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1st Grade vs Penrith - Round 7 - 2015/16

Coming off a disappointing loss the week before, Gordon 1s were determined to put in a significantly improved performance against our Penrith opponents. 

At the skipper’s behest, we’d all committed extra efforts at training during the week to ensure that we arrived more prepared on Saturday than we had been the week before.

Will Smith's preparation certainly paid off. Ton up son! 

The bowlers in particular had worked hard and were looking in great shape. They had presumably arrived at the ground the reasonable presumption that Steve would again lose the toss and we’d be in the field first. 

To everyone’s great surprise the skipper flipped successfully, forcing us to change out of our pre-emptively applied whites and offer unreciprocated throwdowns to Reece Bombas.

‘Bomba’ Bombas and Cam Eccles both started strongly, moving the score on to 37 before both fell in consecutive deliveries just before the drinks break. 

Jack Colley, inspired by his brother and Will, makes 73 from 79 

Will Smith and Steve Colley then built a strong partnership to take us to lunch. 

The wicket was not your traditional Chatty Flatty. It offered a bit of movement off the seam and the Station End ridge was exploited to good effect by one of their opening bowlers.

Steve fell not long into the second session and Tym Crawford – duly supported by brother Myke – was adjudged LBW shortly afterwards to leave us in a precarious position at 4/125. 

That brought Jack Colley to the crease for his first bat in 1st Grade this season, fresh off a match-winning hundred in 2nd Grade the week before. He looked composed and solid from the outset, and combined for a brilliant partnership with Will who was gradually accumulating at the other end. 

Jack displays his strength down the ground 

The pair put on 123 together with Jack contributing 73 from 79 balls in easily his highest score in the premier grade. Not long after Jack’s dismissal in the final session, Will moved along to his 100, although he did his best to run Chad Soper out for a diamond duck in doing so. 

Will is now averaging 79 this season and has been an invaluable addition to the team, not just in terms of the runs he has contributed but the quality and experience he has shown provides a point of reference to all Gordon cricketers who are seeking to improve their game.

All around the ground Will found runs. A hard man to pin down when he gets started. 

With the score at 262 when Will holed out, and still 25 over left in the day, the team was hoping to push on to a score of 320-340 by the close of play. However, the tail struggled to get going against some steady bowling and we finished the day at 8/308. 

And wasn't the crowd appreciative... of Adair's wines. Surely these guys could play as a 7th Grade side next year.

Whether we were to bat on the following week remained to be seen, but whatever the score, the team should have taken confidence from the atypical Day 1 pitch in our quest for 10 wickets!

Spoiler alert - we batted on in the search for some extra runs on Day 2, as the pitch seemed flat enough to negate any early morning advantage. 

12 runs were added in 3 overs before the final two wickets fell. Chad Soper finished 31*.

The run chase began in eventful fashion. John DiBartolo lived up to his reputation by blasting a four and a six in the first over, but was also dropped and played and missed twice. 

Another classic Colley pose 

Dan Smith got his man in his next over, Tym Crawford seemingly stopped time itself to hang up in the air for several minutes before claiming the overhead catch at point.

Tym’s effort was the first of three brilliant catches in the first session. First Tym, then Charlie Stobo with his left bucket at 3rd slip and Cam Eccels with his more reasonably sized left hand at gully removed danger men DiBartolo, Kohler-Cadmore and Morrissey respectively. 

We could be excused for believing that we were on to something special today, as tight bowling backed up by excellent fielding and sensational catching had restricted them to 3/53 off 24 overs in the first session.

Dan Smith is really finding a rhythm with his bowling 

But it was not to be. We proceeded to drop five slip catches for the day, including one bloke on three occasions before he reached 20. He would go on to make an unbeaten hundred.

The bowling gradually deteriorated as the day wore on. Smith and Stobo continued their consistent form, bowling tightly and with enough movement to make the batsmen second-guess their strokeplay. 

Charlies' Buckets' Stobo and Chad Soper probe away at the Penrith bats 

The biggest positive of the day was a resurgent James Kennedy, who looks to be inching his way back to his best after a frustrating and interrupted start to the season. His second spell in the middle session was excellent, and was unlucky not to pick up several wickets as there were innumerable plays and misses and a dropped catch.

Newman with a safe pair of hands behind the stumps 

We struggled to bowl consistent lines in the last session, and some good partnerships for the 6th and 7th wicket got Penrith over the line with about 10 overs left in the day.

We can lament the fact that we failed to score enough runs in the last session on Day 1, having been set up to do so by a brilliant partnership from Will Smith and Jack Colley.

Tell your story walking son! Smith has rewarded with a Penrith pole 

But given the game was played on our terms for the majority of day 2, and Penrith needed to double their score in the last session with only half their wickets in hand, we should have won regardless. 

The bowlers created enough chances to take 10 wickets, and the fielders should have given them greater support. Instead they tired in the final session and we let Penrith get away. 

Will Smith and Tym Crawford are given an opportunity with the ball 

We will need a much improved performance to beat an arguably stronger side away at Manly next week.

Max Newman


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