SOCIAL GAME: MUDGEE WEEKEND HADLEY X vs ALLMEY X AT CRAIGMOOR WINERY, MUDGEE ON SATURDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2023: REPORT BY SCOTT WELLS
With COVID done and dusted, it was decided to resurrect a traditional season starter with a weekend game at the lovely country town of Mudgee. Previous years would have seen CCNSW line up against a local Mudgee Portwiners’ side, but sadly that team no longer exists and the fixture had not occurred for the past 8 seasons. CCNSW last played at the vineyard at the start of the 2015-2016 season.
Currently owned by Robert Oatley Vineyards which purchased the winery in the 1960s, and formerly known as “Poet’s Corner”, the Craigmoor winery has a long history dating back to 1858; it is roughly 5mins drive north from the town centre. Picture a beautiful sandstone building with tasting room, cellar and museum and just outside an elevated viewing deck of the cricket field, to the left, vines about to commence growing and an outfield which has quirks such as a steep drop off to the local creek on one side and a windmill at cow corner – something not out of place in an English countryside. Previously, a CCNSW team used to make a weekend trip away to play on a Saturday, then enjoy the Taste of Mudgee event that evening to taste and drink at local fairs.
No local opposition meant an intra club game was required to resurrect this fine fixture. Those who expressed interest entered an online auction – similar to the IPL. Each player was given a value and each team a salary cap. Both Captains – Ian Allmey and Jim Hadley then went through the process of selecting teams – beamed via a ‘WhatsApp’ chat link.
Initially 11 players were available for each team and both captains remained under their salary cap – with a trade window opened a week prior to accommodate any changes required. Both the “Allmey Allballers” and the “Hadley Hurricanes” had assembled some very strong sides consisting of current and former veteran Australian and State players. Some late changes to the line ups were required to accommodate some who ended up with better offers or high enough transfer fees to be “let go”. We also had an official umpire for the game – Mr Jed (deadly) Wesley Smith.
The newly created Mudgee Plate and bragging rights were on the line. Players filtered into the township from Friday into the early hours of Saturday morning for a 10:00am start. Being a brand new franchise game (and problems with the T20 trademark process) the rules of the game were established a week out. It has been dubbed the Mudgee 7’s. Original playing conditions were: –
- 42 overs per side
- each team bats in pairs for 7 overs regardless of number of times out
- each wicket reduces the total by 7 runs
- hit the windmill and you get 7 bonus runs
- each bowler can only bowl 7 overs
but with 3 late pull outs and one addition, this was modified to 40 overs and 8 overs per pair
Mudgee had turned on a great day for cricket, slight breeze, blue skies and a top of 28Cº. Once assembled, a “traditional” nip of the local Rum Port was enjoyed by all players and spectators. Ian Allmey won the toss and sent the Hurricanes in to bat. No player knew what to expect from this format e.g. what is a par score? Do you bat to minimise wickets or maximise runs? So Jim Hadley went on the attack and sent Brett James and Tommy Robertson in to bat. They faced up against Stuart Ridge and Paul Nash. Spectators and the batting team settled under the shade of a grand tree on benches elevated above the main ground, with the tasting room in the background. The anticipation was palpable.
To say Brett and Tommy teed off is an understatement – well Brett teed and Tommy swung hard. At the end of their 8 overs, Brett dealt in boundaries and finished on 70 and Tommy 18 with the first wicket combining for a 92 run partnership. Jim Hadley wanted to keep the foot on the throat and sent out Jamie Murtha and Scott Wells to continue the onslaught. The bowling of Dave Kent and Andy Bachelard tightened up, finding the right length which restricted the batting well but anything loose was still put away. The score reached 179 but the fall of 5 wickets saw it reduced to 137 after 8 overs. Dave Kent returning the very impressive figures of 4 for 23 off 4 overs (nett: 7 runs reduction for each wicket = negative 5 runs)
With the Allballers grabbing back some of the momentum, the Hurricanes continued with all out attack sending in the power hitting unit of Greg Brooks and Soren Hughes against the likes of David Kent, Andrew Bachelard, Dan Turner and David Craig. Brooksie finding his eye early, started slapping to his favourite part of the field, Soren backing up well with some powerful drives and saw the score (gross) get to 254 for the loss of 7 wickets.
The fourth pairing saw Mick McCormick and David Glen consolidate the total with watchful innings against the guile of David Craig. Good bowling saw the run rate pulled back with only one boundary in the partnership to get to 291. But as 10 wickets had been lost, a nett score of 221 with one pairing remaining. The last pair saw the skipper Jim Hadley and wily-o – John Davis – an Orange local. Jimmy dealt in boundaries and Johnny in singles to get Jim on strike – a great combination and perhaps a lesson for future parings in this format. The score at the end of 40 overs was 361 for the loss of 14 wickets – a nett total of 263 runs. A gettable total – run rate just over 6.5 required. Several ways to be chased with wickets the key.
Highlights of the first innings were Brett James 70, Greg Brooks 43 and Jim Hadley with 32 and bowling standout was Dave Kent with 6 for 70 (28) and Dan Turner 2 for 19(5)
Lunch which consisted of a selection of quartered sandwiches, pies and sausage rolls (prepared by the Mudgee Bakery) arrived at 1:00 which coincided with the change of innings. Several of the WAGS then embarked on a guided wine tour of Mudgee for the afternoon.
The Allballers sent out some guns first up in Dan Turner and Paul Nash in hope to get ahead early. Interestingly, Ian leaving himself down the order. The Hurricanes opened up with Soren Hughes and wily John Davis. An even battle ensued with good bowling, clever batting and some good hitting later in the partnership. The opening pair put on 82 for one wicket so it was game on. The Allballers then opted for experience with Ian Allmey and Stuart Ridge partnering up against the likes of Soren Hughes, Mick McCormick and Jamie Murtha. Some lovely cover drives from Stu coupled with some hitting (and missing) from Allmey the pair put on 53 for the loss of 2 wickets so a nett score of 114 which was probably a bit behind where they had hoped to be with the batting to come.
The following pair of David Craig and Dr Len Volkov batted solidly for a 48 run stand with the loss of 3 wickets against the likes of David Glen, Jim Hadley and Brett James who decided his shoulder wasn’t too bad. Mike Weaver and Ross Dalgleish had their work cut out to up the tempo to get back on track. Unfortunately not even Tom Robertson’s over (11 balls) was enough to stop the rot with Ross becoming stuck on strike and then half way down the wicket on a few occasions losing 7 wickets between them for 35 runs giving up -14 runs to the total.
This left the last pair with 132 to get in 8 overs. But the Allballers had two guys at the crease who could give that a nudge: – Dave Kent and Andy Bachelard. Both came out swinging with the ball flying to all parts. Some lovely straight hit sizes and one memorable back foot slap over cover for 6 from AB until Hadley decided he had seen enough, bought himself back on and gathered a few well bowled stumpings. DK and AB got the score to 321 with a 100 run partnership but with the loss of 17 wickets in doing so, saw he final score reduced to 219.
A fantastic day was had by all and special thanks for Jed Wesley-Smith for umpiring and putting up with Tom. Gwen Hughes did a magnificent job scoring: 682 runs scored, 31 wickets lost, 24 ports nipped and a few beers had.
A post-match presentation of the Mudgee Plate was made to the winning skipper – Jim Hadley much to the regret of Ian and enjoyment of Tommy. All then retreated to their accommodation in preparation for the evening’s meal and drinks at the Lawson Park Hotel. We had approx. 30 people that evening and packed out half of the beer garden area. Great meals and great company ensured an evening to remember
We plan to back up this event next year and reignite it into a traditional pre-season event. Mudgee is a great place to get away to for the weekend with lots do to apart from cricket.
The Teams were: –
Hadley X: – Brett James 70, Tom Robertson 18, James Murtha 23, Scott Wells (w) 19, Greg Brooks 43, Soren Hughes 12, Mick McCormick 18, David Glen 10, Jim Hadley (c) 32 and John Davis 10
Allmey X: – Dan Turner 36, Paul Nash 42, Ian Allmey (c) 24, Stuart Ridge 33, David Craig 26, Len Volkov 13, Mike Weaver (w) 26, Ross Dalgleish 6, David Kent 46 and Andrew Bachelard 47
The Result was: –
The ‘Hadley Hurricanes’: – 14-361 (nett 263) (40 Overs)
The ‘Allmey Allballers’: – 17-321 (nett 219) (40 Overs)
By 40 runs (nett 44 runs)
THE CCNSW TOURING PARTY AT THE CRAIGMOOR WINERY GROUND, MUDGEE