Cricket is back! After a pre-season packed with training sessions and one too many red shirts, it was great to be back on the field on a glorious Saturday against Epping.
First Grade sported a new look in Round 1, welcoming 3 debutants to the club and seeing Pirenu Nirmalendran return back after a 3 year hiatus. Skipper Damian Naughton (24) looked good early after winning the toss and electing to bat but edged a short one to second slip, following fellow opener Phil Brett to the sheds at 2-33. Enter our new English import Rahul Patel, who looked as classy as a Rolls Royce rolling down Kings Rd in Chelsea. When debutant Alex Jenkins got out, Pirenu strolled to the crease and combined with the Rolls Royce of Lane Cove for a crucial 55 run partnership. Rahul departed for 30 and the tail wagged with Scarcella and (T) Naughton combining with Pirenu to extend the score to 202. With 6 overs to bowl against the Pingers, spirits were high as we entered the field. However, with some inaccurate bowling and poor fielding, Epping ended up 1-24 at stumps. Its even-stevens at stumps on day one, with the Coves looking to be “8 times better” in the field next week (Joe Scarcella).
Second Grade: After winning the toss and electing to bowl on a sticky Tantallon Oval wicket, Ben “Stone Cold Steve Austin” Preece’s decision looked a tad dodgy after Epping raced to 1-88 in 2nd Grade. However, 2 wickets to resident photographer Raja Islam quickly changed things and Epping was 3-91. Skipper Ben Preece (2-39), Charlie Hipkin (2-36) and Rhys “Man City” Manchester (1-32) steered the Coves towards holding Epping to 168. After losing Kiran Dindayal for a globe in the first over, the Blood Brothers were united at the crease and combined to form a solid 66 run partnership to place the mighty 2s in the driving seat for next week, reaching 1-66. Skipper Ben Preece attributed Rob Blood’s “character, grit and determination” as the key to the success on day 1. Word is that Preecey capped out in canoodling fines.
Third Grade’s fortunes were starkly different than 1s and 2s, with Schaafsma’s men losing on first innings on Day 1. Alex Southcott hit a couple of fours early then was trapped in front by a worm-burner for 11. The usual “I hate cricket” Facebook vent ensued. Varun Singh played some unconventional strokes to reach 20 before being Va-run out. The standout batsman of the day was no doubt Nick Mytkowski who hit them long and straight to score 42 not out, his best score for the club. No one was able to stick with him and the Coves were bundled out for 135. It didn’t get much better in the field, with Epping reaching 6/216 at stumps. Brian Scott (2-47) and Alex Southcott (2-16; if we knew he was bowling, many would have selected him in Fantasy League) were the pick of the bowlers. An important day looms next week for the lads as they play for pride and some momentum moving into Round 2.
At Longueville Oval, where the dressing sheds are so small that Grant Maguire would struggle to emerge after tea, 4th Grade skipper Andrew Bray sent Epping in and at 2-41, things were looking good. However, with consistent partnerships from the Bulls, the Covies couldn’t stem the flow of runs and ended up bowling them out for 322. Craig Martin (3-68) and Kieran Crayn (2-42) were the most dangerous bowlers but aside from Jed Shaw, who picked up two, the bowling wasn’t consistent enough and it showed on the scoreboard. With 14 overs left, it was an opportunity to set the tone for Day 2 with some runs on the board and not many wickets down. Unfortunately, it was the opposite, with the Coves losing 6-58 before stumps were called. Only Kieran Crayn (31) can hold his head high, with the rest of the boys skittled for under 10. It’s a long way back, but stranger things have happened, haven’t they?