One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs ES Blue, Burwood Park #3, Presidents, 22nd March 2014
It's hard not to be totally focused upon an innings that took out the Sydenham Club's individual highest innings of the season (Simon Keen's Prems 169), indeed the highest for many years in my fading recollection, an innings that totalled close to a double century, something that none of even the oldest of the Presidents players have seen before in club cricket - but the truth is, this was a partnership.
The Burwood Park pitches after Christmas have a reputation for high scoring, indeed the same two players had been outstanding there earlier in the season, but what we were served up from them today was historic, not only for them but for those playing and observing on both sides. In winning the toss against Easts Blue we may have suspected that something was again in the offering, but an opening partnership of 305 is more than a little bit special. Anthony Wild and Brendon Laughton have been outstanding this season with four opening partnerships of over 100, of which two (nearly three with the previous 146 against Easts) were above 150. Both again played aggressively but at one point, in the same over when both celebrated milestones, Laughts had a 50, and Wildy his hundred, his second in two weeks.
Although similar in aggression, on this occasion Laught's straight drives and exquisite back foots boundaries forward of point were less regular than Wildy's back and front foot pulls and drives through the leg side. Wildy's hand eye co-ordination is superb with anything slightly mis-hit tending to go for four, and the more regular good connections, for six. When Laughts finally fell for an excellent 110 in the 32nd over with the score at 305, Wildy continued on with the support of Jules, Flem and Spency before finally falling for 193, an innings that comprised 158 in boundaries including eleven sixes and one that we will not forget.
The final score of 372/3 in a presidents game was never going to be surpassed in a run chase by any team, and Easts were under no illusions about that. Nevertheless one aspect of the run chase did frustrate them hugely, the approach taken by one of their openers. That opener, in scoring 36 from over 30 overs when chasing down 372 was something that even the author might find embarrassing to be identified with. At one point East's Premier batsman Nick Cottam, who had done his bit with a quick fire 40 in response, was heard to comment in frustration, "look even Sydenham are doing their bit to make a game of it and give us some runs, see they're even bringing Dave Fleming onto bowl".
With 9.3 runs per over to play with, Ken Julian again anguished over every one of the 3.1 runs per over taken from his bowling during his opening spell of eight overs that conceded just 25. Jeremy Brown can blame the skipper for being initially bowled at the wrong end where that first over effort of near wides and half trackers started to bring back memories of the 18 ball first over he bowled at Bradford Park in Feb against the Buccaneers. However, when moved to the southern end that all changed with his 3/44 adding to the degree of difficulty for Easts. The skipper did get the other part right, he bought himself on near the end and himself cleaned out any last vestige of Easts resistance to finish with 3/10 off 5 overs.
What this game did prove was that, as good as they were, indeed as they still are, OBC's excellent openers in Tim McConnell and Kelvin Scott have now probably been over taken by the Sydenham pair as the most devastating opening partnership in Presidents cricket in recent years. Unfortunately elsewhere, Saints just managed to get out of a hole and get up to beat the Buccaneers and therefore took the title with one game to go. That's a few scraps they got themselves out of over the season and earned them the right to the title...we got out of one or two, just not enough to have done likewise.
Man of the Match: Anthony Wild
Check out the scorecard from the game.