A fter a disrupted and very COVID-safe Christmas break, the Greenies boys were back on deck at Manly Oval today for their Round 2 clash against competition favourites, Eastern Suburbs, who were the champions last season. Despite the COVID situation over Christmas, the boys still worked incredibly hard in the lead up to Round 2, with the coaching staff running numerous fitness and net sessions to get the boys in good condition for the return to cricket. For such a young group, they all responded brilliantly to the disruption, working hard to get ready for whenever the season resumed. Special thanks to Rochy and Gainsy for their help organising these sessions, and to Dougie McGrath, Roy Vumbaca, Josh Seward and Joel Davies for their help with these sessions.
The boys were in great spirits as they embarked on an early morning walk through the corso for breakfast, while Bailey Lidgard was still rolling out of bed after three consecutive days of cricket prior to today.
To the warm up. The Hulios and Nerds faced off again this morning, and after a very aggressive start from both sides, heightened by the absence of a referee, the Nerds settled into their game plan to run out 3-2 victors, resurrecting some pride after a horrific display in Round 1.
Josh Cooper had a quick inspection of the Manly Oval deck, which had a large coverage of grass with conditions suited to bowling after the week’s deluge. Clearly with the cricket gods on his side, Coops won the toss and quickly informed the Easts skipper that Manly would be chasing leather for the first innings, bowling first.
The message from coaches Dave Gainsford and Andrew Rochford was again simple but important. While the deck would suit bowling, the boys understood they still needed to put the ball in the right areas and take their chances to use the conditions to their advantage.
Right on cue, Marcus Campbell lured a false shot in his second over which saw the bails flying, Easts gun batsman on his way for 0. Josh Lawson and Marcus continued to bowl a very probing opening spell, barely conceding any boundaries and not giving up a single extra until the 9th over. Andrew Boulton replaced Josh and picked up the other dangerous opener after a very tight few overs, caught at cover by Bailey Lidgard. Easts 2-40.
Following this, Easts began to consolidate, putting on a 71 run partnership, however, the Manly boys kept things under control thanks to some great bowling from Johnston, Murata Davison, Lidgard and Dhillon. Skipper Cooper and Bailey in particular bowled great 10 over spells, both going just either side of 3 runs an over and picking up crucial wickets. Andrew Boulton brought about the key breakthrough for the third wicket with a smart run out from mid on, before Bailey dismissed the set batsman for 50 after a peach of a ball spun past the edge for Tommy Karnaghan to whip the bails off in a flash. Easts 4-116.
Keelan Mendel entered the attack and took a wicket with his first ball, LBW, before continuing a very tight 6 over spell. The skipper then picked up his opposing skipper after Andrew took a safe catch at mid on just as the rain returned. Easts 6-142.
A frustrating rain delay followed, however, the boys kept their energy up off the field via an intense game of UNO. Returning for the final four overs, Manly continued to keep the pressure on and restrict Easts run scoring opportunities.
Billy O’Brien did his best Jordan Silk impersonation, flying through the air at short mid wicket to hold on to an absolute screamer, just after he had also been involved in a clever run out from the same fielding position. Easts finished their 50 overs 8-173. A great bowling and fielding effort from the Manly boys.
Again, Rochy’s advice was right on point, with the boys to build a solid platform and slowly but surely accumulate the required runs.
Keelan Mendel continued his great early season form, crashing 46 off 79 balls with a flurry of boundaries, again combining with Billy O’Brien for another strong opening partnership of 47 before Billy was caught at cover for 10. Skipper Cooper joined Keelan and they combined for a 42 run stand, regularly peppering the boundaries whilst ticking the scoreboard over at a good rate.
Unfortunately Keelan departed for 46, to bring Andrew Boulton to the crease, who set about finishing off the run chase with his skipper. The two combined for another strong partnership of 48, Coops sending a big six over mid wicket and leaving a rather large dent on one of the parked cars, whilst Boults eased into his work, regularly finding the gaps and punishing the bad ball to the boundary.
Coops was caught for a well made 39 off 64 balls, with the Manly boys needing a further 37 runs for victory. Andrew and Roop Dhillon finished the run chase smartly, Boults 43* and Roop 9* to see the Tahs home by 7 wickets with over 5 overs to spare.
The boys entered the change rooms to sing the club song with gusto, even as many of the boys struggled to recite much of the lyrics. Ah well. We’re on the march.
Fines master Liam Toole led the traditional post game fines meeting, even as he struggled to grasp the concept of flipping a coin. Ethan Buchanan’s inability to look after Shrek cost him a lot of money, while Marcus Campbell also copped a good serve from a few of his fellow teammates.
All in all a great day for the Tahs, topped off with a swim at the Wharf and dinner at Guzman.
Special thanks must go again to the parents for all their helping setting up and packing up equipment at the ground, your efforts certainly don’t go unnoticed. As always thank you to Gainsy, Rochy, Dougie and Josh for their help on game day, along with Harj and Henry for their work organising everything for game day.
We go again on Sunday vs Parramatta at Old Kings Oval.
3 Points – Keelan Mendel – another quality all round display, helping the boys get off to a great start with the bat once again and picking up a couple of crucial wickets.
2 Points – Andrew Boulton – classy not out innings to guide the team home, picked up the crucial wicket of Easts opener, and was a gun in the field all day.
1 Point- Josh Cooper – another great captain’s performance, skippering the side brilliantly, bowling a tight 10 over spell and contributing greatly to the run chase.