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Colts Report vs UNSW - Round 11

Hard fought win for Colts

After playing out at Alexandria the week before, it was a great feeling for the Colts side to be back at Beauchamp. The outfield was lush. It is always lush at Beauchamp. The groundsman has been doing a fantastic job this season and it is great to be playing cricket at Beauchamp. The pitch was consistently hard, had a slight tinge of green and would be a great deck to bat on if we were able to negotiate the new ball.

"Bones" Skinner on his way to an important 93

Normally Millar wouldn't even consider the deck or the outfield. That would be the job of the UNSW captain. The coin has only fallen in his favour twice this year ' even worse than Howitt jnr. However, with some advice from Cam Crawford and some scientific backing from Rod MacDonald, the coin came down with the Queen smiling back and Millar chose to bat.

 Crawford and Weaver, another new opening pairing for the Colts side, strode to the crease and were tempted into a few shots wide outside the off stump. Both looked scratchy and need to get in a few good net sessions before the finals begin. Crawford smoked a couple of lovely shots before being caught in the slips flaying at a wide one.

Harry Turner and Hugh Selby were soon in together and both were dismissed chasing balls wide of the off stump. It was a shame, because both of them had made a resolve to dig in and build their innings. Nevertheless, it was left to Ian 'Bones' Skinner and Jimmy Ellison to bring the team out of a precarious position at 4/50.

Both players have spent some time in the middle recently and they are beginning to get to know how each other plays. Bones is a great judge of length and sweats on those balls he knows he can put away. Otherwise, he is careful and calculating in letting balls pass and defending balls into gaps. Ellison is beginning to rise to the occasion and build not only his own innings but partnerships as well. Whilst not as powerful as Skinner, he kept the score ticking over with singles and well run twos.

With the score at 140, Ellison lost his wicket to another catch behind the wicket and this brought Rod MacDonald to the crease. Known solely for the fact that his is required to fill in for games against UNSW and South Sydney, Rod made the most of some tired bowlers to whisk the score along and continue to swing the pendulum back Gordon's way. Bones began to loosen the shoulders and deposit balls into Chatswood Chase, giving the run rate a much needed boost. However, on 93, just 7 short of a much deserved and important century, he gave a simple catch to the UNSW boys and brought an impressive and valuable innings to a close.

Ellison crunches one off the back foot 

Millar joined MacDonald and knocked a couple of balls into gaps to ensure Rod would have the strike against the older spinner from the Students. Rod decided that some of Skinner's powerful blows had been given too much credit and despatched the spinner for 6-4-6 and brought up his half century. Whilst the Students were searching for the ball in some rose bushes in a house deep in Roseville, Rod informed Millar that he would block out he remaining deliveries in the over because he felt the bowler didn't want 'some little upstart pumping him to all corners when all he wants to do is have a bit of a bowl on a Saturday arvo'.

Fair enough. Millar didn't really understand and replied, 'Just don't get yourself out doing anything cute and fancy'. Rod stepped back, gave himself room and late cut a ball onto his stumps. The skipper was thoroughly unimpressed with that 'less than ideal' shot. This brought Falk to the crease.

Millar smacked successive fours off an old school sparing partner before being dismissed for a run-a-ball 24 by the UNSW captain with a well disguised slower ball. Falk had punished a few deliveries but wasn't afforded the opportunity to continue as Ranney came to the crease and, in only his 4th bat this season, played like his has done so in the nets all season. Pity for Sam there is fielders in the real game. His excuse, 'Falky said we were going to declare so I had to go for it'. The day finished at 9/268 leaving Falk and Campbell not out on 15* and 0* respectively.

Rod has become a regular fixture for UNSW matches

Day 2 saw Campbell hitchhiking down the Pacific Highway after no-one was willing to give him a lift to the game. Turning up with no batting gear, Campbell left Falk stranded on what would have been a magnificent triple hundred and left Millar with no option but to declare.

A few tired (sore) heads struggled with the weekly sightscreen construction and they were even more confused by the removal of some of the benches within the change room. Would this be a sign? Cricketers are an absurdly superstitious bunch. Would the tables be turning for the Gordon boys?

Weaver was late to the game. Although there weren't too many of the boys that noticed. 5th and 6th grade have been highly amused by the number of different excuses that Weaver has given the boys as to why he has been consistently late to games. However, the well seems to be dry. No good story, no funny anecdote, just a simple 'I had things to do and' well' I didn't leave enough time for them'.

The Gordon boys took the field with confidence and it wasn't long until they struck. After playing and missing at a few balls one of the openers made the fatal mistake of getting bat on ball and in the process following Rod MacDonald the last week and chopping onto the stump off Jimmy Campbell. Bowlers are generally much more useful with the ball than they believe they are with the bat.

Bones picked up the next one, removing the off stump of the other opener.

When Campbell picked up the 3rd wicket, Gordon were in a strong position at 3/21 after 20 overs. It was a grind for the UNSW boys. The bowling was tight, although not always penetrating, and gave nothing to the opposition.

Soon after the break Ellison took a screamer off Ranney just behind square leg. It was the first of three match winning catches that Ellison took throughout the day. With a solid innings to pull the Gordon boys out of trouble at 4/50 coupled with the 3 catches in the UNSW innings, Ellison had a massive impact on the outcome of the game.

Perhaps it has been the fact that other teams have easily capitulated or perhaps it was the lack of incentive with a finals place already assured, but the boys took the foot off the accelerator and the other foot off their throat. Regulation waist high catches were put down and fielding became sloppy at best. The boys stopped enjoying their cricket and the bowlers began to get frustrated.

Always a Gordon man, Falk put in for the Colts

With only 60 runs being scored in the first 40 overs, for the loss of 4 wickets, the UNSW team ' who are fighting for a spot in the finals ' needed over 200 runs in the final 40 overs to take something away from the match. After lunch they began in a flourish. Quick running between the wickets and some hard hitting began to get them closer to the 5 runs an over they needed to win the match. It took some brilliant fielding and a good throw by Cam Crawford, forever lurking the covers, coupled with a good take from Selby, to bring about a run out that ended the 5th wicket partnership.

In came a bloke who proceeded to score 50 runs over the top of gully. The bowlers struggled to find a good line and length and began to despair with the luck the batsman had. It didn't help that he was put down in a regulation 2nd slip catch but he made the most of the one shot he could play. The batsman at the other end was put down very early and by this time had made 60-odd and was looking to take the game away from the Stags. It took a good catch by Ellison, again fielding just behind square, to dismiss this batsman and then another good catch at deep long off to dismiss the UNSW captain. 2 big turning points in the match.

It was now a matter of whether the Gordon boys could pick up the final three wickets to secure the victory. The match was out of reach of the UNSW boys, needed 80 from 10 overs with only 3 lower order wickets remaining.

A good ball at the end of Skinner's spell and a high catch to Crawford saw the first of the 3 to fall. This brought the UNSW player they call 'Spinal' to the crease. He proceeded to shut up shop with the other player, clamping down on anything, no matter how inviting the bowlers were making it. It took a premeditated dive across the pitch for Millar to snare a fingertip catch, right handed, square in the middle of the pitch. It could have ended in disaster if the batsman had hit the ball hard but that was never ever going to happen.

Most players were just surprised that Millar could move that quickly. Millar was too. Never have the words agile and athletic been heard in the same sentence as Millar. They probably never will again.

A less promising fielding position for Millar

Crawford too the last catch. A good one, looking right up into the sun. It brought a close to a tough match in which the boys twice brought themselves out of danger to secure another 6 points and remain undefeated. UNSW all out for 190

Plenty of beers were shared with the opposition and, with the arrival of some late, but fabulous, afternoon tea, it was the most enjoyable post match gathering this season. Hard cricket was played on the field and the UNSW boys were a great bunch of blokes off the field.

Two rounds to go against the two Randwick-Petersham sides. The boys need desperately to get to training and work on their catching and general fielding. They all need to take the net sessions seriously, batting like they would in the first fifteen minutes of the match and bowling like they would throughout the day.

Each player needs to stand up and be counted over the next few weeks. With a few players coming back from injury and holiday this week, there will be a fight for positions as the finals approach. It is time for tough and accountable cricket to be played by all eleven players. Most of all, it is time to have fun and enjoy the experience. Let's work towards the joint goals of an undefeated season and more importantly, a premiership.


Dave Millar


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