One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs ES Gold, Burwood Park #1, Presidents, 8th December 2013
The good thing about cricket, indeed sport, is that you always learn something new every time that you play the game. In this particular one we learnt that someone who may be older, have grey hair and a long beard, keeps wickets, and unfortunately umpires, isn't necessarily Father Christmas - indeed, this particular individual is more like Scrooge...but let's take this no further, Ralphy will not be pleased.
This was a game we had to win, but didn't. We got one thing right, we imported a specialist coin tosser, and finally got that part right, and then made the decision to bat which was probably the right call on a hard flat track in hot conditions, but execution was lacking. Frankly, we never got started. Laughts was out early to a sharp return catch, and Geoff shortly thereafter, and when Matt and Ken both fell, we were all too quickly 4/71. That was the good times over...we stagnated through the 70's as East strangled us and only Ralphy (24*) and Flem's quick fire 23* towards the end got us through to an outside chance at 122/6. The tragedy of the innings was Kev Moore's dismissal for 31. Kev had been ticking over well, but also was physically struggling until he was literally out on his feet and fired himself out and was quickly taken to hospital as a precaution. The news as I write is good with him being out of hospital, but staying at Macca's place for a night, another risk to one's health in itself, with questionable medication being there.
But the effort in the field was a different story to the batting one. Despite five dropped catches, and East 's getting there six down with three overs to space and never really in a situation to lose it, it was a effort that we all felt proud of. Considering the poor total we were defending, we made a real fight of it, and there were periods in the match when another quick wicket or two would have put East's into a difficult situation. All but one of those five catches were difficult, with the exception being the one to the tall season's newcomer with the red floppy at backward square who missed one that he would normally catch by chesting it down, juggling it on either thigh before slipping it into a pocket. But despite the difficult misses the ground fielding was excellent with Laughts the stand-out. Always energetic and encouraging in the field, he took over that role in Kev Moore's absence ensuring that the required standard was there for all to see, and most responded.
It was hard to pick a bowler of the day as all performed exceptionally - probably I'd go with Jules as it was his best effort by far of the season to date with an outstanding 2/11 off 7 (nicking the dangerous Gibbs out with the third ball of the innings to give us early encouragement), but Matt was certainly as impressive with 2/20 and hard to spell from the crease. And Flem (2/34) and Ken (0/21) again proved that when bowling in tandem no one gets on top of the spin twins. We weren't assisted by some controversial not-outs but these were mainly isolated to one umpire and didn't really sour the match for more than a minute or two.
But Easts are always the benchmark team that we play for good reason, even when we beat them as we had in the previous two matches. The additional of Hooper, McConnell and Booth, following the demise of Sumner, really adds to their team, but it was the old hands like Arthur Daley who remain our nemesis. If there was ever a question as to whether Easts might misjudge the run chance, Arthur as usual allayed those doubts. His quick fire 34 (the top score in the match) towards the end of the Easts innings ensured that the runs required per over never became an issue, and in recognition of the lack of pressure our total had put upon them, Salkeld rightly batted through with him taking zero risks to ensure the East's win..
So revenge for Easts, and a loss for us, but one that suggested that both teams are fairly evenly matched with Easts just having a better day with the bat that sets us up for an exciting return match in late season. Easts remain a bunch of highly competitive individuals but ones we have have always found enjoyable to play against and a match that we always look forward to, as we will again in March - revenge is a two edged sword..
Match of the Match - I don't think that got nominated, but to me, it was Jules.
Check out the scorecard from the game.