SMCC 1st Grade, 14/21 Oct 2006.
As part of a new internal club newsletter, all of the captains of Scarborough Cricket Club are asked to submit a match report for each game. This will probably be of limited interest to non-members, but I’ll put it up here anyway for your reading pleasure.
The scorecard for this game is available online here.
We won the toss and sent Belmont in to bat. A steady start from their openers saw them accumulate 67 for the first wicket before a fired-up Craig Groth broke through and triggerred what turned out to be a remarkable collapse.
From 0-67 they lost wickets at a steady and rapid pace until they were all out just after the tea interval for 118. A collapse of 10-51. Groth and Dimery finished with 3 wickets apiece and Ward took the remaining 4 thanks mainly to their batsmen insisting on hitting everything in the air directly to fielders.
The Sharks once again were dynamite in the field, with only a few 2nd-game nerves from new coach Dimery spoiling an otherwise flawless display. For two games in a row now we have given our opponents a lesson on tight fielding and safe catching.
The Sharks had around 100 minutes to start compiling the 118 needed to win before the end of day 1. Balluci and Goodwin opened the chase but both were dismissed early without troubling the scorers a great deal. The Messiah followed not long after and at 3-23 it looked like the rest of us might be thrown to the lions as punishment for following him.
However, Dimery was not to be dominated and greeted his first ball with a dismissive drive through point. Chris Bodycoat joined him and for a while the two looked comfortable, until The Count bottom-edged a pull shot onto his stumps. 4-38 at stumps and Dimery and Spencer, neither noted blockers, did a good job to face out the remaining few overs in failing light and protect the pusillanimous wicket-keeper Steven Florance from facing the evening music.
Much talk during the week’s break surrounded Dimery and he was cast as the man most likely to save Scarborough from what would have been a second embarassing batting collapse in as many games. Fate, however, had other ideas – as Dimery was sent packing early on day two with only 1 additional run against his name. The now embiggened Florance joined rookie batsman Spencer at the crease, and just as things were looking their most grim at 5-43, a new upstart arose to steal the messiah’s crown of thorns.
Spencer proceeded to flay the listless Belmont attack to all parts of the ground, ably assisted by Florance who although solid, at times showed all the elegance of a sperm whale trying to root a submarine.
Mainly through the repeated assault on Belmont’s legside regiment, Spencer produced an awesome display of hitting and the targets quickly crumbled, relieving the pressure and also allowing the cautious Florance to also come into his own. Spencer’s fifty was greeted with wary cheers, but the crowd couldn’t be silenced when the winning target of 118 was knocked off, leaving only two questions unanswered: Could Spencer go all the way, and could Florance get his season kickstarted by breaking the magical 30 barrier early in the season?
The second question was sadly too tough an ask, as Florance departed with his score precisely at the upper end of his range: 30. A solid effort nonetheless. Spencer, however, delighted the crowd and allowed keen spectator Regina Norman the privelege of seeing her first ton, after 25 years of watching her 17 brothers scratch around in the Corowa league.
Spencer’s maiden century was more than enough, and he was out not long after and the Scarborough innings was closed at 7-179 declared. With more than 2 hours left to try and secure an early season points bonus by outright defeat, the Sharks again took to the field.
3 early breakthroughs by Dimery saw Belmont again on the rocks and looking for a lifeboat. A tail end that last week had been exposed by Scarborough’s pace attack this week was spared a similarly inept display by mother Gaia herself. In what might well have been a display of mourning for Belmont’s departed ability, she drew long, dark clouds across the ground and forced the Sharks to rely on spin to get the 7 remaining wickets.
Despite the best efforts of Luke Goodwin who took 3-24, we were denied our rightful dominance by the slenderest of margins. Belmont scratched around until 6.05 and finished on 9-94, but not before being subjected to the cold, dead, psychotic eyes of club hard man Adam Balluci who looked as if he’d just as soon be throwing sharp knives at the batsmen. The Belmont batsman, unsettled by Scarborough’s own Ivan Milat, almost sprinted off the field when given the all-clear by umpire Marlow.
The Sharks had posted their first win of the season, thanks in no small part to the batting heroics of Dave Spencer in only his second appearance in the green and gold. A small shudder went through the league as the realisation dawned that not only had Scarborough uncovered a new champion in Spencer, but that the sight of seeing him savage the Belmont attack had given Balluci his first scent of blood for the season.
The feeding frenzy will have to wait for another day, but the writing is already on the blood-spattered wall.