C oogee Oval. What a place. At 8.45am the Greenies boys congregated at one of the more picturesque grounds many of them would have played at, intent on another victory to secure a home quarter final.
Roop Dhillon’s tardiness as a result of clear misjudgment of Sydney’s peak hour traffic saw him on the back foot early, with news that he would now be up for fines despite having won A-Z two rounds ago clearly rattling the young man.
A-Z. What a tradition. Last round’s winner Billy O’Brien once again dominated, despite some very unique interpretations of the category “girls names.”
The Vortex championship resumed after last round’s slight hiatus, and both the Hulios and Nerds were keen for a win. With the Julios currently up 3-2, the Nerds in particular were desperate for victory to level the scores moving into finals. Right on cue, the Nerds delivered one of the more complete obliterations of the season, dominating from start to finish in both attack and defence, skipper Josh Cooper certainly earning man of the match honours after scoring a hat trick. Nerds 3-0 victors and leaving the Julios with some serious mental demons going into next round.
After spending most of the week reiterating his coin toss record this season, skipper Josh Cooper went six from seven, calling correctly once again to see the Tahs batting first on a lovely Coogee Oval wicket. Unfortunately, Coops’ win at the coin toss will mean the boys have to put up with his constant talk about his record for another round. Ah well. Manly batting first. That’s what we wanted.
Billy O’Brien returned to the top of the order to partner Keelan Mendel, and the two got the Tahs off to a solid start, navigating a tough spell of bowling without any early damage. Unfortunately, Billy was caught behind for 8, Tahs 1-33, bringing the skipper to the crease.
Coops and Keelan combined for a 63 run partnership, rotating the strike well and punishing the bad balls, quickly concluding that the Coogee outfield was like carpet and that both teams would get very good value for shots.
Coops was caught at bowled for a well made 24, before Keelan brought up his second half century of the season. Well batted once again mate.
Keelan was run out soon after for 62, another great innings, with Liam Toole pushed up the order to try to change the momentum of the Manly innings. 3-131.
Andrew Boulton was already set in his innings, ticking the score over at a good rate. With 10 overs remaining, the boys were 3-141 and looking for a 200+ total.
Unfortunately from here the Tahs lost their way, despite a strong effort from Andrew with 33 and a handy last wicket partnership of 13 from Mitch Gilligan and Marcus Campbell to ensure Manly batted the full 50 overs. Tahs finishing all out for 185 on the final ball of the innings.
The boys were disappointed with how the latter stages of the innings panned out, knowing they were probably 30-40 short of what they were initially looking for. However, with 185 on the board, they were still confident of defending the total if they stuck to the simple plans which had worked so well all season.
After a few of the boys indulged in some of the better Chargrill Charlie’s from Coogee, the skipper overcame a frantic innings break where he proceeded to lose his playing shirt, finding a replacement in time to lead the boys out for the second innings.
Charlie Johnston took the new ball with Marcus Campbell and they bowled a probing spell, Charlie in particular regularly challenging the outside edge of the Randwick openers. Charlie finally broke through with a catch behind to TK, RP’s on the back foot, 1-15.
Randwick began building a dangerous partnership after a few missed chances in the field. However, the Manly boys stuck to their strengths just before drinks, and after some tight bowling without luck from Gus McConnell, Andrew delivered the breakthrough with a sharp reflex catch from Billy O’Brien at gully, who later claimed he was half asleep as the ball travelled towards him. Ah well. He held onto the chance. That’s the main thing.
The coaches gave a strong message to the boys at drinks about the importance a win would have, with a home final on the line. That was more than enough motivation for the boys, with Bailey Lidgard striking straight after the break after the skipper held the chance at mid off. RP’s 3-64.
Golden arm Keelan Mendel then entered the attack with immediate reward as has been the case all season, picking up another wicket with a catch behind to TK. Bailey then picked up his second, castling the No.4 to have RP’s 5-70.
Another partnership slowly built, and the trusty “wicket walk” from yours truly was put into place again, a lap around picturesque oval delivering the breakthrough, with Roop Dhillon holding onto a caught and bowled. Another wicket followed shortly after with the skipper delivering a perfect throw to TK to see the new batsman run out without facing a ball. The boys were jubilant with RP’s now 7 down, but conversely, you have to feel for the RP’s batsman. Walking into bat with the game on the line, only to be bbq’d by his teammate without having the opportunity to face a delivery. Ah well. Good for us. RP’s 7-89.
Roop soon had his second wicket, knocking over the new batsman with the old loopy full toss. Class.
With the boys needing to bowl RP’s out for under 111 for a bonus point, Manly went searching for the final two wickets, however, RP’s batsmen continued to keep the Tahs at bay without looking to score quickly. Eventually, the skipper brought himself into the attack after some more tidy bowling from Bailey, Keelan, Mitch, and Roop. The skipper only needed the one over to pick up the remaining two wickets, courtesy of safe catches from Andrew then Bailey. RP’s all out for 122, Manly victorious by 63 runs.
Another great win from the Tahs to go 6 from 7, and secure a home quarter final on Sunday.
The boys sung the song with great passion, the sound from inside the demountable dressing rooms heightened as it reverberated through the whole suburb of Coogee. Which we love.
With a number of mycricket warriors among the playing group, many of the boys tracked the other Round 7 games, with news quickly filtering through that the Tahs would face Penrith on Sunday in the quarter final.
Coaches Gainsy, Rochy, Dougie, Josh and Joel all congratulated the boys on the amazing achievement of reaching the finals, making it the 4th consecutive season that the Manly boys have made the finals series for Green Shield.
Another great day to finish the regular season as the boys get ready for a huge quarter final on Sunday against Penrith at Weldon Oval. Match will start at 9am, an hour earlier than usual due to the predicted heat across Sydney.
Hope to see as many of the Manly crew there on Sunday to cheer the boys on and hopefully into a semi final. Bring on Sunday.
As always, thank you to all the coaches, Gainsy, Rochy, Dougie, Josh and Joel, for all their assistance on game day, the boys are truly appreciative of your efforts.
And lastly, to all the parents who are supporting the boys every game, your amazing support doesn’t go unnoticed.
3 – Keelan Mendel – 62 (113) + 1-9 (5)
2 – Andrew Boulton – 33 (48) + 1-24 (8)
1 – Josh Cooper 24 (58) + 2-3 (1)