One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs BWU Foxes, Polo Grounds, Presidents, 8th March 2014
Rain is never a good thing for cricket, but for Wildy, the cancellation of his school camp trip, and therefore his sudden availability for cricket, created some history in his cricket career today.
With two teams jointly in second place and looking to go clear, this should have been a competition, fortunately it wasn't. Exactly why it wasn't is harder to identify, was it the superb bowling performance that restricted BWU to 193 on an artificial, or our equally superb opening batting partnership that made a mockery of that total? No doubt it was a fair bit of both.
This was a bit of history in itself, all four Presidents matches been played on the artificials at the Polo grounds in Hagley park thanks to the CMCs determination to make sure that cricket was still played. But the other surprising aspect of the start of the match was that Ralphy, having won his first toss of the season the previous week, reverted to negotiating with the opposition this week as to what each would do first in this match - as it turned out , with a competitive total still a bit of a mystery to most of us new to artificials, seeing what the opposition did first with the bat seemed to be a sensible approach - and that was probably where BWU lost the match, an innings that never seemed energised enough to make more than 200 was one that was under-estimating the batting conditions.
So anything under five an over was likely to be a very good individual bowling performance, and most did that, but the man who made sure of the task was Ken Julian. Ken's limited availability tends to make him only available for the really big matches, and his 2/13 off eight in this one was match winning in the context of the conditions - even a man who violently hates seeing any run scored off his bowling might agree that the 13 passed the acceptable test in any conditions, especially these ones. He was well supported by all, with Yogi the next best with 2/25 from his five. Some other aspect of the bowling was interesting - Cricket is a game where you never stop learning and skippers are often the fountain of a lot of that learning, so it is to with our Ralphy. His team briefing before the BWU innings was full of "I've played of cricket on alot of artificial tracks and the one thing you can't afford to do is bowl short. If anyone bowls short on here I'll be taking him off". So as part of further that lesson Ralphy then proceeded to take the ball, bowled his first delivery, and his fielder fetched it from over the mid wicket boundary. And to prove that point over and over again, he had the mid wicket and point boundary riders in the action - lesson learnt Ralphy, we get it.
The bowling was marred by Matt's ankle injury at the end of his first over when he turned it on the edge of the artificial - a key batsmen in the context of the season would struggle to bat in this important match - as it turned out, he probably wouldn't have got to bat anyway as this was to be the Wildy and Laughts show. Their 151 at fives was their third 100 plus opening partnership since Christmas and ensured that their team mates never felt threatened in the run chase. This was a typical effort from the two of them, caution in the initial overs to anything on target, then as the innings proceeded, unforgiving to anything that wasn't, including a fair bit by then that was. It eventually became obvious that it was a competition to a century but there was only enough runs available for one - as the recognised batsman Laughts did the decent thing for his ex-bowler partner mate who's career hadn't been dominated by hundreds, when sacrificed himself for 71 to ensure his partner got there (and anyone who believes that just does not know how much these two compete against each other, let alone the opposition).
So Wildy carried onto his inevitable first century for Presidents (something his partner has not yet achieved) as we finished the match only one down, and now in clear second place. A match in which the BWU skipper, a good man in "Crash Robbo Robertson", described as he came off the field as a "bend over, spread your cheeks, good f@&king". For BWU it was a recognition that their score was never enough in the conditions, and once Widy and Laughts got set, it made any team look inadequate, even a good one like BWU who have had two very strong performance years.
The likely bye next week comes with great timing, it allows Laughts two weeks to figure out how to get on top of one of the most intense competitions there is, one against your team mate.
Man of the Match: Anthony Wild (again, didn't Marist ever realise this man can bat?)
Check out the scorecard from the game.