It was a tough day at the office for both the the Old Scotch CC First XI and the Celebrities in 2nd division in their respective first round clashes.
Newly promoted to MCC 1st Division, Old Mentone wasted no time racking up an impressive 213 off their allotted 40 overs on their home turf to show they will be a force to be reckoned with in season 2015/16. The Scotchies began their reply reasonably well with Tim Hosking compiling a typically belligerent 78 to show that the added responsibility of the club presidency hasn't effected his form. Sadly, most of the top order did not find their feet and with limited support from Sam Murray (14) and Dave "Disco" Armstrong (20), Hosking was unable to guide the team home. A late cameo from Alisdair Reeves (22) provided some entertainment, but, the Scotchies ultimately fell well short to lose by 39 runs.
While disappointed to lose their opening encounter, there were still many positives gleaned from the contest with the father and son combination of Dave Armstrong (2/16) and Seb Armstrong (3/23) shining with the ball.
The Celebrities journeyed out to Syndal to meet the newly promoted Old Wesley CC. Old Wesley won the toss and had no hesitation in putting Old Scotch in on a green wicket with variable bounce. Bate and Nicholas survived the opening salvos of some impressive fast bowling with Tim Bate taking toll of anything loose to make a valuable 33. Drinks were taken at the 19th over with the Celebrities 1/66.
Nicholas was third man out with the score at 90 with 16 overs still remaining to kick-on to a competitive total. What followed, sadly, was a batting collapse reminscent of some of the disappointing efforts from last season. New captain Matthew Foskey offered some resistance with a hard hitting 28 and John Stavris a brisk 17, but from 6 for 148, the last four wickets toppled without further addition to the score.
On a big ground with a slowish outfield, 148 seemed defendable when Vikas "Midas Touch" Choudhary produced the spell of the match reducing Old Wesley to 4 for 56...which was very nearly 5 for 60 when Choudhary had Collins from Old Wesley dropped early and then had the same batsman seemingly caught down the legside only for it not to be given by the umpire, who to be fair had an outstanding game officiating. With only modest batting resources left in the Old Wesley shed, the Celebrities then proceeded to drop the burly Collins no less than four further times ontop of his earlier let off, to allow Collins to strike a match winning 55 to get Old Wesley over the line by 3 wickets and seven balls to spare.
South African paceman Andy Fairman (2/22) bowled fast and without luck, beating the bat regularly as did Benny Summerfield. It was Choudhary the Delhi Dare Devil who put the clamps on the Old Wesley top order, and richly deserved better than the 3 for 26 he ultimately took. Along with Tim Bate and new skipper Foskey, Choudhary could hold his head up high with his performance.
Just as catches win matches, dropped catches have the opposite effect and the Celebrities have an opportunity to regroup with the double bye before their next game allowing time to fine tune certain aspects of their game. The OSCC 1sts have a stern test versus Melbourne Uni out at Princess Park Oval Number 3 this Sunday. Get out there and support the lads in their quest to get back on the winners list.
In the mean time...