Poidevin-Gray (U/21’s) – Manly 107 (J. Rawlings 43, M. Cole 33) def Randy-Petes 104 (D. Marshall 4/36, M. Edwards 3/24)
Unusually, Taylor successfully won the toss and we elected to bat. After starting slowly with only 1 from the first 3 overs Matt Cole started to pepper the 3rd man/point boundaries, rocketing to 33 in no time at all while Jarrod stuck to his game plan, keeping the strike ticking over and sticking to his game. The result of this was an solid opening stand of 0/56 shortly before drinks. The loss of Matt Cole on 33 began what can only be described as a collapse of monumental proportions. In a nutshell we lost all 10 of our wickets for only a paltry 51 more runs. The sole exception to this was Jarrod Rawlings who stood firm throughout most of the mayhem before he departed for the 8th wicket, having made a valiant 43.
To say that this was a disappointing batting performance is the understatement of the year. It was a performance that is simply not good enough at this level and deeply unrepresentative of the skill within our batting unit. But as the game wasn’t over yet, we had to do our best to put this immense disappointment behind us and give our total of 107 a red-hot crack.
The start was not ideal, with one of the openers coming out swinging, getting them off to a positive start. The impressive bowling from Mickey Edwards eventually found him out with Dylan taking the catch at mid-on and the score at 19. They continued to bat aggressively, forming brief partnerships of 20 or so, but we managed to take wickets at intervals just regular enough (39, 59) to stay in the contest. Despite our best efforts however, taking a wicket every 20 runs was never going to be enough and coming to drinks at 3-75, things were not looking great, to say the least. At drinks we refocussed and made a concerted effort to take back control of the match in the next few overs. When Dylan took a wicket with his first ball after drinks, you could feel just the slightest change in momentum, and when Jordan ran out the next batsman three balls later it was game on, 5/75!!
Some very cheap overs from Dylan and Will Outred kept the pressure building, however their number 4 continued to provide resistance and looked unperturbed. But just as the pressure felt like it would force a wicket, he bombed Dylan for two sixes in the one over to wrest back some momentum. Despite having scored a tenth of our runs in one over he played what was a strong contender for the hotly-contested Worst Shot of the Day award, gifting Jarrod a sitter lobbed back over Sam Webber to leave them at 6-92. With only 16 runs to get our margin for error was miniscule as we pushed hard for the last 4 wickets. Will Outred’s exceptional bowling was deservedly rewarded when another awful shot saw Ryan Farrell take a difficult catch out on the far boundary – 7-92 and we were into the tail.
Dylan bowled out the last of his extraordinary spell and Sam Gainsford stepped up to the plate to keep things tight, while Mickey Edwards was brought back for a final charge. They hacked a few away from Sammy and at 7-102 it seemed like we were going to fall painstakingly short. With Mickey Edwards charging in bowling thunderbolts it was an absolute blinder from Jake Carden at gully that got us back in the match and captured the 8th wicket. Then when Mickey skittled the number 10 we were one ball away from the unlikeliest of victories with only 4 to play with.
Mickey was bowling lightning yorkers mixed with great length balls for the waiting 3 slips and gully but somehow the number 11 survived nearly a whole over before a leg bye saw him get down the other end. Taylor came on next over and of course it was the skipper himself who snared the final wicket – the inswinger, outswinger combination setting the batsman up for a textbook edge to Jarrod at first slip who took it comfortably.
It was an extraordinary comeback victory from a situation that was seemingly unsalvageable. It keeps us in contention with the top teams, of whom we play two over the next three rounds. Despite the exceptional bowling effort and team character displayed in this win, it’s up to the batting unit to work, as individuals, on what will help them do their job for the team as the bowlers have been doing so successfully. Bring on tabletopping Parramatta at Manly next week.