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2nd Grade vs Randwick-Petersham - Round 4 - 2015/16

Both teams had stopped warming up and eagerly watched the toss. You could cut the tension with a knife as both bowling units prayed for the signal from the skipper of a high elbowed forward defence that would signify that they could put their feet up and watch the other side toil on what resembled the German Autobahn. 

Chris Bateup finds the photograph after playing a pull towards the Chatswood fence 

Anticipation turned to fear and that fear turned to dread as we heard the elated cries of the opposition. We were disappointed (but not surprised) to find that Cubby had lost the toss and that we were fielding. 

The quicks kept it tight but could not find any penetration on a placid wicket and Randwick-Petersham started solidly and moved to 0-72. When the breakthrough did come, it came through skipper Adam ‘Cabbage Patch’ Cubbage. Adam (22-8-1-80) started fantastically and collected the top of off to remove one of the openers. 

Cam New compiles a gritty half century 

Continued pressure with the ball led to a runout and when Anand ‘Mr V’ Verma (26-2-2-98) struck twice, at 4-185, the door was open to restrict the trotters to something very chaseable. This brings us to tea, the Stags walked off knowing that they were giving the equines a good tussle. 

The scoring rate had not exceeded 3 for most of the day which at Chatswood is an absolute mission. 

This reporter wishes that he could end the transmission here but what happened after tea was diabolical. It was as if we had decided we were in the lower grades and that we would only play for two sessions. And we’re not – Bombas still talks to us.

After tea, the fielding fell away considerably. The batsmen got on top and the Gordon reserve side flat lined. 

Out of ideas and deflated, the Stags stumbled and were put to the sword by a Randy Pete’s side intent on dominating the third session. Randy Pete’s young gun Henry Tornton had looked vulnerable till this point, chipping many balls into a packed offside and being dropped off a sharp chance but he along with the skipper Mclaughlin put a deflated Stags to the sword with a ruthlessness that would make any four star military general proud.

Keevers snags his first 2nd Grade pole 

The bowlers continued to toil but the wickets did not come and as they tired, the scoring rate lifted. Of the chances we had, Thornton, on 70, hit the ball straight down the throat of long off. The catch was misjudged and landed safely. 

After this he did not look like getting out and Thornton went on to finish the day at 185 not out. Of the other blunders, the stags bowled a lot of overs of spin and were so far ahead of the game (in terms of overs, not in terms of being ahead of the opposition) that they bowled an extra 8 overs in the day (which went for about 100). McLaughlin (60) holed out on the last ball of the day to give Keevers (13-2-1-44) his first 2nd grade scalp and with that the day ended with Randy Pete’s 5-422 (dec). 

In the warmup on Day 2, a bottom 5 with the sheer weight of experience (age) beat a sprightly top 6 at touch footy. The fight shown by a resolute bottom 5 would serve as a sign of things to come from the tenacious tail later in the game. 

This man may well be the next all-round start - Chris Bateup! 

Lads, the warm up is a microcosm of your life. The way you do the warm up is the way you do life. One of the old Tai Chi masters that frequents Chatswood Oval told me this at the lunch break and I believe it rings true. 

Nicknamed the ‘Collapso Kings’ last year, 2nd grade was notorious for a cheeky crumble. After chasing down over 350 last game to defeat the Bears, this scribe dared to hope that the ghosts of the past would not be back to haunt the second grade batting lineup. 

With the score at 0-44, we were doing it very easily in the face of some quality quick bowling. Steve ‘Log’ Bristow (14) was the first to go, trapped infront and when Jack (20) ran down the wicket trying to hit the spinner for 8 only to be bowled a collapse was triggered. 

Gordon was now 2 for 76. Not the worst start, and it could be worse. A ball later Gordon was 3 – 76. 

Not ideal, but it could have been 4-76. Two balls later it was 4-76. 

Still it could have been worse, and we did avoid conceding the hattrick. Not long after it was 5-76 and then 6-88. At this stage, we could easily have collapsed, been all out for 100 and then been able to blame the groundskeeper for preparing something unfit for cricket. 

Dan Stickland toiled hard on the German autobahn 

However, just like in the touch footy warm up, the bottom 5 didn’t get the memo. In the face of some fiery pace bowling by Durham quick Barry McCarthy, Gordon started to stand tall. Although it doesn’t take much to get the ball around the nose of Verma, an intense battle ensued with bouncer after bouncer whizzing past the nose. 

Verma negotiated the spell with Zen master like focus while Chris ‘The Man from Parra River’ Bateup, took a different approach. Chris decided to sledge the bowler, and the fielders, and anyone else who was within earshot. He took great delight in reminding the fielders of their failures in the Randy Pete innings (which is impressive considering their total). 

After struggling to face the leg spinner early, Bateup (118no) found an approach that worked and proceeded to plunder the Randy Pete’s attack to all parts. The bowlers tired and the run rate started to increase. Boundaries and singles started to come with ease but the 70 run stand ended when Verma was caught in the deep taking the aerial route to the spinner. 

Chris Bateup showed the fighting resolve that the top order failed to muster 

Dan ‘Fingers’ Stickland (13) came in and supported Chris but fell after adding 50 runs for the ninth wicket. At 9 down and 190 behind the opposition, the match rested on the debutant shoulders of Matt Keevers. As he strode out to the crease, questions were asked in hushed tones about his ability to bat. 

Answers including, ‘he made his first run in round twelve last year’ were given. 

With the dressing room not totally filled with confidence, Matt was quick to dispel any doubt in his ability. Timing the ball well and murdering the ball through cover. He scored quickly to finish on 36 before being undone by a masterful half tracker (by the leggie). 

In total we put on 206 for the last 4 wickets which is a great sign. Sadly, 422 was just too many to chase from 6-99. Another plus from the top order was a fighting 51 from Cameron New. Cameron batted with conviction in the face of a collapse and helped hold the first half of the innings together.

A disappointing result considering that for two sessions on the first day and all but 15 overs on the second day we were right in the game. 

Get fah’ you bah’

Anand Verma


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