3rd Grade Report vs Easts ' Round 11 (Day 1)
3rd Grade stands tall around Captain Kelly
Another stinking hot Saturday for the 3rd grade boys to contend with and usually this means that regardless of the result of the toss Captain Kelly would be informing his troops that they would be fielding first. Amazingly enough, Kells won the toss. And even more amazingly he decided we would get first use of what looked to be a pretty good deck. Hurrah! Perhaps he had another agenda today.
(Kells in action)
3rd Grade was a much different team from the one which defeated Blacktown outright last week, as Adair Durie, Ben Garratt and Chris Archer were all promoted to 2s and Dan Richtor was unavailable. This meant we welcomed back Anthony Sherman ('I'm back boys!') and Dave Michael, with Will Sweeney making his way back through the grades after a return from injury. John Blake completes the line up after deservedly gaining his 3rd grade debut after some impressive performances in 4s.
The start was just as expected from Kelly and Anthony 'Pic' Sherman, the ball disappearing to all parts mainly off Pic's blade with cuts and pulls over the infield being the highlights of his brief stay at the crease. He was dropped on the fine leg boundary which was spilled for 4, shortly before being given out LBW for 19 to a contentious decision, the ball appearing to be missing leg comfortably. However he reined back his usual instincts and left the field in an extremely dignified and quiet manner. Pic, we're all proud of you mate that was a real effort. And especially because you paid me back on Saturday ' well done!
Jimmy Hosking arrived at the crease at 1-30, and once the skipper let him have the strike after he faced only 2 balls from his first 6 overs, he started the trademark cover and lofted straight drives that have helped him score so many runs this season. Kells was a little bit more limited than he usually appeared to be, leaving a lot of half-volleys outside off and struggling a bit reaching out there. As I enquired as to why this might be, I was delightfully informed by Pic that he had 'pulled an arse muscle'. Having completed a degree in Sport, Health and Exercise I tried to search for the proper terminology of said pulled muscle, but as I was scoring at the time I couldn't concentrate properly. Note to selectors; please drop Chris Archer, we need Bob back!
Hosking smokes one in usual style
The longer Kells batted the more comfortable he seemed to get with his injury, he waited for the ball to come to him and duly dispatched his pulls and clips of the legs with aplomb. The run-rate continued to lift and all of a sudden we had brought the 100 up and not so long after the skipper grabbed his 50. At this point we knew he only needed another 13 for him to reach 5000 grade runs for the club, which he hunted down quickly and brought it up with a searing cover drive to the boundary which followed with an eruption of applause from the Stags' camp. An excellent achievement pal and I hope to see many more runs. Well, until the end of this season when you pack in anyway!
It was head down again though for Kells and Hosko started to take the limelight, pumping two straight sixes off the off-spinners, one of which cleared the Trumper Oval pavilion. However, the ball after the second six, he went for another drive and was yorked for 43 to make it 2-139. This ended a super partnership of 109 which helped to put us right on top. Matty Makepeace was at 4 after his superb knock last week, and he safely negotiated the last few overs until tea and we went to the sheds at 2-148.
During the break Kells stressed the need to play tough, hard cricket, especially as Easts were being very defensive in having ring fields and bowling well outside off stump when the seamers were on. The Gibbon carried on from where he left off last week and looked in great nick smoking a huge six, but just when he looked like really going on he clipped the spinner to mid-on trying to hit over his head and we were 3-193, the Peace departing for 27. Elliot Richtor and I obviously weren't listening to their captain at tea as we both departed cheaply playing flamboyant shots early in our innings. All of a sudden we were 5-202 from 60 overs and we'd lost the momentum as the game evened up.
(John Blake in action)
But cometh the hour, cometh the man. Firstly, Kells brought up his well-deserved ton. Then after some rubbish personal sledging from the Easts' players who were chirpy all day, he went ballistic nailing them to all parts of the oval. We added exactly a hundred from the last quarter of the day thanks to some massive hitting from our captain which included two 'WOW-esque' sixes, and coupled with handy contributions from Dave 'DM' Michael (8) and John 'JB' Blake (25 not out), who batted with supreme confidence and ability towards the end with Kells, helped us to reach the 300 mark.
Kells was eventually out with three overs left caught at mid-wicket for 159, which included 22 fours and 2 sixes. I'd tell you how many balls as well but after mine and Josh Ling's excellent scorebook standard early in the day, it quickly fell away. Apologies for the mess Bob. Two words ' Will Sweeney'. It was a fantastic effort from Kells, made all the more exceptional when you take into account the situation of the match with wickets falling around him, the slowness of the pitch and defensive nature of Easts' tactics, his impeding injury and the sheer heat of the day meaning the required concentration to bat for 5 hours was immense.
Ending on 7-302, we're in a superb position to wrap up the points next week, now it will be up to the new ball attack of Holmes, Ling and Sweeney, the meds of Longhurst, Richtor and Sherman (sorry Hosko) and the twirlies of DM and JB. With Balmain already gaining 6 points from this round it is imperative we win this fixture to stay up there.
Neil asked for a second photo of Kells looking exhausted and content - we didn't have access to his personal collection
When asked whether anyone could break his world record amount of Test match wickets, Fred Trueman replied in his typical Yorkshire style, 'Aye, but whoever does it will be bloody tired'. I wonder if the next person to score 5000 grade runs for Gordon D.C.C. will be as tired as this. Matthew Kelly everybody!
Neil Longhurst reporting