1st Grade vs Manly - Round 8 - 2015/16
2-1. Enough said. The onions dominated again.
The wicket had a generous covering of grass, but was still hard underneath, so it was difficult to determine just how much assistance the bowlers would get.
Rare that a week goes past without a comment on Stobo's impressive bowling
Nevertheless, it was a wicket that we would have preferred to bowl on first, but we lost the toss and were sent in to bat.
While the odd ball moved off the seam or shot through to the keeper, the pitch actually played a lot better than it looked, and a par score of 250+ was no doubt on the cards.
Unfortunately, it was not to be, as we lost early wickets to tight bowling. The middle order then went about resurrecting the innings.
Dan Smith, the hound, tries to run though the Manly innings
Steve Colley played very positively, particularly straight down the ground, while Jack Colley continued his run of good form with a quick-fire 35 before kicking one.
Sadly, the tail wasn’t able to wag again and we were eventually bundled out for 142 runs in the 35th over.
Charlie “JD” Stobo started things up with the wind at his back and straight away settled into a perfect line and length. He maintained the pressure well, but unfortunately received little to no support from the other bowlers. Stobes was eventually rewarded with the wicket of Crosthwaite to a good catch by Steve Colley at second slip. It was a bittersweet feeling seeing the back of Crosthwaite given the mediocrity of his play and chat.
With the score at 68, Stobo then picked up the wicket of Lenton who played a very good knock for Manly. Or maybe his knock just looked better when compared to his partner up the other end.
Steve Colley is caught short of his ground
With the exception of getting pulled for six by Sammut, Stobo has been flawless so far this season. He’s always done the job required of him and always finds a way to keep going, possibly because he’s popped more painkillers this season than Digby popped pills at Yass.
Will Smith then applied his trade from the other end but was unable to get the breakthrough we desperately needed. To that end, Will’s bowling has been excellent so far this season, and while he may not have taken the number of wickets he deserves, his ability to build pressure and bowl to a plan has been invaluable.
Manly eventually passed our score three wickets down.
And so we move into the Christmas break. It couldn’t have come at a better time for us.
From a batting perspective, we need to be more consistent. This means showing a lot more fight when things get tough. There’s no point chasing down 350 against Randy Pete’s, only to get rolled the following week by Easts on a flatty, and then bat out the day against Penrith on a tricky wicket, and then follow it up with a mediocre performance against Manly.
The fact that Sammut has scored more first-grade centuries than most of our top 6 this season is proof of what you can do if you’re just willing to stick it out during the tough periods.
The reality is that there is no better time to be a first-grade batsman in Sydney than right now. If 350 is a par score on normal sized grounds these days, then our top 6 should all be averaging close to 50.
The skipper's 60 was the only thing to write home about
From a bowling perspective, the same thing goes. Too often we’ve started well with the ball, only to let things slip when things get a little tough. You can’t win games without taking ten wickets (or at the very least creating ten opportunities), and we’ve only managed this twice this season (one of which on the last ball of the day).
We are one of the better bowling attacks going around and we should be confident in our ability to bowl six balls in the right place, and to defend any total.
In short, our willingness to accept mediocrity must change if we’re going to be any chance of playing finals cricket come March.
A wise man once told me that if you were able to believe in Santa for eight years, you can believe in yourself for five seconds. It’s time to start believing and show a lot more fight when we regroup next year. We have the team to win the comp this season.