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3rd Grade Report vs Easts - Round 11 (Day 2)

3rds go down to Easts

A close game of cricket but a very frustrating result.

There are many who are of the opinion that a close game of cricket is a "good" game of cricket. Evidence the Ashes contests in 2005. People forget that the close nature of day 5 of the tests 2 through 5 were each preceded by 4 days of unspectacular cricket at best, but more accurately described as banal, where the ball barely moved off a straight line on the first two days and hardly bounced above the knees.

Kelly in cracking form with the willow

To experience good cricket, a pitch has to be hard (not dry but hard) and have an even covering of grass. Fast bowlers should be able to see good bounce and carry and not be forced to rely upon rolling their fingers down the side of the ball or merely await a batsman's frustration of the ball not coming on to the bat. Equally, batsmen enjoy these characteristics so that they may punish bad deliveries and get full credit. Sadly, Trumper Oval at Paddington, named after one of the legendary attacking figures in our game, is unable to produce a surface that produces such cricket. Instead it is a war of attrition that forces a team that is used to playing on the surface every second week to set a 7 - 2 field (with no more than two slips) for the majority of the day and bowl few balls within two feet of the stumps. Smart thinking but bad for the game of cricket.

The result is a bowling team waiting for mistakes by frustrated batsmen, as opposed to being able to create opportunities. It is a credit to the home team's seam bowlers that they keep turning up each week for what they know will be a fairly tough day, before the slow bowlers come on to take even more pace of the ball and demand runs only be scored via the aerial route. The home team must be commended for sticking at their task for the duration of a very hot day.

After the first day's effort of posting a reasonable score of 7-302, which was the highest score made at Trumper Park in third grade this season and 25 runs more than the home team had been able to amass in a single innings this season, a declaration was made. If Gordon bowled and fielded well, it had more than enough runs to win. Holmes and Ling bowled extremely well, which was followed up by Sweeney on his return to third grade. All induced a number of plays and misses, some false shots but not much attacking, on a pitch that offered no assistance and prompted the home team to surmise that it "seemed to be a pretty ordinary bowling attack". Both untrue and unfair.

Holmes was unlucky not to take two wickets in his first over with offerings from each of the opening batsmen falling just short of fieldsmen. No wickets fell in the first session as the home team scored 100 runs off 40 overs, leaving them 5 runs an over in the second half of the day. In the second session Holmes took two early wickets to get Gordon back in the game. However, a 60 run partnership from the home team's two best and most experienced batsmen turned the game their way.

"Gordy" Holmes gets praise from Frogan

It is a credit to Gordon that the team never gave in and despite some awful fielding that saw 5 catches (4 were not easy but need to taken) and some missed run out opportunities, were in it until the last over. Blake, in his first game in third grade, bowled well in tricky windy conditions and dismissed Easts best batsmen with a well flighted delivery that deceived the batsmen and bowled him, which gave Gordon a sniff of victory. Ultimately, the home team passed Gordon's total with three balls to spare and 8 wickets down. The result, if nothing else, was a credit to Easts, who have suffered a tough year in third grade, for their application and perseverance to the task at hand and they thoroughly deserved their victory.

But, a good game of cricket? Certainly a close result.

It is a wake-up call for the approaching post-season. A timely reminder that hard work must continue to be done on the training paddock and nothing taken for granted on the field. Possibly the game was lost after Gordon was 1-140 last week and then 6-230, with batsmen falling to big shots, as opposed to being prepared to do the hard work that was required. Momentum was lost to be able to post a score in the vicinity of 340, which may have been beyond Easts. It is a bad result when one team produces each of the stand-out individual performances of the game, with a batsman making 150 (double the next best score of any other player) and Holmes a magnificent 5-61 off 18 and yet still lose.

Dan Frogan


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