Saturday’s Manning district second X1 match at Tuncurry’s South Street Oval saw a dominant performance by the local side.
After a disappointing loss on the Lake Street artificial surface recently, the home side hit back positively with what is reportedly the largest score on the home deck for many a year.
Batting first after being sent in by Taree West, openers James McBride and Liam Simpson had early luck, both dropped off what could be termed ‘sitters’, and proceeded to use the opportunity provided to set a platform as was their job.
They both knuckled down and played the early tight spell of bowling until the inevitable loose ball arrived and dispatched, whilst their running between wickets was excellent.
After a steady start and looking to build on their lucky breaks, the young opening pair began to dominate with selective hitting and some great shot making.
The first 10 overs saw them suddenly establish a super start at 0/55 and they then hit overdrive and surged on a wave of confidence to be 0/132 at the drinks break, an outstanding partnership at any level.
As often happens, the drinks break brought a change and a lapse on concentration from Simpson saw him dismissed for a fine 69.
Sam Hull started confidently and soon showed his hard work in the nets, reconnecting with the game after a seven year break, was going to bring reward.
He soon lost McBride after the opener had built a solid knock of 59, like Simpson, displaying an array of shots to all parts of the ground.
Newcomer Jimmy Milligan then set about building on the barnstorming total which was set up at 2 for 171, with many overs remaining. Milligan and Hull again showed respect for the bowlers who, despite a bit of a shellacking, never stopped trying things on what was a good batting strip.
Similar to the opening pair, the Dolphin’s numbers 3 and 4, played the good ones and flayed the loose, whilst again showing excellent understanding and a willingness to run the ones and push for threes, when they found the slower parts of the recently mowed and SCG sized ground.
The final overs ‘hit out’ saw some less orthodox shots played and the ball landed here and there amongst the fielders as can happen in one day cricket.
To their credit and to the last ball, the Taree West lads, undermanned with a number having been called up to Premier League, kept chasing and diving, striving to stem the flow. Hull was out to a good piece of straight bowling for a stylish 59 which belied his long layoff from the game.
Milligan kept attacking and pushed to 40 NO, again showing the result of excellent application in recent net sessions and a willingness to mix discipline with aggression in his innings. Wrapping up at 3 for 267, with S.Undries adding 37, the visitors were faced with a mountain to climb.
The work done by curator Rob Withers in recent weeks, especially given the ground reputation and the latest weather conditions, certainly proved a bonus for the batting side as the ball came on well and provided the batters the chance to play with confidence.
With continued work and support by other club members, it can only be hoped that the deck can be maintained and built on as the season progresses. Well done to Rob!
The Taree openers started with a willingness to attack, as was needed to chase down such a score but the Dolphin’s skipper Sam Bowkett had entreatied his armoury to be patient and bowl stump to stump, as most want to do.
Thus, despite a 0 for 17 off 3 over surge, highlighted by some fine shots by captain Brad Mitchell, the home skipper could be nought but thrilled with his attack’s response. Damien Bestwick, bowling with good wheels and a pleasing focus at off stump, made the first breakthrough, Rod Ellis being caught by the ever safe hands of Adam Lewis.
This catch set the standard in the field with the excellent snavelling of a ball which had a long hang time and had others looking high into the sun.
Bowkett chimed in soon after with a sizzling ball, which Tye Moriarty did well to get a touch on and taken by , and the Taree innings was soon to fall into tatters.
Bestwick, bowling quickly and straight, had one keep a little low on Mitchell who was out LBW for 15.
Bowkett then produced a ‘peach’ of a delivery to bowl Angus Gregory for the first of five ‘ducks’ in the innings and, when Bestwick again bowled in the corridor to induce a catch behind and send the solid looking and experienced Andrew dack on hus way, the Taree innings was shattered at 5 for 24.
The four overs of straight and quick bowling had set the tone and the wickets continued to tumble.
The Fryer brothers, Nathan and Dan, having missed out on a bat and Nate giving the gloves to the old bloke in Everingham, both got in on the act and took their random opportunity to answer the captain’s call.
They bowled stump to stump to and, with all catches taken and the stumps knocked over, the Taree innings capitulated at 47.
It was an important aspect that the locals showed respect to the opposition by maintaining focus in a dominant display and, despite the disappointment of the Taree West players, they can be proud of the fact they ‘had a dip’, with their inexperienced and young blokes all doing as they could.
The home team’s form was pretty red hot, the confidence gained from the excellent batting innings transferring into the bowling and fielding.
No doubt the Taree team will be ready to hit back next week. Days like that happen and can be learnt from.
For the Dolphins, a continued effort to train hard and properly, working on developing their technique and consistency, is what the boss has ordered and the talent within the club, in seconds and thirds, can see more such golden days.
Having said that, the after match shed talk was awash with happiness tempered by the memory of their poor performance in the last match and the knowledge the hard days will still be ahead and need to be met with a positive mental application.
Skipper Bowkett has a good, sincere head on his shoulders and his young players can do nothing but take note of same, hopefully heeding his counsel, and pleas, to work hard at making themselves and the club better in all manner.
Their attitude and response in this match has set a tough benchmark which may well need more time to be reached against stiffer opposition.
Cricket is a one ball game and can make fools of us all but it was certainly a positive step forward for the team.
The third X1 clash between the Dolphins and Wingham was a much closer affair with the Lake Street synthetic saw a low scoring and tight tussle.
The visitors won the toss and batted and after a steady start, just about seeing off openers Seb Strong and Jack Galbraith, they lost their first at 17 with Strong making the breakthrough, young keeper Landon Blissett taking his first of three catches behind.
The tight spell by the openers and a double change with the introduction of Alan Thomas and Brett Monks, saw a huge alteration, both bowlers taking wickets to see the hill dwellers slump to 5 for 22 and in disarray.
Both change bowlers took 3 wickets and the demise continued with Cameron Thies chiming in to grab two wickets and have the visitors 9 for 48.
Jayde Stace hit lustily and successfully to give his team something to bowl at as he took the long handle to young gun Will Lumley, who had also grabbed a wicket earlier.
Such is one day cricket and the young Dolphin will come back, being a talented and quick learning type. The innings ended at 90 with Stace pretty much a lone hand with 37NO.
The home side had a disastrous start with Mick Adams and Thomas both out cheaply. Opener Thies and the experienced Monks steadied the ship before the senior bat was out with the total at 43 and the home side looking on target for a win.
New signing and talented bat with excellent LMS form (and super junior cricket organiser) Graham Robinson, had a lamentable re-start to grade cricket, pulling a first ball long hop to an alert fielder. Robbo, who works hard with juniors and in his own practice sessions, will overcome that and be a beaut addition to the club.
Blissett then dug in with Thies as the Wingham guys sniffed a chance and when the young and talented allrounder fell at 5 for 62 it was definitely game on.
Again Thies, showing the focus and form he’s worked hard on at training, held the innings together with another young allrounder in Galbraith and they took the score to 6 for 76.
Disaster struck immediately upon Galbraith’s dismissal, with another returning ‘young veteran’ in Nick Lumley having the same start as his juniors’ coaching mate Robbo and not troubling the scorer.
The dire situation went into the mire with the run out of the anchor man in Thies, who had done a great job for a well compiled 39, a big effort from him and one he will use as he continues the hard work he puts into his game this year.
At 8 for 78 it was a big ask of Alexander Thomas, Lachlan Monks and Will Lumley to grind out the remainder and the opposition seized the moments to score a hard fought win, knocking over the tail to dismiss the Great Lakes side for 85 in a beaut battle of ebb and flow cricket.
Credit to them for fighting back from their batting shambles to set a total and then, once inroads were made, to fight it out and come out on top.
The Dolphins thirds, with a mix of young starters and some experienced Dads and others, in addition to pretty good numbers, will learn from the match and move forward to be a competitive force during the year, as they were in this excellent tussle. Well done to all on a good day’s cricket.