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3rd Grade Report vs Sutherland - Round 8

3's Sit On Top Of Table

"Lads, this is our biggest game of the season."

Captain Kelly utters these words or something similar every game, but this time it was certainly true. Being tied with Sutherland on 40 points atop the table with the likes of UTS Balmain (the only team to beat 3rd grade so far) and next weeks opponents Penrith breathing down our necks we couldn't afford any slip-ups if we want to remain top of the pile come March. However Kells broke tradition a little bit later in winning the toss and, after a bit of deliberation, decided to bowl first on a greenish Chatswood wicket, the overhead conditions also being of help to the fielding side.

3rd Grade celebrate Longhurst's wicket

Adair Durie and Chris Lee made great use of these conditions in hitting the deck hard and swinging the ball and keeping the Sutherland openers under the pump. It was this pressure that lead to the breakthrough with a run out. The tall left-hander pushed one to cover point, called his mate through, realized it was a bad call and sent him back, and for Dave 'Paul Collingwood' Michael the rest was easy. The trademark swoop, sharp pick up and bullet throw was backed up by Benny Garrett's celebration when the throw was only halfway to its target at the bowlers end stumps.

Despite this great start and the standard of bowling on display, Sutherland ended the shortened first day 4-140 off 40 overs when the heavens well and truly opened. Adair Durie ended with 2-for and Ben Garrett claimed a run-out. Lee, Neil Longhurst and Elliot Richtor toiled hard unfortunately for no reward; it would be fair to say that with a bit of luck and without the ridiculously short boundary on the railway track side the score could've been completely different.

When the game was officially abandoned for the day, it was followed by a collective groan in the changing rooms when we discovered that if we'd have bowled another over, we could've started at the normal 12:30pm instead of having to get 120 overs in next week by starting at 9:30am.

Arriving 'bright' and early at Chatswood for Day 2 we discovered that there was a few damp patches on the wicket even though the covers that had been put on perfectly by the Pom and Emo the previous evening. Despite following Captain Kells orders of putting down both the white and blue covers we didn't realize there were two white ones ' we put the old one down which obviously didn't work quite so well. Little did we know at the time it was a master stroke....

The Pom, Longhurst, is used to the damp wickets anyway

The Sutherland batsman seemed to be worried about the wet patches at either end and came out all guns blazing playing a shot a ball. Yet despite a few balls keeping low, and a couple taking off, they weren't actually anything to do with those areas, and no wickets fell due to the ball doing loads from having pitched in them. Chris Lee got what he deserved from the previous week by picking up both the not out batsman from last week, one bowled after a dreadful pull shot to a ball that kept a tad low, and the other one edged a cut to 1st slip where Dan Richtor took a smart catch low down. The Stags now right on top after Lee's spell, and Longers came on and claimed the 7th wicket immediately with a yorker that hit the batsman flush on the toe in front of all three.

At the top end, Judgie had been toiling away and despite bowling superbly hadn't added to his tally from the previous Saturday. When he cleaned up the last recognized batsman (who should have been caught by Gilo earlier in the gully off Chris Lee if he hadn't have slipped in trying to dive forward), that was the beginning of the end as he then cleaned up numbers 10 and 11 with, as Kells so nicely put it, 'straight half volleys'. A lovely way to congratulate your opening bowler on his figures of 5-69 and first 'Michelle' (5 for) since his comeback. It was brilliant to watch Judgie reeling off over after over, bowling 15 overs unchanged on day 2 and if we're going to compete for the Premiership his experience and ability will be crucial in helping us attain this.








The Judge, Adair Durie, impresses the young Pom with a fine display of bowling and figures of 5/69

Chris Lee also bowled really well for his 2-49 and Longhurst chipped in with 1-56. Chris Archer did not get a bowl in seamer friendly conditions, however Archie will be required for many overs in the upcoming games. So Sutherland dismissed for 218, which was going to be hard work on a bowler-friendly wicket, and this also left us with a tricky 16-minute session til lunch.

Kells and Benny 'The Right-Handed Mitchell Kleem' Garratt looked like getting through it with no problems, especially after Kells dispatched one onto the train tracks. Alas a few balls later he left one that nipped back a long way and brushed the top of his pad. Despite the height and the length of the patented front-foot Kelly stride he was adjudged LBW, and not overly impressed with it. Longhurst made the point that Harmison was given out the same way in the 2nd test debacle in a equally questionable and intriguing decision, but when he looked round to see where a reply might come from he realized everyone had already run for cover. 1-16 at lunch.

That's one more for the City Rail staff to retrive

James Hosking joined BG and they immediately took the game straight to the Sutherland attack. We were 57 after 10 overs and the run rate continued to be sustained thanks to some sparkling strokeplay from the pair. BG was being especially harsh on the seamers including one of the trademark sixes over extra cover and Hosko punishing any bad balls straight to the fence and lifting the spinners straight over their heads.

The score was around 150 when Jimmy tried one too many aerial shots off the young Talay, who bowls both right and left arm off spin, and found mid-on. Matty Makepeace, who had a solid if quiet game with his first effort with the gloves in a while, unfortunately also tried to clear the in-field early and was caught at mid-off. The Peace gone for a duck. A collapse on our hands? No chance, as yet another man in form Elliot "Emo" Richtor came to the crease and nailed a couple of his favourite square drives to the fence to wrestle back the initiative. BG brought up his ton shortly before tea in a pretty much chanceless knock, and his first ever grade century. It really was entertaining to watch and considering the wicket its up there with any innings I've seen this season, the likes of tons from Reg (Damon Livermore), Rocket (Rod Hokin), Cake (Matt Michael), Hosko (James Hosking) and a little knock of 236 from the Dazzler (Brad Rasool).

Congratulations Ben on your maiden Grade hundred

We reached tea 3 down needing 30 or so, and the final session of play was dominated by the young Emo Richtor, matching anything seen throughout the day regarding timing and shots off both the front and back foot. We eventually coasted home with almost a full session left having knocked off the target in 45 overs. Emo ending on 34 not out and BG on 112 not out. An extremely happy and euphoric Gordon camp belted the song out knowing we'd gone top out on our own, and it's only ours to lose now. The ability and the confidence is there, its just a case of producing week in, week out as we have done pretty much so far.

Congratulations to first and second grade and the Colts for their excellent victories, and lets try and keep this momentum going for the Penrith game and finish on a high for Christmas and get ourselves up that club championship table to a position that befits the talent throughout the club.

'3-2, we're gonna win 3-2''

Neil Longhurst (slightly delirious with his prediction about the Pom's chances in the Ashes)


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