1st Grade Report vs Hawkesbury - Round 4
First Grade Report vs the Hawks
Midweek discussion amongst the Stags First XI drew the general consensus that if Hawkesbury away was on the cards at some stage during the season, it was favourable to do the trip to Bensons Lane in the mild climate of October, rather than the searing heat and palpable humidity of January or February. Sure enough' Friday night's weather forecast predicted temperatures up to 35 degrees, and Bensons Lane didn't disappoint with 38 degrees reliably recorded by Mick Falk's in car Thermometer. Not so mild for October, one could argue.
(Jules Stephenson at Owen Earle)
Nonetheless the mood was upbeat as we inspected the wicket in preparation, and skipper Ed Zelma was encouraged by tinges of green and a good covering of grass. As the coin landed 'Cabanossi' Zelma called correctly and decided to offer the Hawks a bat. We knew it could be a tough day ahead, but the bowlers appreciated the confidence shown in them by the skipper and the rest were keen to support in the field.
A short time later whispers of 'Zelma' and 'Genius' were floating around the periphery in the same sentence. Although missing 2 very early chances with the new ball, the Stags had Hawkesbury reeling at 4-27 courtesy of the skipper and his new ball partner Julian Stephenson. The consistent Stephenson had first spell figures of 2 for 1 off six overs, well deserved from his impeccable length.
(Brendan McDonald against Vaugn Williams)
The Stags had a skip in their step. Their season had begun. The ball was rolling. The remainder of the first session saw Hawkesbury skipper Vaughn Williams and Nathan Carrol at the crease. Vaughn seemed eerily watchful, whilst the left handed Carrol opted for attack as the best form of defence, offering some scintillating cricket strokes. The pair safely negotiated the remainder of the session and the stags held a slight advantage at the first break, with the first session a more than entertaining one for cricket lovers.
The lunch interval was almost as entertaining for those in the Stags camp. The standard of the chicken burgers was high, and as a number of us were negotiating our second or third, Julian Stephenson began the lunchtime entertainment, albeit unknowingly. Jules' lunchtime attire consisted of shirt, a medium (at best) sized pair of blue nylon bike pants and white socks.
That's it. Normally, this may be acceptable within the confines of the changerooms, but Jules chose to carry his outfit for all to see. When questioned, Jules response was simple; 'Chafing'. He couldn't have known of the pandora's box he was about to open. BMac was puzzled'. 'What do you mean chafing' Where?' As Jules started to explain the principles of flesh rubbing to produce friction, BMac's bewilderment grew. The man with legs thinner than Tim Packman's arms demonstrated he was unable to produce the necessary conditions.
The focus then changed. Dylan offered insight into the variety of different locations that this phenomenon could occur, and BMac's mind seemed to boggle at the thought of the physics involved. Then the course of the conversation changed once again to treatment. Another member of the Stephenson family became involved, with selector Paul describing his revolutionary tactics in his earlier career of arranging extra large knee guards in problem areas and securing with sticky tape. The younger Stephenson seemed happier with the work of the manufacturers of Curash. All involved decided it was time to give the conversation away when hypotheses regarding the tactics that would be employed by renowned chafer and club coach Howitt started to be discussed.
Back on the field the second session began and the Stags toiled hard for a wicket with the introduction of spinner Casson and brisk bowling changes. The Hawks accumulated runs more freely and soon the pendulum had swung in their favour. Towards the end of the session Vaughn Williams brought up his much deserved hundred and the Hawks went to tea 6 down and in a promising position.
(The Gordon Slips cordon - up close and friendly)
Gordon's mindset was still positive heading into the last session. The wicket had flattened and the injection of leg spinner BMac into the attack would largely prove to be the answer. Having bowled just 7 overs until midway through this final session, Brendan took 2 wickets in successive deliveries inside the final hour, including that of Williams, to reignite the Stags. Dylan Connell chimed in with 2 wickets late in the day and the Hawks had been dismissed in the 95th over for 339.
I know our engine room is more than prepared to chase down this total on the back of the efforts of the bowlers, and launch into a rendition of 'We're proud to be part of the Gordon CC' come Saturday evening.