Social Game V The XXIX Club At The Albert Ground, Melbourne

At The Albert Ground, Melbourne On Thursday 8 February 2017: Report By Tom Robertson

Clear blue skies greeted us at the magnificent Albert Ground. The outfield is pure carpet and the square is impeccable. Five of us had flown down but the side was mostly filled with the C.C.N.S.W. Victorian contingent. A fine bunch of people they are as well. (Ed note: David Byrnes who was to captain, had to pull out at the last minute because of the health of his father who was to die on the Friday; Tom Robertson took over as Captain and Steven Mihelakos kindly guested for us)

As captain, I wanted to field first as we have historically batted first and have never posted a decent total. XXIXers skipper Mark was unsure of my proposal thinking I was somehow scheming. Little did he know of the depth of his counterpart. We eventually tossed and I won sending the now confused and dazed captain back to the sheds to pad up. A good start.

Joe Scarcella and Will Blair (Jnr) opened up and were bowling well with mostly dot balls except for the odd slash over the infield. Will struck first with a classic top of off ball. Will looks like he could have some real wheels in a few years. Joe bowled well until the wind changed and Peter Sherman came on to bowl spin. He was immediately effective with some nice drift and spin. Things were going our way and wickets were falling from tight accurate bowling.

Will hit the stumps again and things felt in control, yet I had a feeling that the XXIXers had something up their sleeve. Scarcella swung round to the city end and Sherman bowled out his seven getting three wickets with a nice catch behind by Steve Kish.

Spinners were operating from the hotel end with mixed success and Billy Blair (Snr) was bowling an impeccable line from the city end. Straight after drinks Lachlan Stonehouse took a screamer at first slip off Billy Blair (Snr): – pure class from a seasoned pro.

Numbers 8 and 9 proved hard to budge and a decent total was now looming. With a few lbws we were lucky to stop the end of innings launch and trimmed the score down to 155. Something I thought we could run down.

A quick changeover ensued and we were underway with Euan Robertson and Steve Mihelakos. Mihelakos played some classic opening batsman’s shots quickly getting to 18 before succumbing to the short one and being caught at fine leg. Looks like another talented Victorian that should be playing for C.C.N.S.W. whenever he can. Steve Kish and William Stonehouse (Jnr) both went for ducks and an air of panic struck the mentally fragile visiting captain.

Lachlan Stonehouse strode out with an air of confidence (not sure what he bases that on). Euan Robertson (11) then fell but had done some good work in seeing off the openers. Stuart Stockdale came in and swung hard with what looked like revenge on a club that didn’t pick him for this fixture. He tried his luck once too many times and was bowled for a handy 10.

That bought Bill Blair (Snr) out to bat with Lachlan Stonehouse and I had quietly put a lot on this partnership. Stonehouse played beautifully off his legs and swung hard (and mostly missed) outside off. An area that definitely needs work there Lachlan, cheers mate.

He then let one go that careered straight into off stump. Whoops! It was however a well crafted 42. Tom Robertson then joined Bill Blair (Snr) and got off the mark with a well timed cover drive and felt like chasing the total down by himself. A few lusty blows later and he was on his way (15) leaving Billy and the tail hopefully to get 38 more.

Ken Yardy (9) batted well with Billy getting us 17 closer. William Blair (Jnr) came out and joined Dad for only a few balls smashing one straight to mid off. 20 to get with one wicket left and six overs left. Nerve racking!

Joe Scarcella played smart cricket defending when he needed to and ran well. It all came down to the last over with Billy Blair (Snr) on strike and 4 to get (or so we thought at the time, turned out we only needed 2). Billy hit a single and the pressure was on Joe Scarcella. He drew upon his wealth of experience and he manoeuvred a bye. Go Joey!!

We have been without a win for some time against the XXIXers so this was a sweet victory. A great day was had with a great bunch of guys and absolutely fantastic hospitality. I know that I’ll always be first to put my hand up for this fixture and I definitely won’t be flying back on the same day as it cuts short spending time with our wonderful hosts.

Now we just need someone to bring the C.C.N.S.W. flag back (Ed note Joe Scarcella capped a triumphant day by recovering the flag)

The Team was (playing 12):- Euan Robertson 11, Steven Mihelakos 18, Steve Kish (w) 0, William Stonehouse 0, Lachlan Stonehouse 42, Stuart Stockdale 10, Billy Blair (Snr) 33*, Tom Robertson (c) 15, Ken Yardy 9, William Blair (Jnr) 0, and Joe Scarcella 3*; Peter Sherman (dnb)

The Result was: –

XXIX Club: – 10-155 (P. Sherman 3-28, W. Blair (Snr) 3-27) (33.1 overs)

Lost to

C.C.N.S.W.: 9 – 156 (L. Stonehouse 42; W. Blair (Snr) 33*) (34.2 overs)

By one wicket

FoW: – 1-28 (S. Mihelakos) 2-29 (S. Kish),3-29 (W. Stonehouse), 4-43 (Euan Robertson), 5-63 (S. Stockdale), 6-85 (L. Stonehouse), 7-118 (T. Robertson), 8-135 (K. Yardy), 9-138 (W. Blair (Jnr ))

The Bowling was: – J. Scarcella 7-0-23-1, W, Blair (Jnr) 7-1-33-2, P. Sherman 7-1-28-3, W. Stonehouse 2-0-7-0, W. Blair (Snr) 7-1-27-3, Euan Robertson 2-0-16-0, L. Stonehouse 1-0-13-0, S. Mihelakos 1-0-1-0, T. Robertson 0.1-0-0-1

The Fielding was: – Stumpings: none

Catches: 2 to S. Kish; One each to T. Robertson and L. Stonehouse.

Run outs: None

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