One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs East Shirley Blue, Burwood Park #2, Presidents, 18th January 2014
The sight of the East opener being dismissed on Burwood 2, walking to the boundary, and then right off across Burwood 1 where he sat for the next 20 minutes, pads still on, head in hands, probably tells the tale about this game, if you were one of the batsman who missed out today you really did need to find a rope and an appropriate tree, such were the batting conditions. One look at those conditions at Burwood 2 screamed bat first; a flat hard track, a lightening fast browned off outfield and short boundaries, and an East side who's strengthens are more in their batting than in their bowling. As luck would have it, with a new Captain for the day, and hence our first toss won by the captain this year, and batting first
Truth is, ever since Garry Hooper, bowler, and the late Greg Curtain, keeper, sharked me out twice caught behind off the top of the flap in successive innings at Ilam 3 in 1987 (its the one Bert doesn't need to remind me of), I've never been a big Marist fan.....but I'm mellowing on that - in hindsight those two were mercenaries, whereas Laughts and Wildy are true blue Marist men, and they were the ones instrumental in us winning this game. When Wildy was dismissed for an aggressive 73, our first wicket fell at 146 inside 20 overs, and with us by then in a commanding position such was the run rate that he and Laughts had maintained. Unfortunately Easts bowled far too short to those two strong back foot players in those early overs, and they paid the price.
When Laughts was also finally out for 90, and unjustly deprived of the century that he so well deserved, the middle order's contribution was mainly in ensuring that they didn't mess around for too long and deprive Geoff and Flem of time to cultivate their own partnership. Unfortunately for Easts, having seen the error of their ways in bowling too short to Laughts and Wildy, they managed to get their length too full to two very strong front foot players in Geoff and Flem, and they paid the price. Their 87 run partnership at the other end of the innings really finished off the innings, particularly the 27 that Flem took off the final over of their opening bowler Rose. It was great to see Geoff (58*) back refreshed from holiday and back on top of his form, and Flem (51*) again proving where he is best placed in the order as a innings saver, of an innings finisher, in the lower middle order.
A 307 run chase was always going to be too much for any side against our attack, so the result was realistically never in doubt, it was just a matter of who did the job. Turns out, although the stats were evenly spread, Matt was the one who starred with the ball. With seven out of eight balls that he bowled beating the outside edge of the bat, he was literally unplayable by that was presented for him to bowl at, and so his figures of 2/13 off eight even unstated the dominance that he held over the Easts batsmen. The others bowled well with Jeremy likewise repeatedly beating the bat but without Matt's economy rate.The fielding was up and down, a couple dropped but also a catch of the season contender in Laught's diving left handed catch at mid-wicket off Matt that resulted in the East's batsman's 20 minutes in purgatory. Ferg's sharp, but matter of fact casual take at third slip also worthy of mention..
So by about the mid-20's overs, with the growing easterly starting to bite, the only concern was in hurrying the game to its conclusion, and the resulting part time speed up overs bought the game to a rapid conclusion at the expense of some irrelevant extra runs that no doubt faltered the East's total somewhat as the game drew to its inevitable conclusion with East's at 239/6.
Man of the Match - not formally nominated on the day, but for me it was Laught's all round performance.
Check out the scorecard from the game.