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4th Grade Report vs Bankstown - Round 13 (Day 1)

4th Grade Report - Round 13 vs. Bankstown (Day 1)

4th grade made their first trip to Killara in many a year with the goal of trying to keep their slim chances of making the finals alive with a victory over Bankstown - a team towards the bottom end of the ladder. The author was looking forward to only his 2nd game at this venue, the first being that bittersweet 2nd grade match against Parramatta where Bradley Ronald 'But What About The Dazzler' Rasool broke the 100-year record by scoring 236* in setting 3-431 declared ' and then losing the next week as they chased them 8 down. Ouch.

Dan shows his class at Killara

A confident side after last week's excellent performance had a different look to it yet again as 4th grade so often does, with Anthony Sherman up to 3s and Lasanga Kannangara up to 2s due to Ian 'What's a heartstring?' Higgins' achilles tendonitis. At least I can still play on my 'injury', Missy. We also lost Umayr Amir to a sprained ankle late on Friday night, so we welcomed back Shayne Lin to 'keep for his first game in a couple of years. Tim Roarty made his 4th grade debut for this season and we welcomed down Julian Stephenson who was unable to bowl due to a side strain and was playing as a batsman. This meant that John 'JB' Blake was captain, taking over from Las.

It started badly for him ' or so we thought anyway ' by losing the toss and Bankstown had no hesitation to bat first on what looked to be a very good pitch. Later on we proved that it was. However like most pitches they will do a bit early doors with the new ball and it is crucial the bowling side must extract anything out of it whilst they can. And thanks to some excellent bowling and fielding, we did just that. Bankstown were all out for a below par score of 84 in just 24 overs.

Andrew 'Plums' Plummer and Chris 'Hungry' Lee started the tremors in the Bankstown batting with superb opening spells with the new ball, both claiming 3 wickets a piece. The pitch nipped about and had pace in it, which enabled both bowlers to mix up their lengths and keep the Bulldogs' batsmen guessing. Lee picked up the first with a regulation nick to 1st slip where Dan Richtor took a smart catch low down, the start of a good day for him. Hungry then induced the number 3 to try and force one of the back foot to one that nipped back and Lin made a hard catch look easy taking it down low to his left from a thin inside edge.

Plums then removed the skipper for a duck with a sharp ball aimed at the ribs which could only he fended off the gloves and Lin took the most athletic of diving catches when the ball looked to be sailing down to fine leg for 4. Plums then bowled the other opener with one that came back in and after JB took another tricky catch, just scraping his fingers underneath the ball at gully from the bowling of Lee, Bankstown were already 5 down inside 8 overs thanks to magnificent spells from the new ball pairing.

"One for you, Dad" - Dan salutes his father

A little bit of fight was then shown as the Bankstown number 6 acquitted himself quite well, and the occasional blow from the other end kept the runs flowing, but then another sharp edge from the number 7 found the left mit of Jules low down at 3rd slip for probably one of the catches of the season, it certainly looked impressive from fine leg. Some might say luck, others pure skill, I'm sure Jules will tell you which one it was at training!

Neil Longhurst and Tim Roarty replaced the openers, the latter with instant success clinging onto a low down caught-and-bowled chance. Tim then struck again with his massive away-hoopers soon after with an edge destined to go straight to first slip, until Lin dove across one handed to claim it in the webbing, the last of his 3 impressive grabs of the day. It was then up to the Pom to finish things off, clipping the top of off with one that nipped back over bat and pad to bowl the number 6 for 30 and then knocking over the young number 11 next ball to leave him on a hat-trick next week. All round a brilliant team effort. I wouldn't class any of the 7 catches as easy and all 4 bowlers put the ball in the right place. Plummer ending with 3-25, Lee managed 3-33, Roarty 2-1 (the 1 being a comical overthrow from Plums), and Longhurst 2-16.

We then had to make sure we finished the job and not take this lightly. Any talk of an outright at tea was quickly quashed. Stuart 'Choppy Chop' Slocombe and Mitchell 'The Kleemster' Kleem opened up and looked confident from ball 1, indeed Mitch did clip the first ball he laid bat on for 6 over square leg. The score had progressed to 40 or so before Bankstown introduced their 15-year-old Green Shield opening bowler into the attack. Coming off a run-up Shoaib Akhtar would've been proud off, he surprised both Choppy and Mitch with his skiddy pace and he did remove both of them, first bowling Mitch and then trapping Choppy LBW.

Both were disappointed as they looked fairly comfortable up to that stage and had both made solid starts. Choppy's dismissal at 2-50 meant Longhurst joined Richtor at the crease who was on about 10 and looking good. Simply put, the next 30 overs or so was carnage. The pair added 170 for the 3rd wicket in that time with Richtor deservedly bringing up his first grade ton for the Stags and Longhurst almost doing the same, but falling at the final hurdle.

Longhurst pastes one to the cover boundary

After passing the Bankstown score the pressure was off and both batsmen played freely, tucking into all the bad deliveries with aplomb. Richtor comfortably outscored Longhurst and by the time the last drinks break rolled around with 20 overs left in the day Dan was in the 90's whilst Neil was in the high 50's. The plan then being to have a go for 10 overs and declare, leaving the Bulldogs a tricky half hour or so. Longers took it upon himself to go long, leaving Rico to make sure he got his ton, and a great moment indeed, with his dad being there on one of the rare occasions he manages to get to see Dan play due to work commitments. On 105 a top-edged pull ended his wonderful knock.

Apart from being dropped at the wicket in the 60s from a wild swing, Dan's knock was chanceless and it was a pleasure for the Pom to bat with him and watch the many sumptuous cover and on drives from the other end, also the running between the wickets was excellent apart from one incident where both were at the bowlers end and the ball never more than 15 yards from the wicket and any time, yet Longers managed to scramble home.

In came the skipper to accompany Longers on his long-handle mission, and inside 7 overs he'd gone from 60 to 90. The next over saw a one bounce four over long-on followed by a full toss despatched to the cover boundary. 98, 2 to go. Or so he thought, not realising he'd missed a single the previous over. The field all came up even telling him he was on 99. So did he grab the single?

What the hell was I trying to do??

No, trying to go for the glory shot over mid-off he ended up spooning a dolly straight to the fielder there. A comical end to what had been a good knock. And much delight to many members of the club, especially 2nd grade who all sent him the same text message afterwards. Thanks lads'.

Jules got a brief knock before we declared at 4-257, and despite a close LBW shout from Plums we couldn't get a wicket in Bankstown's 2nd dig as they ended the day 0-15, still 158 away from making us bat again.

A similar effort next week should hopefully see us claim an outright victory which will throw us right into the mixer, possibly being just 1 point outside the top 6 if results go our way. Hopefully the rain will not come to Bankstown's rescue, the same way that it didn't come to Australia's! Ha ha ha, simply glorious'.

'Two-Neil' Longhurst


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