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2nd Grade Report vs Wests - Round 6

2nd Grade Match Report ' Round 6 v Wests

A determined Gordon side looking to make up for the disappointment of the previous drawn game against Fairfield-Liverpool, rolled up to Pratten Park on Saturday morning to find the ground in superb condition and weather fit for a perfect days cricket. The pitch looked flat and with no clouds in the sky, it goes without saying that Hoppa lost the toss and the Stags were out in the field first.

(John O'Neill Fuller hits the turf) 

Yet another new new-ball attack in Josh Ling and the in-form debutant Umayr Amir bowled well without much luck early on, the Wests openers chancing their arms and this was summed up with a flick of the wrist by the Wests opener ( a la Gilchrist) into the seating on the short point boundary.

Despite Ed Howitt and Neil Longhurst dragging the run-rate back a little, drinks came at 0-70 off 14 overs and Wests looking in a strong position to take the game away from us. Whether it was drinks, the minute's rememberance silence or John O'Neill-Fuller's chirping at the young left-hander, but Hoppa picked him up thanks to a smart catch at mid-wicket by Damon Livermore diving forward. Two overs later Longhurst picked up the number 3 caught by Brad Rasool as the ball lifted and nipped away just brushing the glove as he defended forward. I don't care what anybody says, it was 'a pearler!' 2-80 off 20 and it was a different game.

(Josh Ling goes to the skies) 

Nick Dowsley and Matt Michael were both successfully introduced into the attack, with Digger picking up the obligatory wicket with that 'heavy' short ball well caught again by Reg at mid-wicket, and Cupcake coaxing a feathered edge to Rasool from one that left the batsman. With numbers 5 and 6 getting themselves established and looking to up the momentum of the innings once again, Longers was re-introduced and picked up both of them in his more familiar line of burglary ' caught at long-off ' both well taken by the Cake and Jeremy Cashman to make it 6-165. Dowsley finished his 10 straight for great figures of 1-29, and Longhurst also bowled out with 3-53.

Michael (2-40 from 10) and Howitt re-entered the fray at opposite ends to pick up another wicket apiece with catches from Digger and Longers respectively, whilst keeping the run-rate down, and coupled with superb direct hit run-outs from JOF and Waaaard the innings was brought to a close after 48.1 overs, with 197 runs scored. The team effort in the field was superb with 8 guys taking a catch or a run-out, and everyone contributing in some shape or form which was an excellent effort on a very good batting pitch.

(Umayr Amir in action at Pratten)

Despite his excellent field placings, great run out and metronome-like figures of 2-19 from 8 overs, Howitt was also involved in possibly the worst piece of fielding ever witnessed. Shortly after the 9th wicket fell, the Wests tailender dropped the ball at his feet off Hoppa's bowling and set off for a quick single, alas managing to kick the ball when setting off straight to Hoppa with accuracy Steven Gerrard would have been proud of. Howitt then proceeded to swivel on a sixpence, a yard from the popping crease and bang in front of all three. He could have walked to the stumps, or even thrown it to The Dazzler at the other end. Instead he went for the underarm technique. And missed. Wasn't even close apparently. And it also cost us an overthrow as the Pom was actually on the fence for once where he was supposed to be down at long-off. Hoppa if you want to come and join in with the Green Shield guys for some fielding next week you're more than welcome, I'm sure Wilbur will mind the nets for you!

Despite only having a modest total to chase, we found ourselves at 2-54 at 15 overs with some accurate stuff from the Wests openers. (But what about) The Dazzler played round one and was trapped LBW for 4 and Cupcake caught at point off a leading edge trying to pump one over the square-leg fence for 19. However during this period Reg was looking solid as a rock steadily building his innings, and once he was joined by JOF there was no turning back. The pair added an unbeaten 144 for the 3rd wicket seeing us home in the 38th over to comfortably claim a bonus point. Reg scored runs all around the oval, the highlight being a huge 6 over long-on off the left-arm leggie.

JOF was extremely fluent from ball 1 and was particularly punishing off the back foot through the off side, and along with great running between the sticks they hardly gave Wests a sniff of their wickets. Reg ending with 101 from 126 balls with 12 fours and 2 sixes, and Pumps 56 from 60 with 8 boundaries.

A rip-roaring rendition of the song which shook the foundations of the temporary changing rooms, followed by the news from Tiddles that BIC had taken the last wicket in 4th grade to give us 6 out of 6 left a very happy and confident camp, knowing if we can keep to the skipper's target of what is now a minimum of 2 wins from our next 3 matches then we can really kick on after Christmas and cement our position within that top 6.

And finally ' is there anything in that we didn't train all week yet we won all 6 grades? Same again next week? Except for Hoppa and his underarm practice'

(Hi Mum, Its Neil here from down under)

Neil Longhurst


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