One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs Sumner, Barnett #2, Presidents, 11th February 2012
There are always doubters, guys in the team who you can tell think the game has become increasing a lost cause - but not this captain who has always rated his lower middle order! Despite his superb PR skills regarding his batting ability, I have long recognized that Dave Fleming can indeed bat. However, I grew up with the other three, knowing for sure that Ewan Spence, Billy Nicholson, and Stu Simpson certainly could - these four won us this particular match.
We seem destined to have exciting games against Sumner this season - we escaped with a tie against them in a at times heated game before Christmas, and managed to seek a last over win in this game. But it certainly was never comfortable.
We finally managed to win a toss, and elected to bowl. But it was not a defining point in the match as it would have been in others this year. The pitch was dry, having avoided the rain in other parts of town, and despite it being green and uneven in bounce, that discomfort persisted throughout both innings. Pick of the bowlers, as he was in the first game against Sumner, was Stu Simpson. But he wasn't alone, Flem bowled as well as he has this season, Jules bowled tightly and probably didn't get the rewards he deserved, and Bill Nicholson swapped his normal miserly RPO for more wickets (3). Ralphie Winder was again both sharp and on the spot, and is increasingly becoming our "go to" guy in the bowling team. But Sumner actually batted well - without the services of their three top run scorers in our last match, their 168/6 was competitive in terms of the pitch, but probably a few runs short in terms of a fast outfield and a very short southern boundary.
And that score looked a lot better again when they removed in-form batsman Kev Moore and Thinny in short order which quickly had us two down for nothing within 15 minutes. Kevin C and Ralphie lasted only a little longer and then the doubters started to question the result, especially at 71/7. But Ewan Spence has played alot of cricket in the middle order and has been in this situation many times in the past. He is perhaps better than any cricketer I've played with in knowing how to play appropriately depending upon the match situation, something I most admire in a cricketer. In a controlled no risk manner, he proceeded to close the gap to a more manageable level to give us a chance in the game, but when he was out for an excellent 48 (well deserving of a 50), there was still a lot of work to do. Flem continued on with the job with Billy Nic, and together, playing some intelligent cricket, and with excellent running that seemed to threaten Bill's ongoing health, they took us finally into a favorites position by the last few overs. Then, when controversially (in his mind anyway) Flem failed to convince Bill that a suicidal short single would assist the cause, and left for 34, he also left Stu to complete the formalities with Bill (an invaluable 25*) to take the win.
We needed that win for our confidence after a dreadful performance against East's in the previous game.. But Sumner had some reason to feel disappointed with the result, as they were in the game for most of it, but our middle order experience undoubtedly made the difference in the game.
Man of the match was a toss up between Spency and Billy Nic, with a strong supporting act from Flem. The all-round performance gave the honour to Bill, but with Bill the first to recognize that Spencey's innings had given him the chance to shine.
Check out the scorecard from the game.