It was a bitter sweet weekend for Axel Cahlin as he broke the run scoring record in first grade in a season, however watched his team battle to a draw which saw us bow out of the first grade competition.
Axel Cahlin at Old Kings
In the end Axel scored 971 runs in a magnificent season that included 3 centuries as he went past the record of 958 set by Craig Simmons in the 2007/2008 season. For the record Craig scored his runs over 21 innings at an average of 43.55 and also scored three centuries, two of which were in the finals. Interestingly Axel also batted 21 times during the season however finished with the excellent average of 51.10.
Axel was the third youngest debutant for first grade in the 2015/16 season behind the legendary Sid Carroll and Ken Eastwood and also for the record in their first three seasons Sid Carroll scored 1,455 runs and Ken Eastwood 1,191 runs compared with Axel who has now scored 1,584 runs in three seasons which only included 7 matches in his first year.
Axel in action throughout the season
In other results, fortunately our 4th and 5th grade teams made it through to the semis with loses, being able to make it by squeezing into 4th place.
The Colts continued to fly the flag, however with a strong win against Warringah and move into a home semifinal next weekend. Also with the defeat of Penrith we now move into first spot in the semi ratings.
While the first-grade side couldn’t force a win there were two excellent performances in the match with skipper Steve Colley scoring 126 and Tym Crawford 84 in a partnership of 170, just when the team desperately needed them with the score at 4 for 67.
There was also another fine performance from Dillon Amjad in Colts who took 8 wickets for the match with 4 for 27 and 4 for 46.
The first-grade side arrived at Old Kings to find an excellent wicket with the option of bowling and trying to knock over Parramatta and not let them bat out the match or batting and facing a 40-degree day on Sunday in the field. They didn’t get the choice as Parramatta won the toss and elected to bowl first on a wicket that they know would have some early life but flatten out to a road by day 2.
Steve Colley during his 126 on Saturday
While Axel Cahlin and Cam Eccles weathered the initial storm, the Parra bowlers kept at them and actually increased their pace and pressure as the morning continued.
Just as lunch was approaching we found ourselves at 4 for 67 with Steve Colley and Tym Crawford at the crease. As mentioned earlier Axel had scored the 10 runs he needed to break the record, however got a leading edge on 23 and was caught at mid-off.
Steve and Tym then set about recovering the situation with some very patient batting to start and then aggressive as the wicket started to flatten out. This was one of Steve’s best innings with the club as he refused to be tied down and continued to hook and pull the short deliveries that were coming thick and fast. Tym also showed his class by withstanding the short bowling and batting with the power we know he can possess.
Tym Crawford at Old Kings
With the score on 237, Tym was dismissed as he tried to lift the runs rate and get us into a position to give our bowlers a longer chance at their batsman. This was an excellent finish to the season for Tym who contributed a fine 653 runs. Steve followed not long after being dismissed for 126 off 243 deliveries with 11 fours. In the end, Steve finished with 795 runs which is his best year for Gordon.
With runs still needed, the rest of the bats kept the score moving with Ash Doolan finishing with 35. In the end a score of 8 declared for 331 would give us something for our bowlers to work with.
To defeat a team with a strong batting line up on a good wicket and with the prospect of a very hot day ahead, we needed to have our best players firing on all cylinders, but disaster struck with Charlie Stobo breaking down with a leg injury in his second over which meant he was out of the attack for the whole innings.
The next day was simply very difficult for our bowlers as the wicket got even flatter with the heat and the Parramatta batsman, as they had every right to within the rules for finals matches, played for a draw from the beginning.
Matt Junk who toiled long all day
To cut a long, long, long story short, Parra finished the second day on 4 for 230 and as the higher placed side move onto next week with a draw. The same argument comes up every year, that with individual batsman run rates such as 25 runs off 149 balls, 89 off 219 and 77 off 161 are we getting to the point in the modern game that this option is removed. I know the argument is always used that they deserved to go through because of their performance during the year, but often these teams are only separated by very small quotients.
To take absolutely nothing away from Parramatta who had an excellent year and would have beaten us in our round match except for weather intervening, this rule of draws going through in addition to the home ground and wicket preparation advantage makes our game seem very 1970’s when you look at the direction the game is taking toward much more exciting cricket.
Our bowlers did their best in very trying conditions, without their strike bowler, with Scott O’Brien finishing with the best figures of 2 for 68 off 28 overs.
Congratulations to the first grade side for their excellent finish to the season and for their commitment at all times to play in the true spirit of our club.
First Grade Scores
Gordon 8 for 331 (dec) (Steve Colley 126, Tym Crawford 84, Ash Doolan 35) drew with Parramatta 4 for 230 Scott O’Brien 2 for 68)
Luckily, 4s have made it through to the semi final with a loss, thanks to Manly and Northern Districts maintaining their strong runs and knocking out 5th and 6th place. It was however an important wake up call for the stags batsman, who were mostly out to half trackers and full tosses. Not many would be able to blame anyone but themselves for their dismissal.
Haider 31 and Windell 26 provided some resistance but unfortunately weren't able to capitalise on a great start. Ratnam 28, Nehru 16, Keane 12 and an unbeaten Calov were able to drag us to a potentially defendable 155. Not a huge total for a two day, 192 over match, but it was a reasonably long and spongey outfield and we always back our bowlers to get us out of trouble.
Our bowlers did come out ready for a battle with Calov and Keane opening up with great pace. They weren't able to take the wickets but were tight and gave away nothing. It was Windell who quickly imposed himself on the match, taking 2 quick wickets, a bowled and one of the best leg side stumpings you’d ever see by Dash Ratnam. Nehru, Chauhan, New, Haider and Andreou also bowled well, but a true pitch with batsman not pressured to score made it tough to create chances. Windell finished up with 4 for 53 off 18 overs and Haider took 1 for 25 off his 13.
While the team continued to toil and get to a point where we had Wests 5 for 128 and half a chance of pulling off something amazing, their captain settled in, made 50 and guided his team past our total. With a lead of 27 and only 5 wickets down, there weren’t enough overs left in the day for the stags to have a chance to turn things around in a second inning and the match was called just before tea.
A good week of training will hopefully benefit the boys who are keen to make up for below average performances with the bat this weekend. We will play Manly at Graham's Reserve in the semi final.
Liam Windel and Dash Ratnam at Pratten
The bowlers tried hard with Liam Windel taking 4 wickets to keep us in the match but our score was passed with 5 wickets down.
Congratulations to the fourths on getting to the finals, and not giving up at any stage during the season.
Fourth Grade Scores
Gordon 155 (Naba Haider 31, Dash Ratnam 28, Liam Windel 26) were defeated by Western Suburbs 5 for 182 (Liam Windel 4 for 53)
The fifth grade side went into the qualifying final against a team that bowled them out for 74 only two matches ago and with our last 4 scores being 140, 139, 74 and 228 (with the no.7 and no. 9 scoring over 100 of those runs, we faced a similar result to fourth grade if we didn’t score more runs.
Jordan Hayes in action at Chatswood
The toss was won by Sutherland and they decided to bat on a very good Chatswood wicket. Our bowlers continued with their good form and consistently took wickets with aggressive bowling. Dylan Hood, Aaron Crofts and Sam Watts were in the wickets early and then Jordan Hayes came on to rip out the middle order with some excellent off spin bowlers and before long, Sutherland was all out for 120 and the fifths were on their way to victory.
They didn’t factor in however the energy of the Sutherland attack who knew they could get on top of our bats after their performance a few weeks ago.
Dylan Hood and Sam Watts at Chatswood
Wickets just kept falling with Hugh Sherwood the only bat showing resistance and with the score at 5 for 82 at the end of the day we needed to start well to ensure a first innings lead. The Sunday heat however came from the Sutherland bowlers who decimated our lower order to bowl us out for 96.
We then tried to have a second attempt at a victory by bowling out Sutherland again, but the horse had bolted and they finished at 6 for 163 to win convincingly.
We now move to fourth and will face Parramatta next week at Merrylands with only a win good enough to get us through to the final. The team showed great form many times during the year, so they can rebound.
Fifth Grade scores
Sutherland 120 (Jordan Hayes 4 for 27, Sam Watts 3 for 21, Dylan Hood 2 for 22) and 6 for 163 (Rahul Krishna 3 for 41 defeated Gordon 96 (Hugh Sherwood 42 not out)
The colts lost the toss at Beauchamp on Saturday and were asked to bowl on what seemed like a batting friendly deck. The plan for the boys was simple – bowl full and straight and force the Warringah bats to make a mistake.
Prashan Seneviratne and Ayush Joshi opened, hitting some consistently good areas, but the Warringah openers looked in good form before Prashan struck twice to put Gordon comfortably on top in the first session. Wickets fell consistently following the removal of the openers, thanks largely to the partnership between Dillon Amjad and Jay Naganayagam who were rewarded with four and two wickets respectively. After a defensive effort from the tail enders, we were set a small target of 99 to chase down.
Dillon Amjad who took 8 wickets for the match
Riley Behlevanas and Marcus Miller opened with good intent, all but securing the first innings victory for the stags with 31 and 52 respectively. We looked to increase our lead and ensure a second innings comeback wasn’t on the cards with quick scoring from Dillon and Jay, followed up by a measured performance by Ayush. We finished our innings on a respectable 216, giving the Warringah side a decent total to chase before trying to build any sort of lead.
Warringah’s second innings can only be described as frustrating. The mood in the field was flat, and we struggled to maintain a consistent line and length, bowling to the batsmen’s strengths and allowing them to tee off. However, the colts were able to regain control of the match, much with the help of Dillon again taking 4 wickets. Warringah were all out for 172, setting Gordon a run chase of 55.
Riley Behlevanas and Marcus Miller in action for colts
The Stags pulled off the chase in relative comfort, and are looking to build upon this game into the semis. With competition leaders Penrith losing their match, the Stags take up pole position in the comp, which will hopefully come in handy if we win our match this weekend. (colts report courtesy Lachlan Burrows)
Gordon 216 (Marcus Miller 52, Dillon Amjad 34) and 2 for 59 def Warringah 99 (Dillon Amjad 4 for 27, Jay Naganayagam 2 for 18, Prashan Seneviratne 2 for 27) and 172 (Dillon Amjad 4 for 46, Ayush Joshi 2 for 30)