Already a lot has been made of this season's "court". This ensured urgency around the arrival time at AB. A late protest from Tym Crawford placed Daniel "The Hound" Smith on report for a possible grade two late barrier entry. Hound has no carry over points from last season’s judiciary, however it has been confirmed, Hound and another member of the Gordon Club were involved in the incident.Upon review, the incident has been downgraded to a grade one, given that it was not a dangerous attempt. However the review panel will make its final decision at the conclusion of round 1.
Allan Border Oval is a sensational venue to play cricket at. Given that it was the first round, AB was not up to its usual picturesque quality with a sandy outfield. The square is desperately trying to regrow and the wicket appeared flat and lifeless upon inspection. It was. Our captain, Harry Evans chose to bat and the intentions were laid from the outset, bat 96 overs.
Reece Bombas attacks the bowling at Allan Border
The Club Coach Ed Howitt is a new addition to 1st grade games. Handling the warm up and 1st session this season, Edward put his stamp on proceedings by testing everyone’s knowledge of the alphabet. Some passed. See you in court B for Bombas. It's hard to compare the warm up to last season’s visit to AB. Look both were very different, but I have to say watching Poysden get an actual egg on his face was special. See you soon Mulcher.
Looking back on the day, out of the three sessions, the first was our poorest. At lunch we finished at 4/65. Cam Eccles and Harry Evans contributed the majority of runs throughout the session. As predicted the wicket was slow and Cam played close attention to playing the ball late. Harry looked in good touch with some excellent cover drives and turning the ball to the leg side when the bowling drifted. We looked certain to go one down into lunch. "Nek minute" Reece Bombas found himself facing a Jason Krejza hat trick ball. Our new number 4 Steve Colley and Reece Bombas took the stags to lunch and it was time to regroup.
With some help of the captain and the number 4, a plan was decided upon in the changing room. Can I say, it was great to watch it get executed. Bombas started the session with the intent to score against the Mosman spin attack. The rest of the guys know just how good Reece can be, especially if you bowl spin in the Chatswood nets. Finally, to see Reece believe it last Saturday was worthwhile.
Steve Colley in action at AB
Obviously his partner in crime, Steve "Buckets" Colley played a larger role than just ticking the scoreboard over. Perhaps Steve has found his new home. Steve and Reece batted the entire middle session, 2 strong hours of a stag fightback, I was so proud of those two guys, digging in when we were in trouble. They added 170 runs for the 5th wicket partnership. An outstanding effort, when at times proving hard to score with the straight bowling and fields set.
It would have been great to see one of the guys go on with their innings, they certainly deserved it. Then a collapse saw Mosman back in the day. It certainly felt we were behind with the score around 8/240 with plenty of overs remaining in the day. Then Tym Crawford took control. An excellent display of clean hitting and again self-belief. Tym put the Mosman attack under pressure when he dispatched balls to the fence. Finishing with 4 sixes, it was the innings the stags needed. Special mention must go to JK and Anand Verma for the fantastic support roles. They did more than hold up an end, its all about contribution and both exceeded everyone’s expectation, well apart from the Mosman wicketkeeper Ash Doolan who thought Anand should bat 3.
Plenty of positives to take away from the day, however, it really means nothing if we don't turn up next week with the same intent. Yeah look 333 is a terrific score although if we got it so can Mosman. They have some dangerous players in the middle order and the stags should be on notice, we need to bowl and field well.
Tym Crawford set AB alight on Saturday
I would finally like to thank Mark O'Neill for the work he has put in with the batters over the pre season period. You could count the number of times the stags scored 300 last season on 2 or 3 fingers. It was noticeable how high (sometimes extremely high) elbows were so on behalf of the player’s thank you Voldermort. Your dark magic is always welcome.