One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs BWU Foxes, Burnside Park #4, Presidents, 6th December 2014
I'm not sure how he did it, but following yesterday's lose to BWU somehow Jose Mourinho managed to get across to Burnside Park and infiltrate the body of our genteel skipper Ralphy Winder - it was obvious, the terms "lack of effort", "why bother to turn up", "heads dropping" etc were pure Mourinho.
But let's go back. This was a must win game, get through this one, and then a couple of other testers before Christmas, and Christmas could be a real celebration. And as we've come to expect, Ralpy won the toss and elected to bat, probably the right decision at the time but who knows. However, having become so reliant upon good starts we suddenly found ourselves up against it when Laughton, Wild and Borcoski were all gone inside the first eight overs and 22 runs. And then when Kenny went for 11 at 52/4 we really needed someone to step up. Kev Moore and Matt certainly did that - Kev again batted maturely keeping out the good ones knowing that the boundary ball would come, and Matt just batted as he has all season, looking in total charge and warranting boundary riders very early on into his innings. When Kev eventually went for 41 at 99/5, and then Rob quickly second ball thereafter, it was all on Matt. We felt 180-200 would be a good score to defend, and at 154/6 with still seven overs to go, Ralphy looking good, and Matt finally reaching escape velocity up through his always deadly 30-40's, that was a chance - if Matt could just be there at the end we'd have that score. As it turned out Matt fell about then for his season's best 66, and thus the chances of a late overs acceleration, and despite the efforts of the skipper and Ferg, 168 all out was in the end somewhat disappointing, but still in the game, well so we thought anyway.
Burnside then proceeded to bury us. Their two openers Alan and Harding never looked troubled with Harding in particular taking the long handle to us at times to always keep the run rate near five. Worse, when Harding fell at 66, Roy and Allan then just carried on the dominance with the second wicket not falling until less than 30 runs were required and they eventually got there two down with six overs remaining.
So were Mourino's words justified, perhaps, but in truth it just seemed to be more of a case of a total lack of penetration from the bowlers than anything else. Only once this year, the first game against Merivale, have we bowled out a side - our strength in bowling of recent years has not been as evident to date this season. Controversy, this observer would have indeed bowled Flem a bit earlier, and also tried pumping Kev up with steroids and releasing him for 2-3 overs as had been a successful tactic on Burnside a park in the past - something had to be changed. The fielding saw a chance or two missed, but we've had worse days in that regard, no it just seemed an inevitability amongst the players minds about what was going to happen - there was no noticeable lifting of attitude on the field, and some questionable, no one seemingly capable of taking the game by the neck and changing it - that was Mourino's point. Whether it's the captain, the senior playing group, or an individual, all of whom have responsibilities to the side, there was one good lesson to learn from this result - if nothing is changed, your chances are confined to the inevitable..
So a bad day at the office and still too early to suggest that Mourino will be offering free transfers at season's end. But there were some good things to come out of this match, a good recovery from the middle order that hasn't batted a lot of late, Kev continuing his good form, and Matt finally making what we hope will be a season defining move into the bigger score league. But be fair, being contenders, Burnside needed this win perhaps even more than us. And they did turn up to play with Kember's spell of 5/13 ripping the guts out of our top order, who were all in good form, and then their batsman really setting about their task in a professional manner. It was hard to deny the victors the spoils.
Man of the Match: Matty Loose
Check out the scorecard from the game.