With the 1st XI having their game washed out against Old Melbournians due to a pitch being unable to be prepared in time out at Flack Oval, the Celebrities hosted the recently relegated from 1st Division, Old Haileybury at sunny Meares Oval.
Whilst end of year exams deprived the Celebrities of some key players, those that were brought in to bolster the line up were A class players, and thus the team on paper looked to be a strong one. Unluckily for the Celebs, the game was played on grass, and after looking likely to steam roll their way to a win early on, the Celebrities put in a lamentable display with the bat to give themselves no chance.
Old Haileybury won the toss and had no hesitation to bat on a lovely surface prepared by our wonderful curators. After early fireworks that witnessed the hysterically funny sight of John Stavris being deposited almost into the tennis courts for a mighty six in the first over of the day, the Old Scotch bowling line up regrouped and took what seemed to be a stranglehold of the game when Old Haileybury were reeling at 5 for 52 in the 18th over.
Concentration faltered and the bane of dropped catches reared it's head again to allow OHCC to stage a recovery when they looked on the mat down for the count. The bowling of Angus Harlock (1/15), Sam Shearer (1/11), Vikas Choudhary (1/15) and Mack Rivett (1/20) eventually stifled the Old Hailebury fightback and with Johnny Stavris cleaning up the tail (3/39), the Celebrities would be chasing 149 to win.
While the score was perhaps as much as 50 runs more than what OHCC should have been allowed to achieve due to lapses in the field, on a fast Meares surface, it didn't seem nearly enough to stop the Scotchie batting line up...or so it seemed.
With Nicholas sidenlined due to a misshap in the field and Griffths carrying a leg injury into the game, the enterprising Foskey and the gifted Rivett opened up, and it was suddenly apparent that the Old Haileybury bowlers were serving up some decent swing/seam bowling with a decent dash of pace. The breakthrough however, came in a manner that Celebrity skipper Matt Foskey would rather forget - out stumped off a fast bowler after the wicket keeper who was standing back threw the stumps down as The Fozz played and missed. A jolly fine way to lose a first wicket in a crucial run chase!
With young tyros Rivett and Sam Shearer (guesting from the 1st XI) at the crease, there was no panic on the sidelines (yet). That was all to change however, as Shearer was freakishly dismissed for a duck as the ball skewed off a leading edge to the slip cordon and audible groans were heard on the embankment. Mack Rivett gave momentary hope as he blazed a couple of lovely boundaries and overall looked at ease against the challenging bowling, but he too fell when he was bowled for 8 and the Celebrities had slumped to 3 for 15. Sam "Jetstar" Neil fell next ( 4 for 17), and when Armstrong and Stavris both fell, the score was a scarcely believable 6 for 25.
Choudhary was next to go, caught behind when in fact bat hit pad, not ball and the score was now 7 for 38. Oh dear! The brave Griffo perished next and it was 8 for 39 and Harlock followed 9 for 41, before Nicholas - pressed into service at number 11 - was adjudged caught behind, when he flashed and missed a ball outside off, much to his chagrin and protestations to the umpire of an injustice caused. It mattered not, however, as the Scotchies were dismissed for a paltry 43 - the Celebrities lowest score since the corresponding round last year when an exam decimated line up was put to the sword by eventual premiers Old Mentone.
This loss was far more galling, however, as the Celebrity line up was quite a competitive one, that really should have done much better.
There will be a lot of soul searching during the week as the Celebrities will look to wipe this performance from the memory bank and get back on the winners list next Sunday, when they take on Old Wesley (again) out at Syndal (again) hoping to turn the tables on a close loss in round one.
The A Team take on Melbourne Uni at Meares Oval in their first home game of season 2015/16. Get down and cheer the lads on, as the guys love your support.
In the Mean time...