things right. The Mal Hall trophy and another 6 points up for grabs against Manly this week.
I’m off for a swim.
JOF (John O'Neill Fuller)