One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs Riccarton 2B, SCG #3, Presidents, 24th November 2012
From the time I first saw him play as a teenager, the thing I've most admired about Sam Martin is his supreme confidence in his ability to impact a match. I say supreme confidence, certainly not arrogance, in fact the words "smiling assassin" spring to mind when I think of Sam. Years later that confidence still shone through from the UK in emails when we discussed his potential return to NZ and Sydenham, but he was no longer the 20's something that I knew nearly 20 years ago, could he still do it ? Dumb question! Sam dominated the first half of this match, sitting on a hat tick in the first over, and finishing with 5/24. In fact Sam's own assessment of what sort of match he is having seems to depend upon what he thinks of the quality of his hat trick ball, because he was twice on one in this match, but didn't quite get there - no hat trick, bad day.
There were other contributors, but they were almost solely confined to the bowlers. The good thing about really good players, and Sam has been one I suspect ever since his mother strapped on his first pair of booties, they tend to raise the level of performance of the others around them. This was Ralphie's best bowling performance of the season - admittedly handicapped by a back injury early in the season, Brenden certainly didn't play second fiddle in the opening attack with Sam, hitting the track hard and repeatedly beating the bat - he was worth way more than his 1/15 suggested. Jase (with no luck from the team catching), Bert and Jules were miserly, and Flem's 2/31 proved that there was no respite when the quicks came off.
A target of 113 ordinarily shouldn't have been an issue, but Riccarton haven't lost a game in 2B this year, and although they were clearly surprised to find themselves under the hammer throughout their innings, they then set out with the ball to show their quality. Having already proved that he likes to do things in lots of two's, Sam opening spell as an umpire saw both openers out for a pair of LBWs between them in the first over, be it both plumb to a couple of sharp in-swinging left armers. The innings never recovered from that opening. Geoff resisted for a while but his 20 ended up comfortably top score as we quickly succumbed for 68. A lower order 16 from Jules had kept the interest for a while, but wickets fell at too regular intervals to see any partnership formed, and the result came well before 5pm.
Whilst they certainly didn't out-bowl our guys, the Riccarton guys bowled superbly, at pace and with control and plenty of movement off an otherwise pretty good wicket. In a nutshell, it was simply a case of a game where their batsmen performed slightly less worse than our own. Still, a good warm up before the competition resumes for us next week, a Saturday where most of us will be praying for some heavy, but isolated, rain in Waipara.
Check out the scorecard from the game.