Round 13 saw the Stags face Mosman in an eagerly awaited encounter at the glorious Chatswood oval. Rumour has it that Matt Junk had this fixture in his dairy since August 2017. After peeling back the covers 1st grade were presented with a hard yet unusually grassy wicket, which enticed captain Kholi to have a bowl after winning the toss.
The Stags started very well as Reags and Patto consistently challenged the Mosman bats with consistent line and lengths. After a couple of close chances in his first over, Reags was rewarded, claiming the shin of the opening batsmen. Patto joined in on the fun taking his first wicket of the match with a well-planned bouncer that saw the whales reeling at 2/28. The bowlers toiled hard through the middle session with spin twins Junky and Parky looking dangerous but some patient batting from the Mosman top order allowed them to pile on almost 200 runs for the third wicket, which fell at the tea break.
Mosman looked to accelerate the run rate but some clever bowling and tight fielding saw this threat defused. Mosman finished the day at just under 360 for the loss of 6 wickets. A great effort by the stags with wickets shared amongst the bowlers on what finished up a flat wicket.
Day 2 saw the “Big Dogs” keen to repeat last week’s thrashing of the “losers” in what was a clinical display of skill, finesse with the odd sprinkle of brilliance. It was a hard fought match in the second leg, going goal for goal, which saw the scores level at the full time siren. An old-fashioned penalty shootout saw Elliot clinch victory for the Big Dogs with a Messi like strike that curled through the centre of the goalmouth. Now that the important part of the day has been accounted for I can get back to the cricket.
Patto ignores the cries of 'pitch it up' and for the first time in his career bounces someone out.
Mosman decided to bat on and finally declared at 7/378 after 103 overs. I must mention the 7th wicket, which was claimed by Parko with the assistance of Tym at mid off who must’ve thought he had a baseball glove on, catching the ball overhead in a one-hand/backhand style screamer.
With 88 overs to bat and 379 runs to win the Stags knew they were well in the hunt for the 6 points. Axe and Eccles started off nicely, with Cam looking solid as always dispatching the new ball to all areas of the ground, (especially the fence). They brought up a 100 run opening stand until Axe ran himself out just before the lunch break. The fall of captain Kholi saw the score at 2/111 at lunch.
With Cam and the Harry, the prince of Chatswood at the crease, the stags looked in control with another 100 added for the third wicket until Cam was dismissed for an outstanding knock of 78. Prince Harry looked to be in his groove showcasing his pure class with an array of scoring shots but was unfortunately dismissed soon after Cam.
Wickets were lost in somewhat regular intervals however the self-proclaimed “magician” known as Elliot Richtor held the middle order together. He rotated the strike with ease and showed his dominance, putting pressure on the bowlers when they missed their lengths.
With 50 runs needed with 2 wickets in hand we were in for a nail biter but Els and Patto were having none of it. The pair combined for a brilliant partnership that saw the Stags successfully chases the required 379 runs. Els finished on 77* and Patto 24* with every single run of his coming in boundaries!
Will they ever learn? Do. not. bowl. on. Richtor's. pads.
As you could imagine, after a fantastic win against the song was sung with extreme volume and my ears are still ringing! Overall it was a great win which places 1st grade in an excellent position for finals cricket!
Special mention must go to Matt Parkinson who played his last game for the stags this round. He has been fantastic for the club both on and off the field and we wish him the very best on the lions tour!