3rd Grade Report vs Northern Districts - Round 15
3rd Grade secure Minor Premiership
There were a number of wider smiles than usual at Asquith due to the quasi home ground feeling the location gave our Cental Coast contingent. Those smiles were distinctly contrasted to this author's regular annoyance at playing away from Chatswood and Captain Angry's (Matt Kelly) usual disposition.
The ground presented itself with very heavy dew and a pleasing tinge of green on the pitch. After the usual self-appointed team of Gordon 3rd Grade vice-captains provided Angry with the usual significant amount of conflicting advice, both captains decided to bowl with Northern Districts winning the toss.
Emo Richtor whips one off his legs on the way to 40
For those interested in seriously trivial trivia, Asquith is one of the only Sydney Grade grounds with its grandstand due east of the pitch; David Phillips and Hawkesbury's 3rd Oval being the others.
Angry and Pic opened with their regular aggressive strategy. This proved successful for the first 5 overs but a few overs of accurate bowling stopped the momentum. The re-implementation of those tactics proved disastrous, with Pic (10 off 19 balls) mistiming to mid-on in the 9th over (1-29) and Angry (16 off 35) slicing a knee high delivery to fine leg in the 10th (2-30). Pic was advised by first slip that a man of his age should not give his wicket away so softly, whilst Angry walked off the field sledging the groundsman for the slow, popping wicket. Angry later told Pic that he should have been hitting over mid-wicket, as opposed to over mid-on, given the in-swinging nature of the bowler. Good advice to take into the finals!
Peace and BG looked as if they would add some backbone to the innings with BG showing Angry and Pic how to hit over the infield, even on the slow, popping pitch. Peace was playing the perfect foil with classy drives and cuts. Unfortunately both were caught behind, Peace (26 off 29) driving in the 19th over (3-83) and BG (33 off 31) in the 21st (4-91) attempting to cut. Once again, one wicket brought two!
The webmaster made it there for Dale's brief stint at the crease
Buff Jones and Emo combined very well. Buff (31 off 39) dealt severely with the bowling for 10 overs including lifting his 3 pound 1 ounce bat horizontally on a number of occasions including a very flat six over square leg. Unfortunately Buff's forearms tired in the 31st over (5-152) with a cut going straight to the keeper similar to BG' either that or was too tired running threes on the long boundary.
Dale (1 off 6) joined Emo briefly before trying to cut the left arm orthodox hard to gully in the 32nd over (6-153).
Arch followed Emo's lead with sensible stroke-play and keen running; despite the groans from the tail when a number of balls from ND's spinners were hit along the ground as opposed to out of it. However, it did not take long for Arch and Emo to utilise their feet and the air once their eyes were honed. Both players looked very comfortable against the spin and took the team to the end of their spells.
The reintroduction of the opening bowlers was effective with Arch (27 off 52) out in the 44th over (7-210) flicking to square leg. Emo played correctly and sensibly throughout his innings with drives, cuts and glances combined with field-pressuring running. Despite his appearance of comfort, he was bowled by an in-swinging yorker in the 45th over (8-213) for the innings high 40 runs off 59 balls.
Adair checks out Jordon Holmes' MySpace page whilst waiting to bat
Ted's (Durie) stay at the crease was very short, out leg before in the 46th over (9-215) for 1 off 3 balls. As always though, he looked good and was unlucky with the ball pitching outside leg stump, although Jordan 'George The Animal Steele' Holmes (http://www.georgesteele.com/) later mentioned he looked 'plum' from the grandstand due-east!
The Animal Holmes joined Dingaling for some heart-stopping cricket; most particularly Jordie's calling and running between wickets. Despite the challenge of batting with Jordie (4 not out off 13), who showed clearly why he was number 11 and should not be promoted despite his burgeoning average, Dinga's timing and confidence with the bat was evident. Nonetheless, in the penultimate over Dinga (8 off 13) was given out leg before wicket' although he would have been dismissed a few balls earlier had ND noticed the umpire's finger prematurely going up before any appeal for caught behind.
At the change of innings, despite ND's 29 extras, the match was probably slightly in ND favour, although no one in the Stag's bowling armada seriously thought that 226 was not going to be enough.
The ND innings started like so many others this year with their opening batsmen either missing Jordie's and Ted's deliveries or letting the ball go through to the keeper. Unfortunately for The Man of Steele, the line for a wide was a foot outside off stump enabling the ND run rate to stay around 2 an over.
The Animal was soon able to hit the edge of an opener's bat and fortunately Emo was able to withdraw himself long enough from the slip cordon's discussions about fashion, jewellery, shoes and arms bands to take an absolutely screaming catch diving to his right at 3rd slip.
Not long after, ND's number 3 batsman edged a ball through gully, flicking Dale's fingers. Having not running a 2 yet, the batsmen were baffled by the possibilities and found themselves stranded mid-pitch with the ball in Peace's gloves from the usual bullet-like arm of Dale.
2 for not much soon became 3 for not much with Ted taking out the middle stump of another batman with the last ball of his spell. George 'The Animal' Steele finished his first spell of 5 overs with 1/14 and Ted had 1/5 off 7 overs.
ND had a long way to go and Emo and Dingaling were never going to allow them back in to the game with season economy rates of 3.48 and 3.73 runs per over respectively. Emo bowled his regular unyielding lines at medium pace with good movement, generating comments from the slip cordon that he should consider himself a bowling all-rounder. Emo was not impressed!
Is that ball going between Archer's legs?
On the other hand, Dingaling was uncharacteristically wayward; that was until Chairman of Selectors Geoff Hickman turned up to the ground between Dingaling's 3rd and 4th overs. The first ball of his 4th over rocketing into leg stump and the rest of his spell lifted to its regular standard. At 4 for not many, even ND did not believe the result of the game was not in doubt; bonus points and finals training became the focus for the Stags.
Then came something this commentator has never witnessed from fanatically observing all forms of cricket since the Windies bowled Australia out for 76 in the First Test of the 1984-85 Australian Summer; a batman getting into position to pull/hook a rising delivery, in this case from Dingaling, then having to uncomfortably pull out of the shot at the last micro-seconds, and then have the delivery adjudicated to be a wide. Wow!!!
In this tame section of the match I received my first age discriminatory sledge, from ND's teenage, middle-order, blond-headed upstart. It reminded me of my first 1st Grade game, back in the 1995-96 season against Penrith, when I found myself in dialogue with a chap unknown to me at the time named Rod Bower; when Rod informed me of his rather gigantic 1st Grade run tally, I replied that it sounded as if he should retire! Nonetheless, I spent the next few balls of this game in not altogether uplifting communication, mainly analysing our young protagonist's batting abilities and the position of ND in the game. This dialogue did not continue for long as the youngster soon misjudged the ground and throw speed of Dingaling in the outfield and was run out a long way from home.
Arch replaced Dingaling and Dale replaced Emo (0/14 off 7). Arch (0/33 off 7) didn't bowl as superb as we have come to expect, dropping short a few times, but everyone is allowed a day off. To Arch's disappointment, Pic at first slip soon strengthen the hypothesis that he only takes catches off no-balls. Although difficult to write, I am duty bound to mention that Pic actually took a clean, well-judged catch off Dingaling later in the innings.
Dale's (0/15 off 5) off-spinners were, and this is stated due to not seeing Dale bowl much, delivered with excellent flight and variation in pace and with good grip. Another arrow in Angry's quiver for the finals!
Although happy to allow 2 bonus points to pass without struggle in the name of finals training, Angry bought back his speed arsenal to ensure the 1 bonus point. Unusually, his pace triumvirate; The Animal (1-28 off 10), Dingaling (2/31 off 10) and Ted (3/11 off 10) were not able to complete the job, leaving one wicket standing. What better time for Angry to bowl his last over in grade cricket! You know he has opened the bowling for 1st Grade on a number of occasions!.
Josh Ling can never be accused of not putting in for his team
Sincerely, the 49th over was a pleasure to watch; so much so that I needed to view it closer, moving from fine leg to first slip. For the record, each ball was bowled with good pace on the line of off-stump with varying lengths but mostly up there. The over went for 1 run with the batmen not looking comfortable, inside-edging numerous deliveries.
After Jordie's next over, the ND innings concluded on 9/138, much further away than Pic's 'we've got 50 too many' hum predicted at the beginning of the ND innings.
Thanks to the erratic Sydney University team defeating Sutherland, the Gordon 3rd Grade team finished the preliminary season as minor premiers; this commentator believing any other position would be a disservice to this team's potential.
There is no doubt in this commentator's mind that if the Gordon 3rd Grade fields with the intensity all observers have come to expect, if it bats with the skill, confidence, judgement and patience that it has done throughout the preliminary season, and if the pace triumvirate lead as they have done for most of the season with the craft and patience of Arch and Emo in solid support, the next 3 weekends at Chatswood Oval with be truly memorable. However, cricket is indeed a funny game, one that punishes less than the best possible efforts, no matter of skill, experience or past performances. A 3rd Grade premiership only deserves to be won by the team that gives it all to that quest; and that team will also enjoy the joys of the victory most.
Bear, Ted, Teddy, or even Dairy (thanks Moth)' just not bloody Judge!