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2nd grade report Round 8 day 2

2nd Grade Report v St George (Day 2)

Edward bloody Howitt. Junior.

After 23.4 overs he finally gets a wicket.

The No. 11.

A full toss. Missed by the bat, hits a pad ' in front ' and out, LBW.

One wicket. That's all.

And now he's a bloody hero.

The fact that the wicket won the match, by two runs, with three balls remaining in the last over of the day, is immaterial. And the fact that, as captain, he'd stayed on top of the game for nearly 100 tough overs in the day is beside the point.

Edward bloody Howitt. Junior.

What a legend.

The day began predictably enough, with a grassless wicket and the western boundary was still only a skip away. I notice that the St George scorecard describes the pitch as 'Hard'. And so it was. Hard to bowl on.

The outfield had been mown, and was always going to be fast. 369 looked good on paper, but anyone who knew Killara, and who understood the resolution of St George sides over the years, would have been well aware that it was going to be a long, demanding day.

(Dylan Connell at Killara)

Connell and Holmes commenced proceedings (I was understandably surprised that Howitt didn't recommence his spell from the previous week). The pair toiled manfully, but got little assistance from the wicket, and the score rose steadily. Stobo was introduced after an hour, and had success after a couple of overs, when he bowled the more aggressive of the two openers. Two balls later he bowled the Number 3, and Gordon was back on track, with the score 2-74.

However, a resolute left handed opener was building what might well have been a match winning innings. A partnership developed, and St George moved the score to 2-120 at lunch.

But for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's (or should we call him Voldemort?) dismissal last week, the scores of the two sides would have been almost identical.

After lunch the game continued in much the same vein. Then, with Holmes introduced from the southern end, a ball was hit to Dowsley at short cover, and the catch was taken.

3-143.

But then a frustrating stand of over 80 between the opener, and the St George captain. Connell bowled an inspired spell, with out luck, and the runs ticked over. Makepeace was unlucky not to hold on to a top edged hook, but that was the only clear chance.

Then, with Hokin's legspinners brought on at the northern end, success.

(Stobs in action)

After passing his 100, the St George opener finally had a lapse in concentration, and tried to swing Hokin to the longish legside boundary. Stobo sprinted like a gazelle, hurled himself far and wide to the right, with the sun in his eyes, and held a miraculous catch. Well, not quite like that ' exaggerated, perhaps ' but the point is that he didn't drop it, and a key breakthrough was achieved.

Hokin struck again when the Number 6 skied a leading edge to the safest hands on the planet, but unfortunately I can't tell you who it is. You'll just have to guess.

5-230, and things seemed to be well in hand.

The score passed 240, 250, 260, but on 267 Stobo snuck one through to bowl the Number 7. Six wickets down.

However, the St George captain was at the crease, and was a key player. But one run later he hit a low full toss to the hands of Hokin, at a wisely positioned short midwicket.

7-268.

Surely that would be the end of it, and the St George innings would fold? Alas, no. There was a touch more drama to come.

The next partnership was a frustrating one. The two batsmen played sensibly, and ran well. The second new ball was due. To take it or not to take it? That was the question.

(Matt Makepeace at Killara) 

Howitt decided against it for some time, but eventually the case for it strengthened, as the old ball was not getting the breakthrough. And, happily, in the first over with the new ball, a wicket fell. Not quite in the expected manner, granted ' Hokin threw the stumps down on the run from cover for a wonderful run out ' but it was a wicket none the less.

8-307. Gordon was safe now.

Not.

It was shortly after this that Stobo pulled his hamstring while running in to bowl, and left the field. Ed Howitt, Snr., or beloved scorer, ruled off the fourth ball of Stobo's 24th over with the simple word, 'RETIRED'.

Sam Hinton took to the field, wearing Stobo's spare shirt and trousers. He looked a little like David Byrne from Talking Heads. Stobo wondered how he would catch and run, with his hand at the elbow point of the sleeve, and his feet near the knee bit.

The ninth wicket fell to Connell, as a catch was taken at cow corner. But I'm not going to tell you who by. You'll just have to guess.

9-318.

St George still needed 52 runs, off about 40 deliveries, but with only one wicket in hand, the game was well out of their reach.

Except no-one bloody told them.

Stobo was sitting near to the St George captain, in the pavilion, and asked him what their plan was. A draw was not a consideration. They were going all out for the win.

The No. 11 then proceeded to play a sensibly aggressive innings, cutting both Holmes and Connell repeatedly for runs. There seemed no way to staunch the flow, and a wicket was more likely to be a product of luck, than any real pressure.

The score climbed. 330. 340. 350. 360 '

When the last ball of Connell's final over ' the 97th of the innings, and penultimate over of the match ' was dispatched to the long point boundary for four, Gordon was pretty well stuffed. St George entered the final over needing four to win. The Number 11 was on 35.

Tense.

And then Howitt stepped up to the plate. As a captain should.

The first ball was everything you didn't want it to be: a knee high full toss. Fortunately for Gordon, it was not put away, and the game remained alive.

Ball two was played sedately.

Ball three was another full toss, but lower, and the batsman swung across the line, was hit in front, and the umpire's hand was raised.

(Hoppa goes for a run)

The Gordon boys were ecstatic.

The St George boys less so.

Gordon 369 v St George 367. Each side batted into the 98th over of the innings.

It was simply a game that neither side deserved to lose.

And it's a shame that more people were not there to witness it. It's the second terrific finish to a 2nd Grade game at Killara in the past few weeks, and each has marked this Gordon side as one that can hang in there when it gets tough. And it was particularly good to bounce back from the disappointment of Sutherland only a fortnight before.

It was great to see the sides together having a beer after the game; a testament to the spirit of the two teams on and off the field.

The song was sung with gusto, and the news of the 4th Grade and 5th Grade victories was also celebrated.

Campbelltown next week.

Away, as usual.

Probably on a side strip.

R.M Stobo

 

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