3rd Grade Report vs Sydney - Round 4
Middle order collapse not enough to deny 3rd Grade a victory
The Gordon 3rd Grade Stags arrived at ELS Hall ready and willing to keep their winning streak rolling, and also keen to keep the Sydney Tigers waiting another week for win #1.
Nick 'Digger' Dowsley with his bowling boots laced up for the first time this season
Unfortunately the toss was lost by the experienced coin flipper Ed 'Hoppa' Howitt Jnr, with the Tigers deciding to bat on a fairly benign wicket. Sydney got off to a decent start, however the Gordon bowling maintained good lines and lengths ensuring that, even though wicketless, Sydney's run rate was kept at bay. Pat Effeney (3-19 off 10) had the ball swinging early on, yet the determined Tigers edged along nicely. Enter Nick Dowsley. 'The Lawyer' had the bowl nipping both ways, resulting in a sharp caught and bowled to dismiss one of the openers. Soon after, 'Dowser' had his second and finished with great figures of 2-42 off 10.
However this was to be the end of the Sydney wickets falling for a substantial period of time, as the Sydney batsmen took the attack up to the Stag bowlers. At 3-157, things were looking ominous for the Staggies, as the ball started finding the boundary more often than we would have liked. At tea, Sydney were in a commanding position, however Hoppa made sure heads didn't drop, and instantly after tea Justin 'JA' Avendano knocked over the crucial Sydney batsman. JA later told me it was the 'ball of the century' a huge ripper that surprised the Sydney batsman by scooting through rather than turning. Justin bowled terrifically, finishing with figures of 4-59 off 17.
Once the wickets began falling, the momentum shifted to the Stags, and we knocked over the Sydney side for a very-gettable 234 off 75 overs. Also of note in the bowling efforts was Howitt's cheeky 1-26 off 13, but more noteworthy were his verbal efforts directed at the Sydney batsmen, which had youths like JA taking notes. Effeney also had the old ball hooping Irish, dangerous signs for the batsmen in coming weeks!
Avendano pounces on anything short on his way to 61
The Stags then had around 8 overs to face before the close of play, with both openers determined not to let the Sydney side regain momentum for the following week. Thankfully both openers batted aggressively, and no wickets fell in the afternoon session, ensuring Day 1 of the match firmly belonged to Gordon.
Day 2 began for the Stags just as they had left off the previous week, with the openers dictating play. Of substantial note was Justin's 61, which had the side at 0-106. Unfortunately wickets began falling, with Ledgerwood falling for 50 and Rosen coming then going for 11. Both wickets were fairly soft, something which the Stags must eradicate from their game against stronger sides. One can understand Brett's mode of dismissal, caught on the boundary whilst trying to put the Sydney leg spinner's full toss into what was named 'Cheadle Memorial Baseball Field'. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful.
Nick Dowsley came to the crease and continued his fine form contributing 53 to the Stags total. JA fell on a well-made 61, however really should have gone on to score a big one after batting so well for a long period of time. One cannot be too harsh on JA, as he put the middle order in a great position to knock off the remaining runs.
Harry 'D.J Turn-tables' Turner joined 'The Lawyer' at the crease and together the two put on a firm partnership that had Gordon seemingly walking their way to victory at 3-212. However we let our foot off the pedal, with Turner, Richtor, Smith, Dowsley and Howitt all falling within 8 runs. Suddenly there was a massive chance that the Stags could lose, a position that the batsmen should NEVER have allowed happen. Thankfully the old man of the team, Matty Todd combined with Pat Effeney to see the Stags home, but Gordon's lower order was put under immense pressure that should never have occurred. The top order needs to have a good hard look at themselves- 50s are not good enough to win cricket matches, with all batsmen capable of scoring 80s-100s. We need to learn how to grind an innings out rather than just smash a quick 30 and then get out. However as Ed said post match, a win is a win, and hopefully we have all learnt not to give away our wickets so easily.
Special mention must go to JA and 'The Lawyer' who both contributed with bat and ball, ensuring the G[ordon]-train kept rolling along!
This week we face a far tougher opponent in Easts, who will not give us so many scoring opportunities and will capitalise on a collapse like we saw on the weekend, which will be a great test for our play makers up the top of the order. Carn the mighty 3rd Grade Stags!
Yours in cricket,