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2nd Grade Report vs Bankstown - Round 13

2nd Grade report vs Bankstown

The Stags second graders arrived for their first match at Chatswood oval in a long time. And what a beautiful setting it was. Upon inspection on the first morning, there seemed to be a fair bit of moisture and a definite green tinge to the wicket which has yielded many runs this season. Consequently, captain Howitt won the toss (wonders will never cease) and the Stags were in the field, hoping to make the most of the conditions.

(The JOF cover drive)

The new ball bowlers Durie and the man with the most unpronounceable surname in grade cricket, van Shalkwyk (he has been conducting lessons on how to pronounce it phonetically) toiled hard and were disappointed to see the lack of response from a wicket it was hoped would offer some assistance. A number of sharp chances were put down in the first session, a factor that would prove very costly in the context of the game as it progressed.

Two such chances were offered by a young fellow named Etteridge. I remembered the name. Good allrounder' I think he has scored a hundred in at least one other encounter I've been involved in. surely it wouldn't happen again today?? Time would tell.

Captain Howard  Howitt seemed to be struggling in the field a little. You might describe his movement as sluggish compared to the normal gazelle like pace which normally exemplifies his fielding. A quick query was thrown his direction from a concerned teammate, and it was revealed he had torn a muscle in his foot. (I don't know how one does that either, mind you). Our leader and only spinner was battling, with a Chatswood wicket drying out and becoming flatter by the minute. It could be a long day.

(The Nick Dowsley cover drive)

The middle session saw some inspired bowling from Matt Michael, who toiled hard and deserved more than the 2-62 he finished the day with. This session also saw Howitt show great ticker to bowl through the majority of the session from the 'Artarmon' end (as described by Dick Huey when recounting the feats of the 1970-something final winning side), to keep the pressure on the Dogs and keep the Stags within reach. The tea break arrived and the Dogs were 4-220 odd. And that bloke Etteridge was still there.

The final session saw Gordon adopt a more defensive approach to try and limit the total for the run chase next week. Medcalf carried out the plan well and finished with an impressive 4-79. One of those wickets was that of Etteridge, with about 30 mins to play. He had plundered 184 quality runs to all parts of Chatswood in a superb knock.

The dogs finished at 8-366. The preparation for the run chase was already underway.

The second Saturday saw bright sunshine and even brighter smiles on the faces of both teams as we enjoyed observing some of the locals out for their early morning exercise. Even young Andy Falk was impressed. 'Reg' Livermore and volunteer opener Nick Dowsley opened up for the Stags and had negotiated their way to about 7 mins before lunch, when they both fell with the score on 98, in successive balls., with Reg having just brought up his 50. A solid start I think the skipper would have taken at the start of the day, but it typified the starts that most of the order were to get, without anyone really going on.

(The Nick Medcalf cover drive)

Cashman and young Reece Bombas got through to lunch, and then pushed on to midway through the middle session. Cashy played over the top of the newest wicket taking delivery, the 'slow, straight rock'. (Cake had used one of these to remove Mosman captain Marty Hayward a round earlier). O'Neill-Fuller joined Bombas and slowly but surely started to push the scoring rate and build towards the Bankstown total with positive strokes and good running. Just as there was no question that they were starting to assert the ascendancy, Bombas fell to the off spinner who was persisting from the Artarmon end, for a mature and well constructed 55. Medcalf joined JOF and the pair continued the climb towards the 367 for victory, and congratulated themselves in making it to 5-300, with 6 an over required for the remaining overs. Things were under control.

Then, the game took another twist, as this wonderful game of ours tends to do. Medcalf facing, and strikes a lovely straight drive back down the pitch. The arm of the 6'lots' bowler was thrown out to attempt the catch but only succeeded in deflecting the ball onto the stumps at the bowlers end to run JOF out for 70.

O'Neill-Fuller's prolonged pause before departing summed up the situation.

(and yes...the Damon Livermore cover drive)

Enter Howitt, already eyeing off the short square boundary to the railway side as he strode to the crease. He and Medcalf continued the assault and had their team mates enthralled and on the edges of their seats as the looked like pulling off a great victory. Howitt took 18 off one of his opposition off-spinners overs, which I'm sure brought a smile to his face. The Departure of Medcalf trying to force the pace even further and then that man with the unpronounceable surname the very next ball, Gordon were teetering at 9-340 odd, still with 26 to get. Who had done all the damage for the Bulldogs I hear you ask?? That's right, that bloke Etteridge. (told you he was a good all-rounder).

Howitt was last to fall with the score on 342, to a catch in the deep just metres from the fence. The Dogs had dug deep to defend their total and effectively put an end to the Stags finals campaign.

A brilliant game of cricket, with some great performances. The free beers were had in good spirits at the close of play. 2 rounds to go with Club Champ points and pride on the line. The season is far from over.



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