Manly 2 for 132 (A. Crosthwaite 62, C. Merchant 58*) Defeated Sutherland 131 (N. Bills 3 for 25, M. Edwards 3 for 29, A. Beadle 2 for 18, N. McLachlan 2 for 29
After finishing 2nd behind Bankstown after the Minor Premiership rounds, the TravelSIM Manly Warringah Waratahs were looking to continue their unbeaten run in the one-day competition against the always tough Sutherland club.
Sutherland finished in 7th place after the normal rounds but were always going to come at us. The previous day, our boys were made to work hard for an in-the-end comfortable victory, but not before a few scares and some bowling hiccups.
Sutherland batsmen Mitch Brown hit a magnificent 129 not out against us on Saturday, and we knew that they had a lot of experience in their batting line-up, with Matthew Hughston especially an ever present danger.
The ground looked an absolute peach for the beginning of play, and Sutherland won the toss and decided to bat on a track where no one was really sure what it would do.
The beginning of the innings started similar to the previous day, with the Sutherland batsmen on top of a wayward bowling attack. 2 days in a row our bowlers failed to find their line and length at the beginning of the game, something that we will need to address soon. Sutherland raced to 1 for 57 after 8 overs, and at this point we started to think that big run chase might be on later in the day.
However, it was here that the first of 2 match defining incidents occurred, with the inform Brown again stroking the ball superbly. A Tim Cruickshank over-the-head specky saw the end of Brown, and ultimately the end of Sutherland batting.
From this point onwards our bowlers found their rhythm and their areas. Bills, Munting, Edwards and McLachlan bowled in partnerships and, along with spinner Beadle, put the brakes on the scoring rates and picked up consistent wickets.
Sutherland were actually 9 for 108 at one stage before a last wicket partnership of 23 saw them reach 131 after 40.3 overs.
Sydney Sixers quick Ben Dwarshuis started the attack for Sutherland and got an early breakthrough with Luke Edgell caught on the crease, and LBW, for 4. At 1 for 10 the ever reliable Adam Crosthwaite came to the crease, and it was here that the 2nd match defining event occurred.
Dwarshuis was bowling quite sharp, and an edge to slip from Crosthwaite was put down….. a fairly straight forward chance.
From here on in, Crosthwaite and Cameron Merchant dominated. Merchant was his typical solid self, hitting the loose ones but playing with poise and calm, while Crosthwaite was agressive as usual. This aggression led to his downfall 25 runs out from victory, however a Merchant batting masterclass over the next 2 overs led the Waratahs to an emphatic victory.
So onto a home semi-final against a resurgent Eastern Suburbs on Sunday 1st March. It’s been a great few weeks for our first grade side, but from this point onwards there are special things to be achieved.