This week’s TWIC only features the first grade lads as we missed out on finals in all other grades, so the torch was passed to Naughto and the boys to take the Covies as deep as possible.
First up was a tough assignment against 2015/16 premiers Strathfield who stormed up the ladder to 4th spot after a slow start to the year.
Some light rain on arrival meant a slight delay, and Donovan decided to bat on a tacky wicket after winning the toss.
Slug picked up the crucial wicket of Donovan and the Coves were away, but Strathfield fought back to be 1/37 and looking to post a total of 180+. Naughto turned to Jenko and the Coves really turned the screws and made it difficult for the Gorillas to score. Meanwhile Slug was settling in like a fat kid at the dinner table and was looking his ominous self, picking up his second pole of the innings and starting the Covie fightback.
Once again the boys took advantage of some poor running between wickets from the Strathfield bats which seems to be par for the course of late. Jenko managed to orchestrate an unbelievable runout, fielding a well-hit ball at gully only to turn with a quick-release to run-out the dangerous Islam (again).
Strathfield stalwart, perennial canoodle revenue raiser and all-round nice guy Patty Bolster strode to the crease so the skip turned to left-hand specialist Corn Dog and he didn’t disappoint, and the Gorillas were 4/70 and looking shaky. Danger man Rahman then threw it away just before tea and the Coves were in a good spot with the score on 5/75 at the first break.
After tea the usually quiet, softly-spoken Strathfield scholar Wotton (aka Wootten according to Scar) took the bait laid out by Doddsy and all hell broke loose which set a fiery tone for the rest of the match. Never one to miss out on the action, Ricko fueled the fire and the umpires had to step in and restore order.
The boys stuck to their task and Hairy, Jenko and Zen cleaned up the tail to have Strathfield all out for 118 with a fair chunk of the day to play.
The Strathfield boys were fired up and got seriously stuck into our openers, but Robbie and Ricko got the score to 22 before Robbie departed. Zen followed soon after, before Ricko and Naughto got the score past 50 and at 2/54 we were looking good. The Gorillas turned to leg spin and that was too much for Naughto who played an awful shot and when Choco came and went all of a sudden we were in trouble at 4/55.
Eddie Galek came out and in typical fashion dispatched the odd bad ball and made a quickfire 17 before disaster struck. After playing a beautiful cover drive, the veteran went down quicker than a covie groupie at Marley Bar, with Eddie’s knee falling apart as he attempted to take off for a run. The sniper responsible wasn’t found, but Eddie’s innings (and season) was over as he checked himself into hospital following a sensible amount of darts and tinnies.
With Eduardo retired hurt, Rikco continued his gritty innings despite the barrage of insults from the opposition but Ricko when he and Dodds departed we were in trouble at 6/85 – 34 to win and still a few overs left on day 1.
Jenk and Corny managed to get to the end of the day unscathed which meant a nervous overnight wait to see if we could progress through to the semi finals.
We turned up for Day 2 with the resident saxophonist in full swing on the hill and 29 runs to get. If Corny and Jenk were nervous, they didn’t show it as they put on an exceptional display with Kenny G continuing to play right through the innings with some soothing, relaxing tunes.
Some intelligent batting and great running between the wickets saw the lads pass the Strathfield total 6 wickets down and take a big step towards getting through to the following week. There were still plenty of overs to play when we were 9 (all out) for 158 and Strathfield put the pads on again.
After a quickfire start from the Strathfield openers, the Coves again turned the screws with wicklets shared amongst the boys and Doddsy again taking a few grabs behind the stumps. Doddsy, who according to Strathfield is a “sh–t keeper”, has now taken 44 dismissals in first grade this season and 53 in total. 7 more in first grade to tie the all time Shires record – well done mate.
Naughton and Donovan shook hands at tea with the score on 8-113 with both sides getting through to the semi finals.
The boys now face Mounties and are one win away from the big dance.