At Camperdown Oval, Camperdown, On Sunday 19 February, 2017. Report By Mike Weaver
THE BLUES’ LOSE ‘THE BLUES’, REGAIN WINNING WAYS, IN FINAL HOME GAME AT CAMPERDOWN
C.C.N.S.W. Masters have chased down Pennant Hills respectable 8-182 off 40 overs, in just 32.5 overs and with 3 wickets to spare. Cricketers’ Club was without regular skipper John Munden, who succumbed late to a calf strain. Experienced players Mick McCormick and Jim Hadley could not be included in the eleven. This made the win, against very good opponents, more meritorious. Star opening batsman Craig Somers, after a communication problem during the week, was still able to assume his place in the final lineup.
The win looks relatively easy, however Pennant Hills fought hard and if some opportunities had been taken by them, may well have come out on top.
Stand in Skipper Mike Weaver won the toss. It had taken a large consortium of team advisers to persuade him not to bat upon winning, due to the green tinge and softness of the wicket. A deal was done, if C.C.N.S.W. were to bowl first, with the captain wanting personal guarantees that there would not be any ‘choke’ batting second.
This same consortium of advisers continued to voice their views and suggestions constantly to their on-field leader throughout the match Craig Somers, Steve Beck, Brett Favell, Lee Witherden, Graham Buck, and Garry James, thank you for your regular stream of information, suggestions and general assistance).
Involvement and input by all is an important part of ‘The Blues” team culture.
Lee Witherden and Graham Buck opened the bowling, with Lee bowling up the hill. Lee was able to extract a wicket with his second ball, a low out swinging full toss, squeezed to gully and snapped up expertly by Somers, to get the unfortunate P.H. opener for a duck. Graham began a little nervously and his loose deliveries were very well dispatched by the Pennant Hills No. 3 and eventual retiree Paris, who took full advantage of the very short leg side boundary.
Crack all rounder and successful Nelson New Zealand tourist David Benson, was called upon to relieve Graham, who was to be saved for his more familiar ‘death bowling’ role. In tandem with Lee, the free flow of runs subsided due to determined persevering bowling by these two. Lee removed the other opener after a top edge catch, from a ball that sat up, was comfortably held by ‘keeper Favell.
Thereafter it was decided to operate with off spin at one end, protected by a large leg side boundary and a variety of medium pace from the other.
The popping wicket suited Blues champion off spinner Garry James to a tee. He was the pick of the C.C.N.S.W. bowlers, bowling nine overs straight of well flighted and varied ‘right to left’ turners, delivered in characteristic, passionate fashion, and in accordance to the fields that he wanted set.
The result was only 29 runs conceded and trapping the Pennant Hills No. 4 and No. 5 bats each lbw, just as they had looked ready to accelerate. Steve Beck carried on after Garry, following suit in restricting the run rate over, for another five overs. He grabbed a good wicket, enticing a catch to mid on to the safe hands of his good buddy Richard Bryant, to remove the stubborn Mitch Sturt (Ed note C.C.N.S.W. member).
From the other end, Richard Bryant and Mark Delaney both bowled handy, short spells, each taking a wicket and keeping runs down. Mark’s wicket of P.H.’s John Mesar (Ed note C.C.N.S.W. member), an edge to first slip, was superbly taken by Steve Beck, diving to his left and behind the keeper, for a juggled snare. Although struggling for pace and rhythm after a six weeks layoff, Rich managed two successive maidens and got rid of the dangerous Craig Mackenzie (Ed note C.C.N.S.W. member). in his final over, Benson taking a good catch at deep point, off a well struck shot.
Graham Buck took up the challenge of a second ‘death bowling’ spell, in place of Delaney. Backing his skills after the earlier hammering received, he induced two important wickets in his two final overs at innings end – a straight forward catch to Mike Weaver at mid-off and a nice stumping by Favell.
The regular wickets that were taken at different stages were very important in effectively halting the opposition’s momentum. 9-182 was a satisfactory result after offering them first bat, albeit with a slow outfield.
The run chase started badly with the in-form Somers surprisingly dismissed LBW to a good swinging delivery in the first over. Weaver went in at number three, intent to lead from the front. He survived a confident appeal after having scored just 4 runs, the umpire correctly not making his decision based on any suspicion. A little off put after this, he scrambled some hasty singles and mistimed pull shots to the vacant areas, that at least tested out his gammy knee, if not much else. Nevertheless, a quick mini partnership of 29 with Mike Pinter, who was solid and ran between wickets very well, enabled some innings momentum. Unfortunately ‘Punter ‘ succumbed lbw to an ‘in-ducker’ from Sturt which kept low, without addition to the score of 31. This was immediately after Weaver was nicely caught, skying a ball to deep midwicket.
Any feelings of nervousness that may have then been felt by the team, were then dissipated in a superb partnership, made under pressure, between Steve Beck and Brett Favell. Both players mixed watchful defence with a slaughtering of any deliveries dropped short by the Pennant Hills bowlers. Steve ‘Haydos’ Beck crashed every bad ball he received to the gaps, managing four sixes and two fours in his 42* retired not out. And some balls he punished weren’t so bad. Brett stroked two sixes and two fours, and generally placed the ball very well. It was a timely display by both players, who have each been promising much all season. Brett unfortunately was undone by a delivery that stopped on him, skying a catch when retirement at 40 himself looked imminent. The partnership made was 50 runs, in less than 8 overs.
With the game set up for the taking there was still work to do by C.C.N.S.W., with more than half the runs still to get. Mindful that there are plenty of overs remaining, after Steve retired, Dave Benson and Mark Delaney batted sensibly until drinks and for a period afterwards, when the opposition bowlers, lead by Mesar, lifted notably. Mark batted carefully to ensure there was not a collapse, especially after drinks, when only seventy more runs were required. After surviving hitting a catch straight to mid off, he then fell to the persistent Mesar. His innings included two fours, one a very nice back cut.
Richard Bryant then came and went quickly, again caught off Mesar and the match was once more in the balance.
Having dealt with an alarming muscle spasm just minutes earlier, Garry James came to the wicket and slapped a quick 18 runs, including 3 nice boundaries through covers, with Benson remaining the anchor. This cameo finally took the game out of Pennant Hills’ reach. Later, Benson was dropped at deep mid off. It was a difficult chance that was more a prevention of four runs, rather than being a genuine chance, with the fielder doing well to get a hand to the ball.
After James fell, it was left to Benson and Witherden to ‘seal the deal’ for C.C.N.S.W., with Benson releasing the shackles to smack a six and Witherden crashing a four. It was a mature, measured display by Benson, continuing on from his good form displayed against the Kiwis on the recent Nelson tour.
After the game, here’s what they said.
Garry James: “It was important when we batted to take advantage of the shorter boundary, which we did. Pennant Hills are a good side”
Graham Buck: “I wasn’t the one to open the bowling today. My role in the team is more as a death bowler”
Mike Weaver: “Ian Chappell says if you walk, you are disrespecting the umpire”
“I thought Rich Bryant did very well to come up with his two successive maiden overs, it was just what the doctor ordered at that stage of the game.”
Craig Somers: I’ve adopted some aspects of Steve Smith’s batting technique this season”
Next game and final Competition game for C.C.N.S.W. is against third placed Auburn on 5 March, away. Nets will be available at 8pm on the Wednesday prior.
Many thanks to John Munden for his assistance on the day and arranging removal of the covers etc. Congratulations all round to the C.C.N.S.W. squad members participating in this game.
The Team was: – Craig Somers 1, Mike Pinter 9, Mike Weaver (c) 16, Steve Beck 42* ret not out, Brett Favell (w) 35, Mark Delaney 16, David Benson 23*, Richard Bryant 3, Garry James 18, Lee Witherden 8* and Graham Buck dnb
The Result was: –
Pennant Hills: – 9-182 (40 overs)
C.C.N.S.W: – 7-183 (S. Beck 42* ret; B. Favell 35) (32.5 overs)
By 3 wickets
FoW : – 1- 2 (C. Somers) 2-31 (M. Weaver) 3-31 (M. Pinter) 4-81 (B. Favell) 5-113 (S. Beck) 6-132 (M. Delaney) 7-144 (R. Bryant) 8-175 (G. James)
The Bowling was: – L. Witherden 6-0-27-2; G. Buck 6-0-45-2; D. Benson 6-1-23-0, G. James 9-1-29-2; R. Bryant 5-2-19-1, M. Delaney 3-1-16-1 and S. Beck 5-0-20-1
The Fielding was: – Stumpings: One to B. Favell
Catches: one each to B Favell (w), S. Beck, D. Benson, R. Bryant, C. Somers and M. Weaver
Run outs: Nil
Player Points: – three points to S. Beck; two points to B. Favell; one point to G. James