Creak Shield: Manly Warringah 115 Def. SEJCA 60
A hot and windy day as the Creak Shield team played their Semi-Final against Manly on their home turf. Captain Alex Greenhill won the toss and elected to field first on a slow outfield.
The team started beautifully. Tim Molnar struck in the first over, the batsman edging one straight to Ed Neal at first slip. The energy in the field was outstanding and our bowlers were incredibly disciplined. The pressure resulting in a second wicket to Noah Gaussen, with Oscar Wright taking a sharp catch at point. Shortly after, a quick single was attempted, the ball hit to Angus Royal at square leg, who returned a 30m rocket throw hitting the base of the stumps at the bowlers end, 3/24 and we were pumped. We took wickets regularly, Will Livissianis bowled another phenomenal spell, picking up 3 wickets and creating plenty of chances. Alex Greenhill was tight as always and led the team well with some great tactical choices in the field. A wicket to Ben van Dam meant Manly were 7/64. It was the best 30 overs we'd put in all season, with our bowlers incredibly disciplined as always and our fielding stepping up to the occasion.
A dropped catch, a desperately close run out decision not going our way and a significant increase in the wind and heat helped Manly’s lower order get on top. We dropped our intensity and that’s all good teams need. A couple of well executed run outs and a wicket to Aston Weir saw Manly all out for 115.
A score we should really have had no trouble chasing. Well done to the boys on only 5 extras the entire innings, and again, our incredible keepers, who let in only 1 bye in 38 overs.
The run chase started well, Alex and Jaxon Heapes saw us to 0/25 off 9 overs. Then, it was a collapse that was as unexpected as it was significant. Wickets just continued to fall for a combination of reasons. Manly were exceptional in the field, they held onto all of their catches and created a number of run outs. Needless to say our performance with the bat was uncharacteristic and enabled them to dominate. Our shot selection and ability to occupy the crease wasn’t good enough, with only 3 batsman facing more than 10 balls. The pressure also resulted in a number of poor decisions in our running between the wickets. Alex scored a fighting 32, but the team was eventually all out for 60.
A disappointing end to what has been a thoroughly enjoyable and fairly successful season, with a some amazing highlights (Aston's 185 v Bankstown, Angus 64 v Bankstown, Arlo's 5/9 v IWH, William's match saving innings v Parra... the list goes on)
Huge thanks must go to our parent group, who sacrifice so much to support not only their own children but the collective team as well. It truly is much appreciated.
To Anthony Greenhill, who has contributed so much to our success on the field. His knowledge of the game has helped the boys improve immensely and his work behind the scenes has helped everything run smoothly and made my job much easier.
Finally, boys, well done on a positive season. Your commitment and passion for the game is inspiring. There's been a lot of improvement amongst the team, which is a testament to amount of work you've all put in and how determined you are to learn and be the absolute best you can be. It's been a privilege coaching you all, not because you're all talented (which you are), but because your all great young men who work hard and are so passionate about the the game, thanks for making the season so enjoyable.
Watson Shield: Penrith 7/190 Def. SEJCA 164
Off to Penrith for a semi final. Co-capt Tom Winters unavailable, in comes Rohan Sharma to bolster the lower order batting.
Toss goes their way and we are in the field. Range of bowling stocks gives us the option to mix it up - short spells, perfect for the hot and blustery conditions. Modest score at drinks 1-49 off 15. Time to build pressure and dot them through the 2nd hour.
Next 2 sessions were a collective effort. Luke comes on and delivers, saved to change up our attack. His short of length seamers allowed us to build pressure. Still under the pressure of their top bats being at the crease we showed some grit to build dots. Grit also courtesy of the breeze that was building.
Tough conditions continued to build, actually got harder in the field with 50 knot windows tearing off the Blue Mountains to St Marys via Penrith.
Wickets fell and the over run rate was back on track at 3 and a bit per over. 190 after 50 in the end. Gifted them some runs but a solid effort and a score we were comfortable with.
Wickets shared across the change bowlers, Jacko with breakthrough wicket, Luke picking up the next, 2 to Sam and Shehan taking one and providing 10 good overs.
In we go, Blue Mountains gale steaming through. Rory and Fred, then just Rory. Fred creating an interesting run out - 2nd ball, nil balls faced and in the shed but team man all the way. Took it well. Dad missed it anyway, Beemer windscreen was frosted from the AC!
Sam and Rory get us away with a reasonable recovery when Sam out with the score at 28. Yianni to the crease and with Rory put on a 45 run partnership, Rory another great opening knock of 41. We are in it up to our eyeballs, and best of all, the opposition know it.
In comes Shehan and while settling with Y he suddenly pops one to cover. Arch with a cameo - short but sweet and we do edge closer. And they get quieter. 5-118, we are still on track in my view.
Yianni continues to lead the way, 50 runs reached just after the final drinks break. He calls for someone to stay with him. Macka in, and unusually run out by their less than impressive WK.
We edge closer but its getting away from us. A couple of lusty, warranted blows and we may have had them. Not to be. All out 164 - 26 short.
Y ends up at 78 not - many good knocks in our matches, Sam 95 v Suth, Rory 69 v Suth but this one by Yianni a stand out given the conditions and the pressure of the situation.
A game played in mixed spirits - we can be proud of so many things in this season but none better than hearing the umps say how much our boys stuck to their game to the end, upholding the true values of the game. I thanked them but wanted to say it hurts even more given the poor behaviour of the opposition. Lets leave it there, sour taste but full of pride.
We almost got there but the journey was worth it. A pleasure to be there each Sunday, everyone pretty much on time ready and willing to go.
Thank you to all, it was an honour to guide the boys, enjoy the parent chats while each of you supported them and the team at each match. The scorers, the home match catering and the odd extra bag of ice and water kept the team going.
Signing off with Players Player to be announced post receipt of final match 3 2 1s.
Yours in cricket,