2nd Grade Report vs Sutherland - Round 8
Stags bite the Sharks
2nd Grade travelled to Caringbah looking to avenge the disappointing loss to Parramatta the previous week. A new wicket-keeper with an odd haircut, a much anticipated pre-match soccer contest and a punctual John O'Neill-Fuller were a few of the fresh changes that would hopefully get the Stags' season back on track. Some things never change however, as the bottom five won the match convincingly and Howitt lost the coin toss. With a bit of grass on the surface it wasn't a bad toss to lose and line and length bowling would be the key to success.
Another big score for Smokin' Hokin
Jordy (Jordan Holmes) opened the bowling with Medcalf and both bowled good lines to frustrate the batsmen and keep the runs to a minimum. After a quick word to Howitt at the top of his mark, Medcalf threw in a slower ball and found the edge of the flashy opener's bat with Reg taking a regulation catch at slip. Dowsley replaced Medcalf from the McDonalds end with immediate success, taking the edge of the Sharks' dangerous looking captain and setting up a solid hour for the Stags. Jordy and Dowsley continued to toil away and were unlucky not to pick up more wickets for themselves, as they beat the bat on numerous occasions with good pace and bounce.
The skipper (Ed Howitt) inserted himself into the game with immediate success, forcing the struggling opener Williams into a rash, lofted shot to mid-on. This was a big wicket for Gordon, as Williams was the man replacing JOF's close mate Phil 'Jaquesy' Jaques in the 1st grade squad for week 2. Apparently Phil and John were old cricket or school friends somewhere down the track. Howitt reminded us that it wasn't only JOF with famous mates, as Dylan Connell seems to have quite close friendships with TJ, Sully and Lambos just to name a few.
The skipper was always good at musical statues
Blinga (Josh Ling) and Jordy joined the party after the drinks break and deservedly picked up a wicket each after tying the Sutherland batsmen down and forcing them into error. Enter Rod 'Smokin, Hokey Pokey, Rocket' Hokin. Rocket continued his excellent form this season by picking up two wickets at a vital time for the team. His leg-spin was controlled and he bowled with good flight and variation.
The clouds rolled in and the heavens opened up in the afternoon, forcing an early finish to proceedings on Day 1. Sutherland were 7/260 odd.
Going into Day 2, the Stags knew that quick wickets were needed, and any score under 300 was the target set by Skipper Howitt. The day really belonged to Rocket, as he picked up another 2 wickets and threw down the stumps in what he regarded as a 'regulation' run-out.
An interesting talking point during the breaks in play was the large, banana-like object protruding from the pants of Missy (Ian Higgins). After debating whether it was the biggest box we have ever seen, Missy assured us that it was probably time he put safety first and went out and bought a box for himself this week- I'm sure if you ask him nicely, Mitch might personally fit it for you Missy!
One of the most lethal combinations in Sydney Grade Cricket - Missy, Mitch and the Banana
Chasing 299 for victory, 2nds started the chase well, with Reg (Damon Livermore) and Cashy (Jeremy Cashman) leading us into battle. After looking good early, Cashy fell to a sharp catch at gully. Reece Bombas joined Reg and together they kept the runs flowing, with Reg in particular continuing his purple patch of form with a well-made half century. Wickets continued to fall and soon Nick Dowsley joined Rocket in the middle for what would be a match-winning partnership. Looking for some much needed time in the middle, Dowsley hammered cover drives and sweep shots at will and re-established the form that scored him so many runs last season. Rocket was equally punishing, cutting and driving the spinners to all parts of the ground. With only 20 runs or so to win, Dowsley fell to the toiling leg-spinner and was out for 78- an impressive and well-timed knock. Rocket was joined by Medcalf who guided Rocket to his hundred and the Stags to the Sharks' total. It was a big win for the team and the club, as Sutherland have traditionally been a strong outfit in the higher grades. It was also good to see the Stags move up the table in the Club Championship- keep up the good work everyone.
Watching big partnerships unfold is always exciting for the other players watching from the grandstand, but it also leaves a bit of spare time to tell stories or play games. In between signing petitions, naming 10 parts of the body that are only 3 letters in length, naming the 3 European states that end in the letter 'o', or hearing about Reg's good friend and shopping partner 'Fat Shazza', Jordy Holmes' stories really take the cake, but I refuse to go there now- ask Choppy if you're really interested.
After doing some research I realised that Rocket has now scored 3 hundreds in his last 8 innings for Gordon. He has also taken around 10 wickets for the season and is probably one of the most under-bowled and underrated players at the club. If I have learnt anything from my university education over the past 3 years, it's that you should always acknowledge your sources when repeating information - lest it be plagiarism - so I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rod for providing me with those stats for the report- cheers Rocket.
From the Hokin personal collection of memorabilia
2nds will travel to Howell next week to tackle the Panthers in what will be an extremely important game in the context of our season.
Remember one thing Gordon,
'Winning isn't everything''' it's the only thing'