One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs OBC, Elmwood, Presidents, 2nd February 2013
Damn, I should have played this match, everyone who played it deserved some credit for the win, and a bit of reflected glory would have been nice. But the omens didn't appear good beforehand; OBC had scored 300 plus in their previous match, they were first equal in the competition whilst we were a lowly 7th (inappropriately, but deservedly of if that make sense?), and we were playing on their own ground at Elmwood on a useful pitch, and on a particularly unforgiving outfield and boundaries at this time of the year. And initially the bookies had it right, OBC trashed us all over the park with 37 off the first three, and nearly 50 of the first five.
Although Kev rightfully won the Man of the Match in this game, as batting is unquestionably our archives heel this season, he would be the first to agree with what changed this match, and it happened early into it. It may have been coming up nearly 20 years since Michael Owens last played for NZ (something the Black Caps used to be called), but he has lost none of his menace. OBC's batting isn't a one man band, it's a two man one, and Kevin Scott and Tim McConnell had taken us apart last season on an equally good wicket on Syd 1 when we were at full bowling strength. Truth is, such situations always require something extra, either a bigger spinner or swinger/cutter of the ball, or an extra yard of pace, Millie took both of them out in his first three overs with the latter, and later came back to orchestrate the dismissal of top scorer Hampton in his second spell to finish with 3/24 off 7, the outstanding bowling performance of the day. But it must be admitted now, that Tim McConnell's demise was assisted by confidential late week information gleamed from sources in the UK who shall remain nameless.
So with Micheal leading the recovery, the bowlers did a great job to restrict the batting effort by strangling the middle order, and ending up with a modest 195 target when 250 plus was really required, and 300 was looking a distinct possibility during the first 10 overs. But I say modest, we hadn't scored over 200 all season, and certainly hadn't displayed an ability to time a run chase - that changed this game, in fact it was the perfect run chase.
There is no more enjoyable party to the game of cricket than sitting back under the trees on a 29 degree cloudless day watching your openers and first drop doing the job. Kev Moore (79) and Spency (23) put on 93 for the first wicket at above the required rate, and at the drinks break we were well set. Although Spency fell in the first over after that, Matt's short cameo 28 boosted the run rate further, and then under the experienced guidance of Geoff Miller (16*), Yogi played his best innings since arrival in NZ with four sixes amongst his 46* to take us to a win with four overs and seven wickets to spare.
This was Kev's third 70 this season, his second in successive weeks, and one where he will feel disappointed not to have coasted to the hundred that he so richly deserved. But there is something different about Kev this year, something similar to what I noticed about Thinny when he really discovered his game last season. Kev has refined his to something that truly takes full responsibility as our key batsman, that works more consistently, and that now mixes controlled boundaries with a series of crafted ones and two's taken when he has pushed the field back - it continues to be impressive.
So a really enjoyable game played in good spirits with some nice words said by both sides back at OBC's "Bowls Club" afterwards. And that's the way we'd like the rest of the season to go, good fun, but being an annoying spoiler in this competition, and getting well set for next season.
Check out the scorecard from the game.