MASTERS ROUND 4 v WARRINGAH C.C. AT FRANK GRAY OVAL, CURL CURL ON SUNDAY 13 NOVEMBER , 2016: REPORT BY TERRY PONTIKOS
Seifman shines but Blues humbled in the heat by Warringah.
It began in some weirdness. Five burly men with a variety of plump cricket bags in a bench-lined dressing room that was cosier than a Donald Trump slumber party and hotter than his spa at the same soiree. Needless to say the quick kitting-up which would do any Marvel superhero proud wasn’t followed by a pre-match pep-talk.
It was 30 degrees in the shade but a cooling sea breeze soon turned into a ferocious westerly gale – inciting some crazed play – unfortunately mostly from within C.C.N.S.W. ranks.
It was more than the collective Sat-Nav fail and night before ground-swap that saw the Blues enter the fray like Brown’s cows and play like lost sheep. Complacency reared its ugly head for the first time this season after a couple of good wins had lulled the Masters squad into a false economy of their own worth.
This was a scrap for third position on the ladder, a great opportunity for the Blues to gauge their progress against a more-fancied opponent away from home. In a major setback, Warringah taught the Blues the valuable lesson that winning cricket begins with robust preparation. If not physically then at least mentally.
The nightmare started early and there was no letup. After winning the toss and batting, John Munden (7) drove and punctuated the field three times before becoming the first casualty, a spooned a catch from Muldoon with the score on 12. Without any addition Mike Pinter (1) tickled one through to the keeper to give Wyatt his first pole.
With Craig Somers (6) and Jim Hadley (18) at the crease, calm was restored but it didn’t last too long. ‘Hads’ freed the shackles with four booming boundaries in another of his now customary brisk starts. But Somers never got going and Wyatt struck again. 3-37.
The Cricketers’ Club were in disarray but worse was to follow. Somers’ dismissal triggered a middle order meltdown in what appeared to be an audition for places on the national team. With Craig’s wicket it’s fair to say the team went into panic mode at the prospect of finding a new mainstay to glue the innings together.
The Blues lost Mick McCormick (0) to a feather behind from a perfect leg-cutter from Wyatt. Hadley became the first of three scalps claimed by the leg-spin of Adams, followed by Dave Benson (0) who was trapped leg before first ball by the tweaker. Terry Pontikos (22) negotiated the hat-trick ball with the Blues innings now on life support at 6-37.
Brett Favell (6) thumped a straight boundary from Newman before the bowler refurnished his castle two balls later. Lee Witherden (0) didn’t deal with an Isaac Newton-like fruit drop, losing his middle stump to the flighty spinner who was being made to look more like a Murali than a ‘Funky’ Miller type.
For all intents and purposes at 8-52, the match was effectively over. C.C.N.S.W. had lost 8-40 in one of the most chaotic and self-destructive sessions of batting seen since every Australian Test Match this calendar year. The stage was now set for a tail wag. Jonathan Seifman (43*) did not disappoint.
The ‘Tonker from Honkers’ kept it simple as is his usual modus operandi, backing his defence to repel the sugar whilst nourishing the Blues card by sweetly punishing the bad pieces of fruit.
Like many of the Masters’ side who enjoy the feeling of plank on pill, Jonno loves nothing more than to give it some serious tap. But on Sunday he showed brains and brawn – digging himself in with good discipline whilst facing 19 balls for his first six runs – before ultimately cutting loose in a wild blaze of boundaries.
A scything square cut was the shot of the day right out of the screws. There was more wood on it than in Ian Allmey’s back deck. Jonno was finding the bushes as easily as a Nimbin nudist, striking more fours than the entire Warringah side.
There were eight pickets in his whirlwind knock, as he dragged some respectability from a rampant Warringah side whose bowling was made to look a lot more potent than it really was.
Seifman’s retirement came after a flurry of delightful fours within 29 more runs which sizzled from his blade from a further 14 deliveries. Jonno had found his natural rhythm. His innings pepped up a downcast side and at least gave the Blues bowlers a token number to bowl at.
A 61-run partnership for the eighth wicket saved blushes of humiliation but when Pontikos and then Stuart Ridge (1) both fell to Newman before Jonno could re-start his mincer, C.C.N.S.W. had been dispatched for 126 after 32.5 overs. Not even close to enough runs on what would prove a reasonably batsman-friendly track.
Warringah never looked like missing the modest target set for them. Everything had to go right for the Blues but nothing did. Stuart Ridge (7-1-25-2) and Lee Witherden (7-2-18-0) toiled gamely with the new ball. Ridge struck in the fifth over, removing Dolby for 5, Warringah 1-12.
Graham Buck (7-0-30-1) made it stereophonic breakthroughs with the wicket of Day, caught Hadley for 20. Warringah survived a potential two-wicket turning point when David Benson grassed a sharp chance at short cover from Witherden which was followed soon after by a missed stumping chance from Jim Hadley’s bowling.
The moment had passed for an undeserving Blues side who had to suffer the steady process of Warringah’s bats reeling in the total with only two further wickets lost, with David Benson (2.2-1-4-1) chiming in with a late pole.
The pick of the bowlers was Stuart Ridge who consistently hit the doily outside off and pressured the batsmen early. All of the other Blue canon-folk bowled well and without much luck but this was a tale about the batsmen failing to produce a total the bowlers could realistically defend.
The Team was (playing 12/batting 11): – John Munden (c) 7, Mike Pinter 1, Craig Somers 6, Jim Hadley18, Mick McCormick 0, Brett Favell (w) 6, David Benson 0, Terry Pontikos 22, Lee Witherden 0, Jonathan Seifman 44*, Stuart Ridge 1 and Graham Buck dnb
The Result was: –
C.C.N.S.W.: – 10-126 (J. Seifman 44*) (32.5 overs)
Warringah C.C.: – 4-127 (31.2 overs)
By 6 wickets.
FoW: – 1-12 (M. Pinter) 2-12 (J. Munden) 3-37 (M. McCormick) 4-37 (C. Somers) 5-37 (J. Hadley) 6-37 (D. Benson) 7-51 (B. Favell) 8-52 (L. Witherden) 9-116 (T. Pontikos) 10-126 (S. Ridge)
The Bowling was: – S. Ridge 7-1-25-2. L. Witherden 7-2-18-0, G. Buck 7-0-30-1, J. Seifman 2-0-12-0, J Hadley 5-0-25-0, M. McCormick 1-0-10-0 and D. Benson 2.2-1-4-1
The Fielding was: – Stumpings: Nil
Catches: One catch to each of G. Buck; J. Hadley, J. Munden and L. Witherden
Run-outs: – Nil
Player Points: – 3 points to Jonathan Seifman; 2 points to Terry Pontikos; 1 point to Stuart Ridge