Round two saw the Marcellin Planning Partners third XI down at their forever uneven home deck of McCutcheon Oval against Ashwood’s 2nds. With the toss won by our fearless skipper P-Dinny, and the message of “bat the full 80 and we win the match” being drummed out; the boys warmed up their forward defence ready for a long grind. As many players had never played C grade cricket or an 80 over match before, it set the scene for a game of firsts for many of our players.
The opening combination of Skull and Trev took the shine off the new ball playing to each other’s strengths. Many balls saw their way to the boundary complemented by some delightful running between the wickets which saw Skull reach a 50 run milestone. Trev eventually met his demise on 32 with the opening stand of 75 runs giving the Eagles a promising start.
This welcomed Paul to the crease looking to continue the solid work. Unfortunately after a quick fire 13, he saw the slow raised finger of Ron after being trapped in front (plum) by Ashwood’s crafty spinner. Dan Coloe (the super-sub down from the twos) was next at number 4 and after marking centre with his unorthodox technique, looked to be the goods hitting a delightful ball to the fence. These feelings were short lived as he departed the crease following an unlucky french cut onto middle stump. Matt Coloe set up out in the middle a bit earlier than anticipated. Although, much like his brother, couldn’t last the distance. Again the slightly bent index finger of Ron was pointing back to the pavilion as another middle stump LBW off the Ashwood spinner was given. This saw the Eagles in a spot of both after losing 3 quick wickets for only 34 runs, a total of 4/109.
Nick Watty was next in and keen to display that all his batting talent doesn’t stem from the fabled “2K” bat in his hands. With the overs slowly ticking by so did the runs tally, both batter and bowler tiring in the heat but not willing to give away anything easy. The partnership of Skull and Watty steadied the ship, with Nick showing some lovely stroke play for a much needed 27 runs. Eagles now 5/151.
With the team possibly staring at a smaller total than they had planned for, all eyes looked hopefully on the newly promoted Bull Dog at number 7 to continue the good work. They were not disappointed. A welcome change of pace from Skull’s low strike rate innings saw the Pooch’s injection of grunt and muscle quickly turn the oppositions faces from hopeful to damage control. With cheers and support from Emmett, Chaps, Paul, Thunder, both Coloe boys and Ron on the boundary the Bull Dog spied the cones behind the bowlers head. Reminiscent of a Labrador attacking its dinner, the over pitched delivery was pounced on. Down on one knee, a la Chubba Dinneen, Pooch belted a tremendous long bomb straight over mid off, the ball resembling a 747 in take off. Shortly after, and with a few more balls finding their way to the fence, Bull Dog raised his bat at making his first ever 50! Congrats mate. Ticking over the runs with a cheeky single in the same over (75); helmet off and bat raised to the crowd saw Skull claim his first ever tonne. With both batters grinning from ear to ear under the lid, the work was not yet over. Alas it was not to be as Pooch was bowled by a good delivery seeing his superb knock come to a close on 51.
With this partnership of 84 over, new man at the club Emmett O’Donnell strode out for his first hit facing the final few overs. Whacking an inspired 7 runs and Skull carrying his bat ending on 106 n.o saw the Eagles final score finish on 6/246.
The following Saturday’s conditions being largely identical to the previous week , we welcomed the second half of the super-sub rule Michael Mirabella into the fold hoping for his usual stump to stump brilliance. We were not disappointed. It only took until the 7th over when Mira struck not once but twice with textbook late outswing, feathering the edge of the bat. With our makeshift keeper Pauly-D snaffling the chances like a hungry croc the Eagles quickly found themselves setting up for a hat trick delivery! Sadly it was not to be but starting the game 2/9 was exactly what the team wanted. The “Big Ship” (Ron Murray) rounded out the opening bowling partnership with his exquisite steady rhythmic action and ever reliable stream of maiden overs.
With the opening spells complete, McCutcheon Oval was once again electrified by the return of its prodigal son. The proverbial heavy foot falls and thunder bolt deliveries from the one and only Rowan McKenzie, fresh from the runways of Paris and Milan, surprised the Ashwood batters. Superb hustle fielding by Emmett, Bull Dog, Coloe and Watty restricted the run flow and allowed Rowan to hone in. Next minute the leg stump was rattled and the third wicket had fallen, 3/51 off 23 overs. Nick Watty and Matt Coloe continued the tight bowling, however the occasional leg side delivery causing Paul to scramble. A change in pace just before tea saw our faithful spinner Chaps and the cheeky medo’s of Bull Dog into the attack. This stroke of captaincy brilliance saw Pooch claim a pivotal wicket trapping the number 4 in front LBW. The Eagles went into tea having Ashwood 4/85 but needing to up the over rate having only bowled 37.
The post tea session was a regrettable one with the bowlers applying their craft masterfully; however it was the fielders needing some extra polish. Seeing 5 catches go down that would normally be caught on a daily basis left the door open for Ashwood to apply the pressure. Again the skipper turned to Chaps. With Ron bowling his channels and turning the screws from one end, this allowed Chaps to flight a few deliveries and bring about the error. A high ball was hit and Mira charging in off the fence took a wonderful catch, easily the hardest catch of the day. With the deadlock finally broken and plenty of enthusiasm shown in the field by Skull and Trev, the “Big Ship” smelt blood in the water and took two scalps for himself. A reward for his tireless efforts finishing the day with figures of 2/20 off 15 including 6 maidens. Score 7/132 off 58.
With the overs ticking by and our opposition looking less likely to chase down the 246 run total, the Eagles looked to close out the game and possibly finish early. To Ashwood’s credit they fought on valiantly not giving the home team any satisfaction. Still riding his high from his batting performance the earlier week, Bull Dog came back for a second spell. With final figures of 2/16 off 5 and talk of a man of the match performance, the Pooch again claimed a quick wicket finding the edge and allowing Paul to take yet another simple wicket keeper’s catch. Amid murmurs “who is Mick Dinneen?” floating through the infield, thunderous Rowan was keen to show he also could provide the goods. The 9th wicket fell and P-dinny’s 4th catch for the day saw Marcellin deep into the tail.
Late in the day and Marcellin was seeing the end so tantalisingly close. As a few too many balls reach the boundary, our favourite 3rds mantra “make bowled an option” wash being sung out as the ball was thrown around for someone to have the final honours. Although it was not to be. Ashwood batted out the full 80 overs finishing the day 9/216 and Marcellin coming out with the “W”.
With our first win under our belts in C grade the lads are poised to made a dent in their new league. The work is not yet complete with further improvements needed in all facets of the game. Getting down to training and supporting the club is paramount to ensure this winning feeling.