With the sun and the thermometer showing us what the summer could be made of, the Tah’s woke up early for their first one dayer of the season against recent rivals Penrith. With a few memorable encounters over the last few years, including a few blips on the radar for both clubs, it was always going to be an interesting day. Both clubs seem to have an unspoken respect for each other, and the games are always hard fought contests.
The exception to the early rise was first grade, who after playing for what seems like every Saturday and Sunday for 2 months straight (slight exaggeration there), had a late start with a T20 game at Manly Oval.
Unfortunately 1sts were pipped at the post, losing in the second last over in a game we should have won comfortably. However, every other grade came out on top to provide a solid Saturday for the club. Sunday saw our PG’s side lose their first game of the season, unfortunately going down to Blacktown, but they will be back.
4 Pines Player of the Round – Lance Stewart
There is no more deserving man than Lance Stewart for Player of the Round. The man affectionately known as “Digits” has been a consistent performer over the last few years, but has rocketed up the grades since the beginning of the year. His 64 in 2nd grade was just what the doctor ordered, and his 2 wickets of slow medium pace were just as important. He is showing that he is ready to take on that extra responsibility as a senior player in the club. He just needs to learn how to bowl behind the white line.
Lance Stewart (2nd Grade) – 64 and 2/22
Javed Badyari (2nd Grade) – 62
Reece Hodge (3rd Grade) – 64*
Taylor Beattie (3rd Grade) – 54*
1st Grade T20 vs Penrith – Manly 8/140 Lost to Penrith 4/141
With Cameron Merchant winning the toss, Jack Ritchie gave the Manly side plenty of early momentum with a slashing innings of 35 runs from just 23 deliveries, before he was dismissed in the 6th over with the score at 2/45.
Mitch Cleary and Luke Edgell gave valuable support both compiling 29 runs apiece.
Unfortunately the lower order did not score enough runs in the later overs as Manly finished with 8/140 from its 20 overs.
Ben Martin gave Manly a tremendous start when he captured 2 wickets from his first 2 deliveries.
Jack Ritchie and James Munting captured wickets in the 6th and 7th overs to have Penrith at 4/45 from 7 overs. From thereon Penrith with some aggressive stroke play reached the required target in the 19th over without the loss of further wickets.
Special mention must go to James Munting who bowled extremely well to finish with 1/7 from his 4 overs.
2nd Grade Limited Overs vs Penrith – Manly 235 Defeated Penrith
2nd Grade’s victory over Penrtih was indeed one of the weirder days of cricket seen by the lads, but a comprehensive victory was had by the boys none the less. Now sitting in 4th place, we are in a good position after the first 5 rounds.
Howell Oval is always a tough drive, but knowing we had a 36 degree day in front of us made the 7.30am car trip even more enjoyable. On arrival, the boys were very impressed by the facilities at Howell Oval (Atmosphere Park is still the bomb though), although a seemingly damp wicket made the toss an important start of the day.
Stand in Skipper Scott Salt and Pepperson called incorrectly, and with Joel Mason expertly schnicking the first ball of the game to the keeper, and Smitty’s wayward shot in the second over, at 2-5 we were in all sorts. But the Skipper stepped in and played some wonderful cover and square drives off both feet to steer us out of trouble, and despite departing for 41, we were on our way.
Javed Badyari (62) and Geoff Isaacs (31) then former a promising partnership before an unfortunate run-out resulted in Lance coming to the crease at 5-110. It was here that the Manly boys showed their fighting spirit, In a wonderful partnership, Digits (64) showed his growing maturity as a bat, and together with Javed they began to set up a 250+ score.
However the lower order was unable to continue the great scoring, and we were somewhat disappointed at 235 being posted before being bowled out in the 2nd last ball of the innings.
And here is where the game got a little weird. The ‘riff’ informed us that they only had 10 batsman, as the skippers and his brother had a tiff just before the start of our innings, but after the team sheets had been handed in, resulting in the brother picking up his bat and ball and going home…. literally. So with only 9 wickets to get, and a first over wicket from Matt “Test Match” Alexander, we always thought we were a good chance. Little did we know that the Penrith opening batsman would decide to do his hammy in the third over of the innings, his skipper being the replacement. THEN came the funny stuff. First ball after the injury, the other opener decided to run his skipper out for a diamond duck, leaving Penrith virtually 4 for 0 after the first 3 overs.
This worked well for us as our bowling and catching was very ordinary on the day, with 30 sundries working their way into the Penrith total, along with 5 missed chances. But ultimately it was an easy victory with the ‘riff’ being rolled for 113. You would think that a win by over 120 runs would be satisfying, but we know a bowling and fielding performance like that will not suffice against the top teams. But 4th place after the first 5 rounds is not a bad place to be.
3rd Grade Limited Overs vs Penrith – Manly 8/211 Defeated Penrith 5/210
Like all champion sides seem to do, 3rd grade got out of jail with a superb rearguard action from youngsters Reece Hodge and Taylor Beattie to record a 2 wicket win. Bowling first at Atmosphere Park, Penrith scrambled to 5/210 from their 50 overs, a total that was never going to be enough if the Tahs could bat their full 50 overs. Skipper Jeanie Little was again inspirational with the ball, snaring 3/40 from his 10. Ryan Farrell sprained his ankle after about 25 overs, leaving BP to step up and help the boys out in the field. Credit goes to Mickey, Taylor and Spughy, who all bowled economical spells and were unlucky not to pick up some wickets.
After losing wickets at 10-20 run intervals, the Tahs were in serious trouble at 8-102 and looking down the barrell of their first defeat for the season. The only serious contributor to this point was the skipper, who departed for a well made 40, with the rest of the boys playing fairly ordinary shots. Enter young guns Reece Hodge (64*) and Taylor Beattie (54*). An unbroken 109 run stand for the 9th wicket got the Tah’s home, with both players hitting their highest score in grade cricket. This partnership was incredible, with both boys showing maturity well beyond their years, scoring at nearly 6 an over the whole way through. As Jeanie mentioned, it was one of those games that few of us will ever forget, and just shows how quickly momentum can change in a game of cricket.
The main grade stays undefeated, and look to keep it that way after next round’s 2 day clash against Fairfield.
4th Grade Limited Overs vs Penrith – Manly 4/102 Defeated Penrith 100
Turning up to Cook Park on a day that was forecast at 36°C, Manly 4th grade were keen to keep the momentum rolling forward, and with many changes from the previous week the focus did not change amongst the group. Winning the toss we decided to bowl on what seemed to be a deck that offered some assistance to the bowlers early (as the day panned out the pitch offered something all day to the bowlers). Ash Virdi (2/14 off 9) and club favourite Luke ‘Mezza’ Mannell (2/15 off 10) opened proceedings, both setting the tone for the whole day with good opening spells, which was followed up by Luke Grant (2/23 off 7) and Will Jonkers (1/23 off 6), to have Penrith 3 for 38 off 17 overs at drinks. Our pressure continued after drinks with the introduction of Sam Alexander (3/25 off 8), with one of his wickets coming from one of the great catches on the boundary from Luke Grant, who was a few inches from the fence jumped full stretch to take a one-handed classic and he still remained in the field of play. We ended up bowling Penrith out in 40 overs for 100, overall a very good performance from the team in the field. Special mention must go to Jordan Daly who kept well, taking two catches and a stumping and allowing no byes through him.
Heading out to bat it was crucial that we got off to a good start and not give Penrith a sniff of 6 points. Unfortunately we didn’t get off to the start we wanted, finding ourselves 3/22 after 8 overs. This brought Cody Bruce to the crease, who showed a lot of grit and determination throughout his innings to get Manly out of a hole on his debut in 4th grade, along with Max Burgess (39) the pair put on 58 to get Manly out of trouble, until Maxy decided he needed a shower and departed with the score at 80. Cody continued on with Jordan Daly (14*) to get Manly over the line, with Jordan hitting a six to bring up the victory. Cody finished the day 23 not out.
Well done boys, three wins on the trot that sees the boys jump to 7th place, outside the top 6 on quotient only.
5th Grade Limited Overs vs Penrith – Manly 5/158 Defeated Penrith 8/157
Despite 8 changes from the last round, the mighty 5th grade continued it’s great form with another comprehensive victory over the previously undefeated Penrith. With skipper Dave Farrell injured, the one and only Rowley Alexander stepped in to steer the boys around the park. With wickets shared and the bowling tight, the Cats crawled their way to 157 from their 50 overs, Jacob Graham showing his all round skills by taking 2 wickets, while the rest were shared around.
Jacob (32) and Sammy Gainsford (26, go Sammy) then combined to get us home 5 wickets down, skipper Rowley also contributing 20 runs on 2 dodgy hammy’s and a dodgy knee.
This win was probably the best win of the round considering the changes from the previous game and the age of the side, but just goes to show that the culture that Dave has built in the team knows no boundaries. And if anyone has Rowley’s number in their phone, please harass him day and night with phone calls and text messages to continue playing… at 47 the bloke is a machine.
PG’s vs Blacktown – Manly 97 Lost to Blacktown 9/212
PG’s had a tough day backing up on Sunday at Joe Mackaleer against Blacktown. The Tahs lost the toss and bowled on a belter, but Matty Mee’s pace and bounce had the opposition in all sorts early on. The spin twins, Javey and debutant Sammy Alexander, bowled well in tandom, and were both very unlucky not to pick up a bag-full. Following up on some ridiculous boundary-fielding, McLachlan then came on at the death to bowl a very impressive spell, putting himself on a hat-trick in the final over, only to selfishly appeal for an LBW when the batsmen hit it with the middle of his bat.
Chasing a fairly simple 211 for victory, Pughy was the only batsman to make any type of impact, scoring a classy 37 out of a total of 98. The majority of the boys played careless shots to give Blacktown the upper-hand, and more effort needs to be made in placing value on our wicket and showing a bit of match awareness. In saying that, it gives us all something to work on as there is a lesson to be learnt, and we’re coming back bigger and better in our next 50/50 against RPs in a couple of weeks time.