At Camperdown Oval, Camperdown, on Subday 24 September, 2017: Report by Terry Pontikos
Blues come out all guns blazing in home season opener
In a sizzling spring season opener, the Cricketers Club of New South Wales’ Masters outfit swept all before it in a comprehensive domination of Old Ignatians Cricket Club at Camperdown Oval.
Records tumbled for the Blues – reversing a feeble losing result against the same side in last season’s fixture – as five batsmen retired and a C.C.N.S.W. Masters-best ever 261 runs were blazed.
Mike Pinter, John Munden, Mick McCormick, Brett Favell as well as new chum Frank ‘The Tank’ Chawhan all enjoyed the batter-friendly pitch conditions to plunder an under-strength Ignatians attack to all parts after John Munden plumped for the plank from his toss win.
The Camperdown deck was flat and dry and after learning of Friday’s Hume Highway closure, bowlers were on the lookout for diverted traffic.
It didn’t take long for the Blues to assert themselves with Mick Weaver (19) flat-batting an audacious six over mid-wicket in the fifth over from Rowles. At the other end Mike Pinter (41*) busied himself by building an impressive innings that featured fleet footwork and crisp stroke play.
‘Weaves’ was looking strong and settled but a rush of blood saw the stumps skittled as he played on to Rowles, who exacted sweet revenge. It was to be Old Ignations’ last taste of success for another 194 runs as the Blues top order took total charge.
Skipper John Munden’s (51) trip to the middle saw him instantly pick up the cudgel, putting a lean 2016-17 season behind him in one fell swoop. He rattled the pickets with frequency on his way to retirement, striking six boundaries and a massive major in an authoritative display.
Mick McCormick (40*), was the recipient of some tantalisingly slow change bowling that saw the Blues’ next-at-bats salivating over the veritable smorgasbord of fruit tingles on offer.
The evergreen right-hander expertly played what was in front of him in a typically professional turn where bad balls were dispatched and the good ones denied entry through his guard.
Mike ‘Punts’ Pinter chalked up his first Blues Masters league retirement in fine style with five luscious fours punctuating a momentum-building dig that helped set his side on course to victory.
It was a run-festivus for the rest of us as the Blues bats were watched-on to drinks having already brought up three figures, 1-123 at the cool clip of six an over. The Blues players revelled in the carnival atmosphere, enjoying the newly-minted dressing room and kitchenette facilities, once Bletchley Park’s finest cryptanalysts had been summonsed by ‘El Presidente’ himself – Greg Brooks, to crack Council’s time-lock code to get them open.
It was a rare treat to have some C.C.N.S.W. club-mates in attendance as they arrived after the net-session at Sydney University. Brooks regaled the group with campfire stories fit for any occasion and Crooks appeared to have found an impossible gear of laid-back as he necked a cold stubby.
By this time an unassuming newbie, Frank Chawhan (40*) was pouncing on anything short or tasty in firm fashion. The pugnacious and powerful Chawhan also struck the fence five times in what was now a procession of boundaries for the Blues as the Old Ignatians bowlers could not take a trick on the lifeless straw-like Camperdown tarmac.
Brett Favell (45*) became the fifth Blue to turn on the style and he did that with trademark aplomb – brutish bashes interspersed by a less-often-seen pragmatic shot selection. Favell panelled five fours and plundered a lusty six when on 39 to go into retirement.
‘Favs’ turned up an hour late, his body clock already attuned to daylight savings time a fortnight early yet there are signs that he is a ‘new and improved’ model this season, powered along by a watermelon-flavoured vaping apparatus he used to send smoke signals to his partner in another suburb.
At 2-218 after 34 overs, it was a case of how many for C.C.N.S.W. Dave Benson (1), Terry Pontikos (2), Mark Delaney (0) all gave the scorers arthritic respite in missing out on the bonanza.
And it was left to the skipper Munden to close out the innings with debutant Craig Fletcher (3*). The retiree returned to reach a fabulous 50 with a deuce of frenetic twos before being well caught at midwicket on the last ball of the innings in the search for one last picket. 5-261- was the kind of total the Blues seldom reach and they weren’t about to allow anything to sour the cavalcade of carnage they visited upon Old Ignatians.
The visitors’ innings started in similar fashion with a steady flow of boundaries. It became apparent quite quickly that the warm conditions in concert with a listless deck were playing the most pivotal role in the match. But such was the ocean-liner luxury of scoreboard pressure the Blues could apply, this game was already as good as over.
Thomas had dashed a pair of early boundaries for Ignatians but dragged on a wide ball from Craig Fletcher (9-1-36-2) who was bowling nice early hoopers in to the right handers. The stocky left-arm Queenslander put aside the hurt of the Broncos’ finals performance and showed the type of grit his footy team couldn’t do and went close several times before enticing Tyson to nibble one that was pouched behind by everybody’s favourite Trombonist, Brett Favell.
Lee Witherden (9-2-41-1) was wheeled around to the juicier end and bowled tight lines. Ignatians veteran opener, McKay, was chipping them around in the heat and frustrating any thoughts the Blues had for an early finish/beverage. He was joined by Frawley who started sluggishly but got going soon after and the pair climbed into a big partnership for the third wicket. By drinks, Ignatians were at full speed but already off the cracking pace they required, at 86-1.
It was now the Blues’ turn to chase leather as Frawley smashed six boundaries in consecutive scoring shots on his way to a quick-fire red inker. Munden rolled out the changes to no avail as Dave Benson (7-0-33-1) – in his first spell, Mark Delaney (4-0-18-1), Mick McCormick (2-0-9-1), and Terry Pontikos (5-0-27-0) all toiled manfully but failed to deliver a breakthrough.
Capping one of the great fill-in cameos seen in recent years, Frank Chawhan (4-0-17-1) was the partnership breaker, sneaking one through the gate to remove McKay, whose neck hanky held more moisture than the last three months of average Sydney rainfall.
Easy came in, got going and made life the exact opposite for the Blues as he reached retirement. And Garling was well on the way when he popped a sprocket with some comically over-zealous swinging to retire hurt on 26*. His premature demise signalled the end of the Old Ignatians’ resistance and they would fall well short of the hefty target set them by the rampant Blues bats.
An enormous amount of rust-abatement and cobweb cleansing was on show from both teams but while C.C.N.S.W. phoned it in at times in the field, Benson and Witherden chipped in with late wickets and behind left-armer Fletcher, who shone on debut, were the pick of the Blues’ bowlers.
A pleasing first home encounter with the points banked gets the Blues of to an ideal start in what will undoubtedly prove to be a challenging campaign in the top division of the competition. Another advantage is the knowledge that 200+ will be a par score on Camperdown this season, unless the wicket gets a little TLC from the heavens above.
The Team was: – Mick Weaver 19, Mike Pinter 41*. (ret. not out), Mick McCormick 40* (ret. not out), John Munden (c) 51, Frank Chawhan 40* (ret. not out), Brett Favell (w) 45* (ret not out), David Benson 1, Terry Pontikos 2, Mark Delaney 0, Lee Witherden 2, Craig Fletcher 3*.
The Result was: –
C.C.N.S.W.: – 6-261 (J. Munden 51; B. Favell 45*; M. Pinter 41*.; M. McCormick 40*.; F. Chawhan 40*) (40 overs)
Old Ignatians C.C.: – 5-181 (C. Fletcher 2-36) (40 overs)
By 80 runs.
FoW: – 1-24 (M. Weaver); 2-218 (D. Benson); 3-229 (T. Pontikos); 4-230 (M. Delaney); 5-237 (L. Witherden); 6-259 (J. Munden).
The Bowling was: – L. Witherden 9-2-41-1; C. Fletcher 9-1-36-2; D. Benson 7-0-33-1; M. Delaney 4-0-18-0; M. McCormick 2-0-9-0; T. Pontikos 5-0-27-0 and F. Chawhan 4-0-17-1
The Fielding was: –
Catches: – One to B. Favell (w)
Run-outs: – Nil
Player points: – 3 points to J. Munden; 2 points to B. Favell; 1 point to M. McCormick