Last weekend’s Manning DCA competition saw the Great Lakes Dolphins continue the surge to the top of the ladder with wins in both seconds and thirds.
After recent good form and, like all clubs, battling the weather demons, both sides were a little under-prepared but did well to earn the chocolates.
In the second’s clash against a Taree West side hell bent on reversing the pasting they received at South Street in the first match, the Dolphins had to endure a barrage from the home side which indeed showed they were up for it.
After an early breakthrough, R Ellis and S Carr took to the bowling and a plethora of boundaries saw the score rapidly reach 116 off just 15 overs before Ellis was out for a fine 52.
His partner in the assault on the ropes was out 10 runs later as Carr fell for an aggressive 62.
Adam Lewis (2/38) had replaced those copping a pasting and, while it was a vital game changer, the West lads kept up their attacking foray.
Paul Rosenbaum (1/39) took a wicket first ball before copping some stick as well and the returning Dave Balaam (2/26), such a key player for the Lakes, made the breakthrough to send Taree into recovery mode at six for 150 off just 23 and still many overs to set a good target.
To their credit the Dolphins hung tough and skipper Sam Hull couldn’t have asked for more.
“I thought the boys came back well after copping a bit early, especially being a bowler or two short,” he said.
His bowling team may discuss that view with him at training, as they are all very capable and did the job as the innings was over well before the home side would have wished.
Craig Lewis (3/36) helped the cause, including the wicket of the debonair and ‘on song’ Lee Crozier, who looked threatening until stumped well by Fryer for 27.
When he was out at seven for 179, the bowlers closed out the innings in the 36 over for 187, a total which could have been even more imposing if not for the group keeping at it.
Damien Bestwick (2/38) came back to take wickets during the innings as well and has been a fine improver as he works at practice on consistency.
The batting stocks had a reasonable target but it could have been much bigger as the Westies will lament.
When Carr snaffled Adam Lewis in the third over, coming off a brilliant attacking innings in the previous round, the
locals would have been thrilled. They were not so in the next 17 overs as Ben Perren, playing his first innings of length and Ryan Clark, rejuvenated into playing the game, built a match winning partnership to take the Dolphins to two for 135 and with batting strength in the shed.
When Nathan Fryer, promoted to number four, was gone for an aggressive 14 at three for 154 in the 25th, the West lads would have been hoping for more.
The in-form Liam Simpson was having none of that, copying the Taree example from earlier, as he took a scythe to the bowling to send the game to an end with a flashing 21 n/o in only three overs with two sixers, adding to his excitement at the team’s success.
Clarke had been a new ‘rock’, remaining 49 n/o and unlucky not to have scored a deserved 50.
With him now ensconced in the squad and playing cricket again like his renowned dad, Rick – a recent returnee himself into vet’s cricket, it’s sure to be a portent to further innings of quality and opportunities ahead.
Home table discussion about run scoring is now a certainty in that household!
Taree West can look to more success with their attacking batting sure to be a threat and Carr (2/23 of 7) was certainly their mainstay for the day.
Whil3 the bowlers leaked some, albeit due to a confident and sensible partnership by Perren and Clark, they still stuck at it in the field as they had when under pressure at South Streer earlier in the season. Respect to them in their tough gigs so far.
The Dolphins know that player availability and change can hit any team and with the silly season of summer approaching, they will need to take care to keep up their focus.
Next week sees them face Old Bar up there, sure to be another ‘battle royale’, after a scrambling one wicket win at home in the last match following a big win.
The game can be cruel and it’s a huge game for both sides leading to the break.
The Dolphins thirds faced Old Bar/Harrington at Lake Street, always on the lush side and more so given the weather events of the week leading in.
OBH batted first (no scorecard details available) and ground their way to 116 off 37.3 overs, an indication of both the field and the tight bowling by the home side.
S. Undries did well with 20 and the Dolphins will want to reduce that in future scorelines. The full bowling roster was used with nine bowlers used to great effect.
The ever consistent Alan May (2/29) bowled eight after the previous Sunday being in superb form in a MNC 50s Trial. It’s such a disappointment he can’t join the 50s squads in the State championships in Orange in February, as his line and length is ‘the go’ in any level of cricket.
He leads a youthful group and Jack Galbraith (1 for 3 off 4), Drew Townsend (2 for 6 off 4), Will Clark (1 for 12 off 3) and Will Lumley (1 for 3 off 2.3) all followed his lead. Another ‘elder statesmen’, in Graham Robinson, also chipped in with some quality line and length to grab two for 15 off six.
It wasn’t a big total to chase but on Lake St it’s always requiring a concerted focus.
The run chase saw Great Lakes lose the in-form Thies early and he will no doubt be ready to hit back next week after his good start to the season.
After also losing Galbraith to be two for 23, Skipper Mick Adams (23) steadied the ride for the Dolphins before OBH cashed in, grabbing both he and the threatening May (8) to have the locals in a spot of bother at four for 60.
It was then the young tyros who showed real application to lead the side home, as Landon Blissett (43 no) and Lachie Monks (14 no) worked hard to build the partnership required and held their nerve in a tight encounter.
They saw the Great Lakes side to a home win at four for 117 with 3.4 overs to spare in what was a good, well matched game of cricket. Again, the OBH lads will be rueing that S.Undries chap, who chipped in with 16.
Like the seconds squad, the Dolphin thirds know they have to keep working as a group and the blend of youth and experience is doing that well at the moment. The last two matches leading to the break will be vital as ladder positions are sought. Well done to both Great Lakes squads and their opposition for doing as they did.