Manly Oval hosted thousands on Sunday as cricket fans and the ladies of Manly Cricket enjoyed a great day at the T20 Double Header.
With the first game against a Sutherland side boasting former Australian test captains Steve Smith and Shane Watson, thousands of cricket fans arrived early to Manly Oval to view the two stars in action.
These stars were accompanied by Big Bash players Ben Dwarshuis from Sutherland, and Jay Lenton and Chris Green from Manly, so fans were in for a treat.
With the large crowd in tow, the coffee van and the BBQ were firing, with many purchasing Bacon and Egg rolls, putting the boys on the Barbie under great pressure. Mike Pawley was selling some mini cricket bats for his charity Happy Days, which the crowd was right behind which was fantastic to see.
In terms of cricket, Tony Abbott joined the captains for the toss, as Jay Lenton called correctly and chose to bat first on a good Manly Oval wicket.
A good innings total of 180, with Chris Green scoring 70, set up Manly well, however, it was going to be a tough task with the likes of Smith, Watson and Dwarshuis in the Sutherland side.
Meanwhile, the bar and the BBQ were being swarmed by the thousands of fans, with Bacon and Eggs selling like crazy, and the locals and visitors coming to watch the game (mainly Steve Smith) enjoying some 4 pines.
When Sutherland batted, the crowd were not disappointed, as Steve Smith and Shane Watson batted with great freedom and control, as they helped Sutherland set a good platform for the run chase.
However, despite his amazing efforts with the bat, which earned a standing ovation from the crowd, it is what Steve Smith did next that makes him the champion he is.
Following his innings, Smith sat down on an esky at the top of the stairs to the change rooms and took photos and signed autographs as people of all ages lined up. Smith was selfless and incredibly giving as he left countless amounts of kids with smiles on their faces.
This is also true for his actions during the Ladies Day function, were once again, he was hospitable and highly respectful to anyone who wanted a photo or quick converastion. Manly Cricket would like to thank Steve Smith for his amazing efforts on the day.
Despite some good nature jeering to former Manly player Aiden Bariol, unfortunately, Manly could not reign in the Sutherland batsmen, with Ben Dwarshuis hitting the winning runs in the last over. Congratulations to Sutherland.
During the innings break, fans continued to put great pressure on the bar, which was frantically being restocked, and the BBQ, which unlike the beer, could not be restocked, meaning, it was packed up around 2pm.
Many of the boys were quite happy about this, as it meant they could support Manly from the hill in the nextgame.
The second game of the day was against North Sydney, featuring former Manly players the James and Adam Crosthwaite, and Matt and Sam Alexander. During this game, the Ladies Day/Supporters function began. As 140 people entered the newly improved Styleness lounge, which had been done up nicely for the day.
Big thanks to Styleness and Pivot Creative for their efforts in setting up the lounge for the day.
As the ladies watched on from the balcony, the players watched on from the hill, cheering on the Manly boys, and having some intellectual discussions with the North Sydney players.
Despite some poor banter from the hill, the game was a great contest, as North Sydney posted 160, thanks largely to the Crosthwaite’s, and in return, Manly scored 163, with Chris Green once again the star scoring 61 not out and hitting the winning runs in the last over.
Both games were played in great spirits, as was the whole day, as after the match, Manly players mingled with their North Sydney counterparts, and soaked in what was a fantastic day.
Thank you too all the volunteers on the BBQ, the Canteen, the boys collecting gold coins for Happy Days, those who helped at the Ladies Day function and everyone in between. Without their assistance the day could not have run as well as it did.
Another big thanks to Joel Mason, who despite a sore head from the night before (140th Anniversary Dinner), was able to run the day smoothly, and put on a great event.
Congratulations to all teams who played on the day, and we hope that everyone who was in attendance enjoyed themselves and the high standard of cricket that was played.