Following the respective fixtures against Manly on Saturday, the boys were especially keen for the drive out to the base of the mountains, on what promised to be another stinker of an Aussie Summer Sunday.
Although the weekend didn't contain any wins for Sam Watts, 8 wickets across the two games was a massive personal achievement
As has become the tradition over past weeks, we kicked off our warm up with some high intensity fielding soccer. A sport not widely known for its physical contact, that didn’t stop Axel Cahlin from asserting his authority early on leaving a dazed Regan Klemt sprawled in a tangled mess with the biggest hit seen since big bad Barry laid that left hook on West Coast’s Brent Staker back in 2008.
Despite this massive blow to the bottom 6’s stocks, they managed to pull off a gritty 3-0 win due in part to some sloppy defense from the top 5.
There were some jokes about Cam New heading over to the States after Xmas... based on the following paragraph... Crawford will track him down. Where ever he goes.
The post mortem suggested they were probably being weighed down by ageing coach and ‘yarn spinner’ Tym “Crawf” Crawfors, who saw fit to get one last stretch out of his legs while he still has enough hair to comb over his increasingly roomy forehead.
It's hard not to capture Axel Cahin in action. Count the shots in this article alone.
The captains got together, and once Stobes successfully lost the toss, the Staggies were sent once again into the field, eager to open the account early on a pitch which looked brand new despite seeing 100 overs the day before.
The man himself and debutant Will Calov – fresh from a stint over in the UK - got things underway and despite a few loose deliveries early on, found that there was enough on offer for the bowlers if they hit the deck hard and didn’t offer too much width.
Will Calov, Tim Ferrero and skipper Charlies Stobo apply heat to the Cats
And so it was with a bit of good fortune that Will kicked the Stags off when a well struck straight drive from opener Cam Weir caught just enough of Will’s finger before crashing into the stumps at the non-strikers for a “tragic” run out.
Charlie Booth bowls with good control during the middle overs
Continued effective bowling by “Chuck” Stobo, and the introduction of our next debutant Sammy Watts, saw the second of the Penrith’s under age state representative opener on his way with the score 2-41 off 8 – Max Papworth taking a scintillating grab one-handed to his right despite suffering from what appeared to be a broken toe.
Wickets fell at steady intervals throughout the middle of the innings as both teams felt the effects of the increasing heat. The only salvation from which proved to be the drinks breaks scheduled every 10 overs and the inspired inclusion of some ice-cold towels supplied by Timmy Ferrero’s mum and which Jack Colley took to like Matt Preston to a delicately crafted silk cravat.
Excellent spells by Tim, Reagan and then Boothy and an all round top effort in the field kept the pressure on the Cats who were suddenly unwilling to take any extra runs on offer.
Calov returned to the crease for the Stags claiming two more wickets including danger man Sammut who had continued his form against the GDCC, slicing his way to 50 before holding out to Reagan at mid off, leaving the Penrith contingent hanging at 5-122 in the 32nd.
Back in the country, and immediately in all of Tiddles Fantasy League sides, Will Calov makes an impression on his return
The lower middle order scored slowly as the field was pushed back, singles replacing boundaries in the final overs. Charlie Booth took a hanger at gully to remove the very chirpy Isherwood off the bowling of Stobo making it 6-152 in the 41st.
The seam cartel, headed by “Chobes” and Timmy (who picked up a run out of his own follow-through) from the rural end and Sammy from the Pavilion end closed up the innings.
Sam claiming two quick wickets in the final over to take his allotment to 4 wickets on debut and 8 wickets for the weekend.
Well done Sam, top effort mate!
Tim Ferrero looks like he's modelled his action on Reagan Klemt's
With the job half done, New and Spratt went about chasing the Cats 9/200. Spratty got off to a flier as usual – catching the eye of Penrith’s local news crew – and plundered the bowlers down the ground with ease.
With the score on 50, a few wickets fell quickly which brought Axel and Jack together at the crease. The pair batted with great intent, turning the ball into gaps and putting the bad balls to the boundary.
Jack (34) fell to an LBW shout, 2 in two days!, and was replaced by Papworth, who looked to continue with the intent Jack had shown but was undone by a bit of extra turn as he advanced down the wicket to the offie.
Before he padded up, Jack Colley went on the attack against the Cats' bowlers
The Stags were left at 4-119 from 33. A little behind the 8-ball. Chuckles “Spotto” Stobo showed great class, steering the ball into gaps and supporting Axel in the chase.
Cahin is strong off his legs.
The pair took the total to 169 before Stobes (22) was caught at midwicket. Axel fell the next over, caught on the boundary for a terrific 46 (90 runs for the weekend), which meant the boys now sat at 8-169 still requiring 32 from the remaining 4 overs.
Enter Charles “Boothman” Booth. In what can only be described as one of the major turning points of the match, Charlie controlled the tempo of the game between balls with great maturity and charged the spinners with confidence, ably supported by Will Calov. The boys ran extremely well between the wickets, turning ones into twos and really getting us back in the game.
And if you didn't think the onside was his scoring zone, here's more of Cahlin
When a mix-up saw Charlie (16) run out two balls into the 49th over; the task fell to the two debutants. 10 balls, 14 runs, 1 wicket.
Everything stopped. Stobes and Timmy gave up their game of spotto. Boothy’s old man took a break from his sips of chandy and Tiddles could be seen staring down the barrel of his camera, eager to prove he can take photos of more than just Axel Cahlin or Tim Ferrero.
Skipper "Chuck" Stobo partners with Axel to eat away at the Cats total
With just one over remaining, they boys had whittled the required runs down to 10, and when the Penrith opener started off with a no-ball, it seemed like the unthinkable was all too possible. A single and a two of the next two deliveries saw us needing only 6 off 4 and when Will heaved the next ball over mid off for a boundary, only 2 runs were needed from 3 balls. No small task.
Tempers were running hot, the field came in and a dot of the next ball made it 2 from 2. A quick single and a fumble brought the scores level with one ball remaining in the match.
Shock us! Chris Spratt on the hook. And looks strong down the ground too.
A mammoth effort by Will and Sam at the death, which deserved to be converted into a win.
Unfortunately, a bit of sharp fielding saw Ryan Hackney throw down the non-strikers end with enough evidence for the umpire to rule Sam short of his ground.
An unbelievable finish to a game that had a bit of everything. A sterling effort by the boys in the field, and a monumental battle with the willow.
Special mentions to the Spratt man, Axel and Jack the "Guzzler" Colley for setting the innings up; and to Boothy and Stobes who mixed support with attack beautifully. But with 6 wickets (and a run out…not that one) between them, and for nearly getting the boys over the line, this writer was most impressed by the efforts of our two debutants.
Before Cam New signs off his career at Gordon, here's final shot of Cahlin - but the rarer 'offside shot' kind
Devastating to end up sharing the points, but a valiant effort to get us there with the ball and the bat! Well done!
So where does this leave PGs? 5 games, 2 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie see us on 15 points and in 9th place. Just one point behind the Cats and two behind Sydney and Bankstown with 1 game left against North Sydney on Jan 10 down ol’ Chatswood way.
From all of us at PGs, wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May the Christmas turkeys be plump and the backyard cricket decks be flat (or a green demon if you’re into that kind of thing).
Cam “Newy” New
Thanks also to Reagan for his heartfelt well wishes in the post game wrap up.
Appreciate it. Champ.