FIRST XI DEFEATED BY ASHBURTON WILLOWS CC
On a glorious, but also very hot day out at Ferndale Park, the First XI, captained by Will McKenzie began their LOC3 Premiership quest against Ashburton Willows CC. The players were ready, the ground looked good; they won the toss and elected to bat. Opening with Greeny from the driveway end, he bowled some absolute thunderbolts down, showing no hint of relief to the batsmen. Stiffler took the second over, but unfortunately his warm up ball was a bit short and was dispatched through point for four. They targeted Stiffler as Greeny kept bowling tight, with the batsmen just simply dangling the bat in front of the ball and using his pace from time to time. Will made the change to bring on Grades. Grades bowled extremely well off his allotment of overs, but alas he couldn’t add to his season tally of 26 wickets. Greeny finished his spell taking the first two wickets. A highlight was Stiffler getting horizontal at cover for an attempted catch, but all he could do was knock it out to Dools at long on who was quick to pounce and returned the ball so quick there was almost a run out. Three balls later, Greeny smashed his stumps with a very quick ball. Soon, Doolie was to drop a catch, but this just meant Greeny was able to find the edge the very next ball, caught Gazza. This began a few quiet overs for the Willows, with Grades and Greeny bowling great lines and lengths, and awesome fielding making it very difficult for the batsmen. Wickets then started falling steadily, but so too the runs as the batsmen increased the intensity. 3 for 80 off 26, 4 for 100 off 29, 5 for 133 off 34, TWANG! Blackie’s hamstring. Fortunately he bowled his 8 overs and bowled well too. Benny sub fielded and managed to pair up with Stiffler who kept his composure for a run out. 7 for 142, 8 for 150. After 40 overs, 8 for 173. Stiffler ended up taking a caught and bowled, juggled it. Some say he did it to keep the Panther crowd in suspense, some say he had no idea it was coming back, whatever you think it was still a vital wicket. Hulk bowled extremely well too, taking a couple of wickets and tying up his end. He was ferocious at times and ensured the batsmen were uncomfortable. I don’t think he realised who was in the crowd.
This is where my memory gets a bit hazy… With Dicko in one ear, and a bourbon in the hand. Speedy and Will strode out to the middle to open our account. They looked to work the ball around, Speedy playing a fine pull shot before being dismissed. Kavan ‘em up, Special K, Johnny, whatever you call him batted at 3. Bobby Walton was salivating on the sidelines at the technique, the pointed elbow, the composure, saying, “This bloke can bat, who is he?” Unfortunately, as we later found out Kavan was not feeling too well, possible heat stroke and was bowled. Number 4 position this season has been owned by the highest run scorer, Dools. He added to his 400 run season with a fine 66. We believe it may have been prompted by Wilbur’s massive picket fence (longer than the one that surrounded the ground) and Dools got sick of running, hitting some big shots. During this Will who batted extremely well, controlling the innings was dismissed and the partnership holding it together was over. Enter another great batsmen, Gazza. Gazza played a few, some big swings that with those arms if he made contact would disintegrate the ball, before he was found LBW. Eugene the umpire had a taste for LBWs now so Brentons was given out first ball for LBW; he claims going down leg, but even from the side it looked pretty plumb. Oh dear, the momentum had really swung around now. Greeny batted with Dools before he got a good one and brought Jimmy to the crease. Grades looked good, looked determined and played accordingly. But Murphy’s Law he plays one loose shot and it doesn’t pay off, no luck. Stiffler enters, looking at Stiffler corner. Needing 22 off the last 2 overs, he managed to hit a massive 6 to Stiffler Corner. Greeny ran himself out going for the second, as the old saying goes, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”, just a great throw on this occasion. Unfortunately, all we had left was Blackie who could barely stand on one leg. Ruling had Greeny as his runner – ironic as it was the bloke who just ran himself out, hence why Will was looking for someone else to do it! Anyway, Blackie swung but to no avail was unable to hit like he normally does. Stiffler faced the last couple, needing 8 to win and managed to hit a four off the last, although we questioned if it was a 6. Either way, lose by 1 or 3, we still didn’t get the runs and thus ended our season. We can hold our heads high as we fought hard and both sides at times were right in it. In the end, they probably made less mistakes and just that little bit of extra luck was the difference. We went into the season with 2 teams, 1 made finals and we picked up a few new and old players at the club. A great crowd was down to support too, thank you.