Sunday, December 20, 2009

All-Stars Xmas Cracker. 19/12/09

It would be fair to say that enthusiasm was in short supply 5 Days from Xmas and playing bottom of the table Huntly.

Players were also in short supply - with us just making it to 10 because Gibbo managed to badger Duncan into playing (Turned out to be well worthwhile, but more on that later.)

Several players had plans for the evening and had expressed optimism to their partners that they would be home early (or at least on time.)

We comforted ourselves with the prospect of bowling Huntly out quickly and knocking off the runs.

We were further bouyed when Huntly won the toss and batted!

What followed next was a reminder of how important the mental side of cricket is. Our bowling at the start was erratic, short, wide, full and generally chaotic. The huntly openers were not elegant, but they prospered - putting on 60 odd for the first wicket. Eban picked that up for us, thanks Eb.

Yapper bowled an over of mucky medium pace and was lucky to give himself another, he bowled a wide and got the new batsman on strike, and was delighted when he got the next one on target and hit the poles. The rest of the over was terrible medium pace, and the skipper finally had to face facts and turn to tweakers.

Our bowling was starting to improve but Huntly were in now, and the middle order cashed in, in an agricultural fashion, while gleefully telling each other how easy it was! (Did nothing for the skippers mood.) We removed those pests and the runs dried up - with the last 6 overs going for less than 20 runs.

The book was hilarious - there were 36 overs recorded, Daryl and Duncan only had 6 overs (bowled 7), I had 9 recorded (Bowled 7.) What wasn't funny was that Huntly had scored an handy 176. Yap may or may not have finished with four wickets - might only have been three.

In reply we were forced to open with Duncan and Eban, as both had somewhere to be.

They went for it - as you have to do in those situations - Duncans first scoring shot was a 6 (played and missed the first two he faced).

The skippers hopes were of a couple of quick fire 20s - but the Huntly bowling and fielding was user friendly and before too long (literally) we were 100 without loss. Not long after that, Eban had 50 and departed bowled - heading directly for his car!!

Krishna joined Duncan and scored 8 runs, while Duncan went from 60 to 100 in record time - showing great inventiveness, power and timing. Near the end he started to cramp and hung tough through that too.

There were tense times at the end when we needed 15 for the win and Dunc needed 11 for the hundy. Krishna played his part by "leaving" a number of balls and playing out a maiden.

The last over went:
Wide - 2 feet outside leg.
Four - Smack!
Wide - 2 feet outside leg and 6 feet in the air.
Four - Smack.
Wide - 3 feet outside off (heroic swing and miss.)
Wide - 2 feet outside leg and 6 feet in the air. Heroic swish down leg from Duncan after which he collapsed in agony from cramps.
No Run - Hits it, but can't run due to cramps.
Six - Kapow down the ground - man love ensues.

Well done Duncan - the bowling may not have been flash - but the hitting was clean and the shots were clever! Great to watch.

So we finished on 180/1 off 22 overs. Wow!!

Duncan courageously called his wife (It's 5.30 now) and let her know that he had to go for a drink. In the circumstances we all had to go really.

So a pleasant beer to cap of the first part of the season - we are equal top of the table with Suburbs who we play first game back on the 16th of January.....

POD Points:
Duncan 3
Eban 2

Gotta love the Melville pitch

The A's played at Melville high school in what is traditionally a disaster of a pitch. After first glance we thought it might not be too bad because they had this stuff on it that isn't normally there, I think they call it grass... Skipper won the toss and decided to bat to see what it would do, and also because of this text received at 10am from an unknown player, 'where's Melville?'. Then 10 minutes later, 'I've got a flat tyre'... Thanks Mark Benseman.

Anyway back to the cricket, a hungover M Commins and newly formed opener Josh strolled out to the pitch with high hopes. Unfortunately they both walked back quickly and we were 8-2 early on. Myself and John Griffin put on 30 odd before I smacked a cover drive straight to cover... again. Toby then got a half tracker which he tried to pull but the ball just didn't bounce and he was out lbw. Ryan came in and looked sensational as he does for a little while then again invented a way to get out. J B didn't last long and before long we were 7 down for less than 100 with John hanging in tough. Phil and Mark then managed to crack some fine boundaries and get us over the 150 mark which was at least something to bowl at. We knew that the pitch wasn't the best so we thought if we bowled well we had a good chance of winning. Well batted John Griffin who batted for 40 overs for his 30odd and afterwards felt like a 'ruptured rat'. Good stuff mate.

So to the bowling effort. What to say... the intensity was definitely there, the fielding was great and there were some great balls bowled out there. Unfortunately once more we coughed up too many wides just when we were putting pressure on them for runs and let them off the hook. There was one period when we got it right and bowled 3 maidens in a row then managed to pick up a wicket in the next over. Unfortunately the rest of the time we were too erratic.

It didn't help that the Melville umpires were doing us no favours at all with a couple of plum lbw's and a stumping not given that were clear as day. It also seemed that one of their players had some sort of magical rabbit's foot on him because he hit the ball in the air just left or right of our fielders with what seemed like every shot he played. I guess that's cricket though.

The best of the bowlers was, well, it was me... 2-22 off 3 overs. I felt like a thief getting wickets with rubbish when everyone else was bowling some great stuff and getting no reward. Ryan and Shabir also picked up a wicket each and there was a run out. Well bowled Toby, he was absolutely unplayable when he got it right.

In summary, same old story, not enough runs and too many wides bowled.

POD Points
J Griffin 3
A Stirling 2
T Hawes 1

Sunday, December 13, 2009

All-Stars Polish Off Diamond in Multi-Faceted Display. 12/12/09

At 11am you would have thought there was no chance of a game of cricket!

But the rain stopped at 12.29, and the boys started drifting in. By 12.50pm, the sun was filtering through although the long grass at Swarbrick was quite wet.

The skipper was very pleased to win the toss, and cheerfully chose to bat.

We were off to a bright enough start before Jimmy holed out. New guy John G joined the skipper at the wicket. He looked solid for a while before before putting his ride home in jeopardy by sending the skipper back (on his call) the throw was bang on target and the skipper trudged back, without a single angry look back (which took some effort.)

Dave joined Dave at the wicket, and proceeded to knock up a fluent 37, probably worth 50 if they'd mow the bloody grass.

John G left, and Dan came and went leaving one which hit his off stump. (Two independent sources confirmed a miracle ball.)

John W joined Dave and they put on a nice partnership, with Johns pull shot being used to good effect.

Then Dave gloved to the keeper, and promoted bowler Pieter holed out for one. A few balls later Jared timed a back-cut to gully who took a catch that would make the Pakistanis proud. (His name was Imran too) Suddenly we were 122/7 with 10 overs to go, and things could well have been dodgy.

Eban (15) was full of beans though, and Glen (28) joined him in a big partnership. The Diamonds bowling lost it's shape a bit too. Glen hasn't played for nearly two years, and was clearly nervous, waiting 3 balls before smashing a boundary with the two by four he uses for a bat. He also managed a monster 6.

When Eb fell, Justin joined Glen at the wicket, and the skipper wasn't expecting much (as Justin has asked to bat 11.), but a surprise was in store, with Justin showing plenty of good technique and good running. Our last partnership tweaked Daimonds nipple one last time and we were all out in the 34th for a handy 198.

Dan and Dave opened up for us, and soon had the Diamond openers fishing around.

Dan was bowling great, and the Diamonds had no answer - he had figures of 5 over 3/7.

At the other end Dave couldn't find the bat and after 5 overs the skipper had to make a change - throwing the ball to the obvious choice, Jimmy.

The skippers intuition proved to be right on the money, and Jimmy picked up his first wicket. Ever.

At the other end Jared had replaced Dan with his tweakers, (another inspired change.) and he picked up a nice wicket too - with a nicely flighted delivery.

Throw in a couple of run-outs and that pretty much wrapped it up for the Diamonds. All out for 39. Spank, spank.

POD Points:
Dave 3
Glen 2
Dan 1

Special Mention to Xavier Tras 48 n.o

Next week: Huntly at Steele Park. It's our last game until the 16th of January, so we'd better make it a goody.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A's vs Te Rapa

Well today was definitely an interesting day. At the start of the day I don't think anyone was too keen to play, it was drizzling and overcast with rain forecast. We won the toss and elected to field, hoping to make use of the virgin pitch and the humidity that was around. Unfortunately in the first 10 overs we weren't good enough and it was hard to set a field to bowling that was erratic at best. They weren't scoring heavily, we were just gifting them a lot of runs with wides and no balls and making it too easy for them.

A change was needed and on came Shabir, our supersub from the C's who got a wicket with his first ball. He bowled superbly all day at a tricky stage and ended up with figures of 1-45(ish) after 8 overs. After around 20 overs the rain came back heavily and held us up for an hour or so. At this stage the Prem's next to us decided that the ball was too slippery after a few raindrops so packed up their toys and went home. We got back on the field at 1:15 under gloriously sunny skies to play a 40 over a side game.

When we got back on, Rowly, who told me before the game that he couldn't bowl, bowled 8 overs with figures of 1-39. Te Rapa ended up on 220 for 3 after 40 overs which we thought was definitely gettable considering that we had the best of the batting conditions. I think they only hit around 6 boundaries in their innings due to the outfield being so slow.

Commins and Ryan opened up and Commins (a.k.a Gambhir) had to go to his sisters wedding at 4 so could only bat for an hour. And bat he did. He scored a magnificent 66odd with some booming 6's over midwicket. At one stage we were looking good at 82/2 but unfortunately a star collapse had us at 88/6 after 19 overs. From there we never really recovered, although Josh and Mark B batted well to get us through to 142 all out. In summary, not enough runs from the top 6 apart from Commins and (again) too many wides early on.

Hopefully we can do better against Melville next week.

POD Points
M Commins 3
Shabir 2
Josh 1

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Senior C – Claud Hamilton Cup Points Table

Interesting Reading.

Suburbs, Ham East, Ham Star and HBHS 7th X1 each with 13
Fraser Tech 10
Eastlink and Melville 7
West Ham 4
Diamonds 3
Huntly 0

Sunday, December 06, 2009

All-Stars Speed Bump Against HBHS 7th 11!

It was a murky start on Saturday for the All-Stars. It had rained all week and a bit more on Saturday morning.

Dave was in charge again with Yap battling a cold and feeling about as sharp as a wet cotton bud.

Steele Park resembled a sheep paddock with plenty of grass, and the pitch was very wet.

HBHS weren't going to let steady rain, and a soaking pitch get in the way of a game of cricket. Common sense prevailed though and we sat out a 45 minute delay waiting for the weather to clear.

The time was used productively though, using a couple of sign-writers scrapers to take the water off the pitch. These work like a charm - every team should have two!

The toss was always going to be a big moment, and it didn't go our way, and we found ourselves in the field.

Conditions were tough, and the bowlers did will just to get the ball to the other end. Their openers started solidly, and it wasn't until the skipper made a change that we saw some results. Born-again medium-pacer Yap picked up a C&B in to get us under way.

Unfortunately the damp ball was doing sweet FA, and HBHS prospered with some lusty blows.

Thariq, who had opened bowling pace, came back to bowl his tweakers, and bowled four overs, 2-6, with plenty of loop and spin, but despite his efforts we wound up needing 181 for the win.

The HBHS bowlers got us off to a good start, (and bowled an impressive 32 wides and no-balls), but apart from a stint in the middle where Eban and Thariq were going, we really struggled to get moving. Thariq scored a smooth 53, before departing as he tried to lift the tempo.

In the end, we petered out for 161, having been out-tossed, out-batted, out-bowled and out-fielded by a team we were good enough to beat. One to put behind us I think.

In fact, as I look at the scorebook now, it doesn't come close to tallying - so they even scored better than us. Grim stuff.

Anyhoo, next week it's the jolly green Diamonds at Swarbrick Park - should be a hoot.

POD Points?
Thariq 3
Dave 2
Eb 1

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Given Simple Job, Replacement Captain Fails.

With the regular skipper out resting his dodgy achilles the reigns were thrown to Dave Gunn to keep the machine running.

Following is his account of what followed:
Basically we (I) strategically lost the toss and they chose to field. (Ed. This is where the rot started, we have fielded every time so far.)

Brendon again rock solid at the top. A few moments of panic when Gibbo got out for sweet FA.

(Ed. Daryll is a high performance athlete who needs to be carefully managed. Clearly this did not happen on the weekend.)

Me and Brendon batted till he got out just after drinks. (Ed. I sense a cover-up did Dave run him out?)
Then me and John batted the rest of the overs in a masterful partnership. Me getting most of my runs through the increasignly populated backward point area. John getting most of his 30 with deft defensive pushes until he stunned us all with a lofted pull shot for four.
(Ed. This has a ring of truth, especially the backward point bit. Struggling with the masterful)

A wet soapy ball meant we could basically push and run and we were picking up alot of runs just like that.
We ended up with 177/6
I got 60ish
John 30 and not sure about Brendan.
P.O.D points:
Dave 3
John 2
Brendan 1

So in summary the stand in skipper had a nice bat but failed to plan for the weather, and we missed out on our points. Oh well, sometimes you have to lose to win, and we're on a journey.