First Grade rocked up to Bruce Purser oval top of the table and looking to remain that way heading into Xmas against a winless NWS side. We were greeted by a characteristically flat, hard deck, hoping to win the toss and bat. Only one of those things occurred, as Naughto lost the toss but we were nonetheless sent in to bat. Possibly the NWS skipper forgot we were playing at the best batting deck in Shires???
Slicko and Naughto went about their business nicely in the first 10 overs, and we were humming along at 0/92, with Slicko dispatching their opening bowlers over square leg. Slicko then spooned one to cover on 44, left to rue what could have been. Zen then strode to the crease as Naughto turned the screws piling the pressure on NWS. At 1/129, with Naughto on 73 staring down the barrel of a ton, he chipped a full toss to the man on the boundary. Pirra came and went, while Zen worked away at the other end, doing it tough early on.
Choco chipped in with a handy cameo, followed by Eddie, while Zen began to find his feet playing NWS all around the park. NWS had no answer to Zen’s strokeplay, as he brought up his maiden 1st grade ton as the Coves approached 300. Hopefully the first of many for Zen this season. Jenk joined Zen at the crease as the skipper contemplated a declaration, which eventually came after 53 overs with the Coves posting 6/306. A great team effort with the bat, managing to take advantage of a good batting deck and a struggling bowling attack.
This left us with around 25 overs at the ‘canes before the end of the day. Slug and Joey opened up, with Slug picking up where he left off the week before, with the ball on a string. Joey took a wicket off a no-ball (shock), while Slug picked his up off legal deliveries, bringing Doddsy and the cordon into the game. The prodigal soncame and went, thanks to an absolute screamer from 1st grades number one fieldsman, and at the end of the day we had NWS 7/70 odd, thanks to some brutal short bowling from Pirra to end the day.
Day 2 began with the knowledge that we would likely require 10 points to remain at the top of the table. The deck resembled one of the many highways one must drive on to make it out to NWS, and the weather was, to put it politely, f*!#ing hot. A 13 over tough session saw us wrap up NWS’s 1st innings, with Slug ending up with 4 poles, Scary Spice with 3 and one each to Pirra and Corny.
After plenty of confusion between Lane Cove’s two cricket rules specialists, Slicko and Eddie, we made the fairly easy decision to enforce the follow on. Yes Slicko, you do still get to bat in the second innings if you enforce the follow on.
Joey and Jenk opened up in the second dig, with Jenk relishing the opportunity to bowl with the new ball, picking up two early poles as well as a very lucky run out. NWS then set about building a partnership and taking advantage of the lifeless track. At tea, with 7 wickets still to get, the Coves knew we had to fight hard in the heat to collect 10 points. Corny then struck with an enormous breakthrough after tea, removing the NWS skipper. Joey then picked up 3 quick poles to have NWS 7 down. Despite this, NWS continued to fight, eventually passing our total before Pirra and Zen wrapped up the tail. NWS’s scorer kindly reminded us with each run that we would be required to bat again, and also offered Joey some kind bowling advice. One of the more vocal scorers we have come across this season.
Slicko and Naughto then saw off the 12 required for an outright win and a guaranteed spot at the top of the table heading into the break. All in all a pretty good performance from the boys, picking up some real momentum as we head towards the business end of the season.
09/12/17. Tantallon Oval, Lane Cove. 12:10pm. Pete Blood has just finished giving his rousing pre match team talk, but little did he know the impact his words would have on the Covies about to take to the field.
The visitors to the home of cricket in round 7 were basement club, North West Sydney. After winning the toss, North West elected to bat on what appeared to be a typical Tanty road. Coming off the back of three encouraging performances, the Covies were in expectant mood. Manchester and Dindayal were given the nod by the skipper to take the new ball. The first pole of the day arrived in Dindayal’s opening over. A leading edge was taken sharply by Bristow whose dustiness from the previous evening was suddenly eradicated as he saw the flash of red hurtling for face. Two wickets followed in Dindayal’s next over, including the run out of the North West captain for 2. His sliding bat getting caught in the soil as he looked destined to make his ground. With the score on 3-12 off only 5 overs, the Covies were sensing that something special might be on the horizon. Dindayal took his third, bowling the quick-single-loving opener for a top scoring 9 who was sent on his way by a pumped up Blood. Next, Manchester picked up his first cherry, cleaning up the Northwest number 6. Manchester, who had spent the first 6 overs watching Dindayal make it look easy, was clearly relieved to get in on the action as he let off an almighty scream as he followed through on his tip-toes right into the batsman’s grill. A now animated Manchester picked up his second, bowling the number 7 and in the process, taking his infamous follow through to the next level. The score now read 18-6 off 9 and with Northwest only having 10 men, the end was in sight. The North West changing room door was seeing action equivalent to those at Trent Bridge in 2015 and creating scenes appropriate for their nickname of the ‘Hurricanes’. Dindayal picked up his 4th and Manchester his 3rd with respective LBWs. The final wicket fell fittingly to Dindayal who completed his Michelle, finishing up with figures of 5.5 overs, 5 wickets for 18 runs. Manchester was more economical, finishing with figures of 6 overs, 3 wickets for 7 runs. North West were all out for 26. The tenth lowest score in the history of Sydney Shires Second Grade Cricket. The bowling on show was a masterclass that both Dindayal and Manchester should be proud of. It was a remarkable and surreal innings, but one that all involved will never forget.
The Covie openers of Rigon and Fletcher, who was sporting a new tattoo on his forearm acquired during last weeks ‘Schoolies’ escapades set about the daunting task of getting the 26 runs to seal the 6 points. The pair started watchfully, leaving the ball well and taking any single on offer. Fletcher departed for 4, LBW after getting struck on the inside knee and was visibly in a lot of pain as he hobbled off the field. The ‘bored’ Rigon followed immediately, being cleaned up by the North West opener trying to hit the ball into the Diddy. Camarsh and Robbie Blood were now at the crease and put together a partnership which took the Covies over the magic 26 and ended when the score was on 70 with Camarsh chipping one to mid-on. Needham was next in and looked confident before it was time for tea and the Covies were looking strong on 3-95.
Tea came and went and the Covies were feeling well nourished, mainly thanks to Bristow’s fashionable smorgasbord of cut up apple, sliced bananas (still in skin) and carrot sticks (minus hummus), which would have looked more at home in one of Sydney’s up-market gastropubs. Blood sent the batters out with the instructions of scoring 31 more runs to give us a 100 lead in 8 overs, but almost instantly, things were not going to plan. Needham fell to a questionable LBW first ball after tea and Hipkin departed for a golden the ball after. The Blood brothers were at the crease, Rob Blood in particular looking in exquisite touch, bringing up his half century with some lusty blows to the boundary. Rob Blood fell after this milestone with the score on 115. Hume came and went second ball, striking a well-timed pull shot to a day-dreaming fielder who took the catch of his lifetime. It was left to Bristow and man of the moment, Dindayal to take us to 130 declared, leaving 35 overs to claim an outright win on day one.
A noticeable change of attitude accompanied the North West batsmen as they sheepishly made their way back to the middle. The openers were aided by a porous slip cordon, Camarsh and Needham both guilty of drops. But, they did not prove to be costly as Dindayal took his 6th wicket of the day, Hipkin taking a flying catch at mid-on after running around from a wide mid-off. A second wicket partnership was building but then three wickets fell in quick succession, 2 more suicidal run outs, both with credit to uncharacteristically good work from Manchester and a debatable LBW to Camarsh. Now the score was 4-42. Hipkin came on to bowl his first spell since returning from the UK and claimed a textbook wicket with the ball clipping the top of the off stump of the opening batsmen whose time was well and truly up after running out two of his partners. More action was to follow as a swarm of bees engulfed the pitch, forcing Manchester to imitate Road Runner, waving his arms above his head and screaming like a mad man. The captain, again went cheaply, caught at mid-off by Camarsh off the bowling of Dindayal. The final wicket of the day was a rather suspect dismissal by Manchester, with the batter connecting with a slow half tracker, Pete Blood taking a very sharp catch in mid-wicket. Unfortunately for us, we were unable to finish the job after day one, but with North West ending the day on 7-102 it was a great effort from all involved and left us in great shape to get the job finished quickly the following weekend.
Day two came and went in the blink of an eye. North West arrived, wishing the formalities had been completed last weekend. Only requiring three more wickets, the target was achieved in the third over of the day. Dindayal claiming the remaining poles to give him his second five-for of the match. An amazing achievement that even resulted in a very rare Diddy appearance by the man himself. Birthday boy Pete Blood decided to promote himself to open the Lane Cove innings, but unfortunately for him he fell for two, snicking to gully who took the catch. However, Pete’s birthday wishes did eventually come true, Rigon and Fletcher scoring the 15 runs the Covies needed for the 10 points. Heading into the Christmas break, second grade are well placed just outside the top 6 and we head into the New Year full of confidence that we can make finals come the end of the year.
Lane Cove arrived at North West Sydney in desperate need of points. Initially, that looked likely as some brilliant bowling from Earl saw NWS reduced to 63 all out after just 25 overs on day one. A shaky start from Lane Cove’s top order saw us teetering on 22-5 before some power hitting from Issac Kensell (34) and Alex Williams (39) got us over the line and up to 121-9 to bag the four points before stand in skipper Fagan called the boys in with 9 overs to play in day one. However we couldn’t replicate the first innings wicket taking and NSW looked settled at 30-0 at the end of day one.
Day two saw the Covies toil in the field. The bowlers struggled to find any form of consistency and NSW amassed a decent 217-6 (dec) Earl (1-60) was the pick of the bowlers, bowling 15 overs straight in 37c heat. Poles were shared amongst the bowlers.
This left the 10 men covies 42 overs and needing 158 to win. However our top order struggled against a strong NSW attack and we were quickly reduced 30-5 and ultimately 117 all out. Only the resistance from Dowey (12) and Kensell (64) who batted brilliantly in his usual one-day style.
4 points for the covies but it could have been much more!
It was with great excitement that the Lane Cove 4th grade took to the field in round 7 vs North West after the washout in round 6. After a vigorous warm up, fat skip went out looking to win his 6th toss in a row. It would have been a very easy decision to put the opponents in under dark skies with a fairly soft pitch, however, after losing the toss the Covie boys were put into bat. Fat Skip started terribly but was determined to stick around with new opening partner Arun. Not being able to put bat on ball for 10 overs slowed the run rate slightly and it was almost fortunate we yours truly missed a straight one that cannoned into both pads, did not wait for the umpires decision and walked off for a dreadfully made 6. Unfortunately things did not really improve much from there, losing regular wickets to the Nor West Skip who added to his already illustrious career figures taking 7 fa not many. All out for 50. Not impressive, but we knew we had a decent bowling line up so not was all lost.
After a short, passionate speech from Fat skip, the Covies took the field looking to rip in and take early poles. Two early poles later including the prized wicket of the Nor west Skipper, we stopped for another outstanding Tea with the Hurricanes at 2 for 18 odd.
What followed was an inspired spell of bowling from 4 of our quicks. All of them bowling tight, all of them taking poles and putting fear into the batting line up. With single digit runs conceded by all 4 bowlers used we took regular wickets to have North West 9 for 40 and the Covies looking for an unlikely first innings victory. With Kieran Crayn bowling quick and at the stumps it was only a matter of time. Unfortunately a few byes went through, 20 for the innings, things started getting a little worrying. With the total on 47 Crayn managed to slip one through and took the last pole. Great effort from the Covie boys, but job not done as yet.
With 24 overs left in day one the second innings started better for the Covies with Fat Skip and Arun moving the score along to 35 before Fat skip missed another straight one to be bowled this time. Rex and Billy followed quickly but Arun, 35, and Srini, 12 moved the score along to 72 before falling late in the day. This left Crayn and Robbie Seymour to bat out the day leaving, with the Covies 5/80 overnight. A good first day but work left to do Day 2.
Day 2 started well. Keiran, Scotty and Jeff moved the score along to 159 leaving us 162 in front. Highlight of the innings by far was Scotty hitting a Big Maximum down the ground off the bloke that took 12 fa!
Spirits were high when the Covies took the field and they increased even further when Billy took a shar catch at Second off Harry in the first over and then another one a few overs later. At 2 for 30 at Tea, we knew it was going to be a bit harder than the first dig but we were still confident in running through them after another fine Tea.
It was at this point that most of our luck changed. Inside edges past Leg Stump, 5 VERY ADJACENT LB shouts turned down, two drops and some balls passing just wither side of fielders. With great credit to the boys, spirits remained high and we steadily ticked of the poles but the runs were getting higher and closer to the target. With the Nor west skipper coming in at 9 and steady runs coming things were not looking good, however in stepped Robbie Seymour with a great catch at mid on the pressure was on and it was 8 for 153 and the Covies were still in with a chance.
With a handful of overs left in the day and our spear head in Crayn, Cooked like a Pommy at the WACA, in stepped Fat skip to try and bowl a tight over to allow Harry to try and clean up the tail at the other end. It started well. RUN OUT first ball!. 9 for 153. Number 11 coming in. Big chance now. Fat skip knew that he had to Keep the quality batsman on strike. No matter how, Harry had to bowl to the 11. Solution. Waist high full tosses. 2 of them. 2 fours. Not good. 9 for 161. 2 more to get but the number 11 was on strike for the next over. We have a chance.
Great First ball from Harry, flies past the outside edge. So close. Could have been great. Oh well we will get him next ball.
Another good ball, number 11 swipes, thick outside edge…. Through fourth slip for 4. Game over, North west with the reverse outright., massive hollow feeling for the Covies. Enough said about that the better.
All credit must go to North West. They knuckled down well in and fought hard to get the come from behind victory. Yes the result was disappointing but the effort was certainly not lacking from the Covies. End result basically boiled down to not enough runs in the first dig. 20 more and more than likely the result was ours. We certainly will be coming out fighting in round 8 against local rivals Lindfield.