Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Strange day at the Galla

It's always a fiery encounter when Star take the field against old foes Old Boys, but what transpired was one of the more unusual days of cricket the writer has been involved in.

It started when Cummo and Mike W walked out at 9.20 to inspect the pitch, only to find that no pitch had been prepared. After some mad ringing around, Ru was finally contacted for us to find we had been moved to Galla 4. The new problem was that the A's were there expecting to play and no one knew where they were playing, with Ru now uncontactable.

With no real warm up and Old Boys deciding to bat first, we took the field with no umpire, thanking the lord that the new Indian umpire who sawed through the Suburbs innings the two weeks before was nowhere in sight. This was short lived as he turned up late to take his place in the third over. A run out was our first wicket as a stupid second run reminiscent of the last ball of the week before saw them 30/1. It wasn't long before the wickets started falling including a stifled appeal from Garry which saw Old Boys captain Goat given for a ball that would have missed another couple of stumps. Rowly was the stand out with an excellent 5 wicket haul, with good backup from Joel where we really turned the screws. At 101/9 just after lunch we thought it was all but over, however a 35 run last wicket stand saw them through to 136 all out, on what we believed was a good batting deck.

Zeb was adjudged LBW early, which was the start of some rediculous over appealing from old boys. Everything that hit the pad was appealed for, including our second wicket when Aidan fell. The problem was it was an appeal for caught behind down leg side which they knew was not out, only for when Aidan shook his head and turned away, an old boys player said ' look, he's walking' and the umpire duly put the finger up. Bizarre. Ollie was the next one fired with a ball going well down. Brenton was gone next LBW and we were thinking of walking off as it was getting ludicrous. When Cummo was fired LBW coming down the pitch to L Weights off spin, a few choice comments were made to the umpire about some silly umpiring, followed by a few quiet words to Jason Perret, ex old boys captain filling in on vacation from Oz, politely telling him to cut his holiday short and return to his new found homeland. Another 2 LBW's in the last five wickets saw 6 LBW's in the innings and a dodgy caught behind. However, through all this, Guy decided not to use his pad and punished the old boys bowlers to all parts. A superb knock falling four short of his maiden century with a lap shot to a medium pacer bringing his down fall.

All out for 187 and about 15 overs left in the day made us think some choice appealing would see them lose a few wickets late in the day. However, this was not to be the case, possibly due to Cummo's outburst earlier and the umpire in the next game having a chat at tea, the finger was put away and possibly the closest LBW we appealed for all day was turned down. We did get them one down and they are yet to make our score, which will leave an interesting day next week, especially with a likely suspension for Captain Cummo on the cards.

Monday, January 19, 2009

One More Full Toss And Youre Off!

On a day that should have been filled with Star victory joy, Star A managed the improbable and lost 10 wickets in 29 overs to lose to st Paul's after effectively having them 4 down with less than zero on the scoreboard!

The second day bowling started well with the skipper collecting 3 wickets before St Paul's managed to pass the deficit. At the other end Charles Johnston toiled away brilliantly, only to have two sitters put down in the slips and have another few go wide or high. The St Paul's tail wagged, very slowly, but it still got them a lead of 152 with 29 overs to go. The Star boys looked confident to chase the small total, always keeping in mind that 29 overs is not a long time to survive if the unthinkable happened. That was not an option at the time, as the Star batting lineup was stacked with two very good Prems batsman and some in form A's. The reality dawned very quickly however and wickets tumbled at regular intervals. It seemed that Star had missed a trick. The wicket misbehaved a little bit from the top end if the ball was fullish, and Star lost several players to the dreaded LBW. This excuse however falls a long way short of redeeming the disgrace that was the second batting innings from Star. The real lack of application and the poor shot selection that has been evident all season once again plagued the Star batsmen.

To top the day off Star got "officially" warned for asking the batsmen whether he was wearing keeping pads. Apparently this question was so personal that it left the batsman in such a state that he required counselling after the game. There was also some sledging towards the umpire (also the St Paul's coach) when he didn't give a runout. Star's own fill in Currymuncher piped up: "Do you think Littlejohn would have given that?". Nothing like winding the umpire up for the better of the team! The same Currymuncher also earned the Star skipper and openings bowler an official warning when he kindly pointed out to the umpire that a bowler may be removed if he bowls 3 waist high full tosses. So two slower balls later the Star skipper nearly found himself red carded and in the sinbin!

In the end the best part of the day came when the fire was hot and some juicy steak was served with mushroom sauce! So first innings points to Star, but the hurt of getting beaten by 12 year olds will linger for just a little while yet!

Prems Miracle Victory

It's the last ball of the day and Melville are 195/9, with three runs required for victory. Joel bowls a full delivery on off stump and the ball is driven to Cummo at a deepish mid off. Surely they'll only take the single and prevent us from taking any points. But it's a brain explosion and two is called. Joel takes the throw and rips the bails off, the batsman is out by a good few metres and the man lovin begins.

The day began with Melville being at their conservative best and batting on, already having a 110 run lead. 25 runs later and Damo finishes off the innings, leaving a 140 run deficit. Another good start between Zeb and Cam Merchant sees us at 118/1 at lunch and in a good position to save the game. Unfortunately once more we lose wickets after a break with Cam being given out to a dodgy LBW three balls after lunch for 77. A dodgy run out, and another bad LBW against Guy, plus some poor batting leaves us 180/7 before the fightback began. A fighting 30 from Brenton, and 52 and 40 at more than a run a ball from Mike W and Garry respectively left Cooch and Joel to chip in with some handy runs before a declaration was made at 330.

197 in 29 overs was Melvilles target, and at 148/1 off about 16 overs with Mike Dodunski and Keir Bettley both past 50, things were not looking good. However when Mike W got one to roll along the pitch to dismiss Dodo, the wickets started falling. A packed offside field and some brilliant line and lenth bowling from Brenton (3/14) and Joel (2/65) saw Melville panick and collapse when the runs couldn't be scored.

A famous Star win and valuable outright points to move us back into the hunt for the final, with us facing fierce old rivals Old Boys in a must win game next weekend.

Updated points table
Boys High 39
Melville 24
Old Boys 20
Star 14
Suburbs 13
Tech 11

Monday, January 12, 2009

A's Steady against St Paul's

On a perfect day for swing bowling, Star arrived at St Paul's with the intention to bat all day, but after a quick look at the damp grassy pitch the decision was made to bowl even though Star was 2 short at the start of play.

The openings bowlers removed the top order in swift fashion, with the red ball swinging like a 1970's proverbial! It was very hot and muggy and the bowlers seemed to lose their zip a bit quicker than normal. The job was done however after a niggly 29 from a very lucky St Paul's tailender took the oppo to 143 all out. The Te Puke twins ( Ryan & Rohit) got Star off to a good start by seeing off the new ball, wondering if the Schoolboys would actually swing the ball if they didn't run in from the boundary trying to bowl 140kmph!

Controversy struck as David Gunn got bowled off a no-ball (for above the waist on the full) and the game descended into a bit of kayos before sanity prevailed and the game continued. David went on to make 63 which steered Star to first innings points. Star ended up with a small lead, and managed to get the night watchman to the crease courtesy of a super Charles Johnston yorker.

So the game is beautifully poised for an exciting day's cricket next week. If Star can manage to win this one they will move into second place on the points table just below the high flying Te Rapa.

Prems in trouble...Again

A brown, quick looking deck saw our stand in captain Mark decide to bat first and pile on some runs against Melville in our first game back after Christmas. A good start from Zeb (28) and Damo (23) saw us through the new ball, before three quick wickets saw us at 60/3. Rebuilding was required and Guy Schwikkard (39) and Mark Commins (29) put on a brisk 70 runs before lunch. Unfortunately that was about the end of the scoring, as Mike Dodunski tore through our middle and tail after lunch to leave us all out for 173. A disappointing effort and again showing the inability of our batsmen to go on and get 'the big one'.
Things looked on the improve as Damo and Mike W ripped through the Melville top order to leave them 30/3. Again it was Dodunski to the rescue for Melville, hitting bowlers to all parts for a well deserved 106. Two big partnerships and Melville were 240/5 late in the day before Damo got a wicket with some turning, bouncing off spin, and Brenton snaring a couple of caught behinds with some accurate outswing to leave them 280/9. A big effort is required by the batsmen next week to ensure at least a point is salvaged from the mtach.