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1st Grade vs St George - Round 9 - 2015/16

I’m pretty sure preparation is of paramount importance in any sport, at any level. I used to play with a quite extraordinary character called Phil Mustard, who kept wicket for Durham. 

Upon scoring one of the most ridiculous centuries against Sussex and Mushtaq Ahmed in his prime, the coach at the time – and now championship double-winning Yorkshire director-of-cricket Martyn Moxon – explicitly told him to remember his preparation and repeat it exactly. 

Cam Eccles launches one onto the veladrome 

His night before had involved one of Brighton’s most ‘classy’ nightclubs and a ‘foam party’ until 5am. Phil didn’t need telling twice.

Well, in light of Gordon 1st Grade’s exceptional one-day win over St George, I shall be flying to Cairns (in fact I might already be there as you read this) and attempting to ‘aggressively drink’, contract a throat infection, while it rains incessantly for 3 days. Let me elaborate…

Two of the star performers in the win were undoubtedly Cam Eccles with an in-the-beginning-watchful-but-by-the-end-brutal 135, and James Kennedy with a skilful 3 for 42 in addition to a swooping run-out from the outfield to run out their English pro (they’re no good anyway…)

Crawford nurdles one here... is that a fair description?

Cam and James were part of what will become known as the ‘Cairns massive’ as whatever went on up there on their festive trip, they came back with huge smiles on their faces, ready to hit the ground running in 2016.

The other star performer was Tym Crawford with a tone-setting 79 from just 67 balls, which having been inserted, (win a toss please Steve, how hard?), was just what was needed to knock the St George bowlers off their plans and rhythm. 

He also contributed a disciplined 10 overs, taking 1 for 49, just when the St George batsmen were looking dangerous. Tym spent most of the festive period laid low with aforementioned throat bug.

Smith pulls out the hook shot in search of runs 

And as for the incessant rain, well those of you who were in Sydney last week will know what I mean, and therefore how little appropriate practice was possible.

It was clear when we turned up that everything would be in favour of the team batting second. It seems as if Hurstville Oval is set up for chasing anyhow, given the relative dimensions of some of the boundaries, but the tacky early nature of the wicket served to enhance the crucial nature of the toss.

Steve Colley – pugnacious young talented batsman, great fielder, positive and instinctive but considered captain in the field, all-round nice guy…horrendous tosser.

However, having been inserted, Tym and Cam set about putting together a partnership which turned the game from 30:70 in St George’s favour before a ball was even bowled to just about 50:50 when Tym departed with the score at 1/122 from around 25 overs. 

Crawford and Smith formed fruitful partnerships with Eccles 

From that point onwards, the efforts of everyone gradually ensured that the momentum gained from their opening partnership was not squandered.

I/Will/Jiggy/Wilbur (not sure how to refer to myself in these reports?!) managed to knock the ball around with Cam for around a run-a-ball 55 in a partnership of 132, while Cam received full toss after full toss from their spinners. He duly deposited them over the rope, something which I definitely wouldn’t have done so I shan’t bemoan my luck that he kept receiving full bungers…

At 2/254 with just under 8 overs to go, it was left to Jack Colley to swing himself of his feet a few times for 19 not out, and Steve to ramp his first ball and the penultimate ball of the innings for four. Without doubt this had little to do with Steve, it was Charlie Stobo ordering him to do as such as he left the pavilion. Maybe Stobes should be designated tosser…?

Clearly looking to get that one fine, Will Smith punishes the St George bowlers 

At halfway we were definitely above par on 3/308, but we knew we had to be as conditions were favouring the batsmen more as the day went on. So a good start with the ball was imperative. 

Their captain McCabe is no doubt a dangerous player, but seemingly quite one-dimensional in terms of his scoring areas – cow. That said, he was beginning to look dangerous until Dan Smith enforced a miscue into the safe hands of JK.

Eccles scores freely all around the ground 

With him and his opening partner Cazzulino back in the shed at 2/100, we had taken a definite step towards closing out the game. However, the bowling from all four seamers was exemplary throughout the innings, and kept our foot firmly on the Saints' throats.

Dan Smith secured the key wicket, Stobes bowled as well as ever and went at 3’s (which is fine in the context of the game but he should be ashamed with himself as I’m sure he never goes at more than 2’s.) 

A century in a winning side is always fondly remembered. Cam Eccles will remember this one well.

While JK was full of Cairns Mojo, and his skills with the ball were, I’m sure, a reflection of his off-field skills up in the Northern Territory. 

And Tym, no doubt buoyed by the news that his best mate Adam Crosthwaite had fallen for a golden duck in Manly’s game, shrugged off his ailment and bowled ten very disciplined overs. 

Oh, and I snuck in with two burgled wickets also, could have been three but hey ho….cheers Reece.

All in all, a great way to start 2016. ‘It’s off to Mereweather/Cairns at the finish of play…’

Will Smith 

 

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