The Celebrities scored a big bonus point victory against an undermanned Old Xavier outfit in their MCC Division 2 clash at Meares Oval on Saturday. The match witnessed the epic return of prodigal sons - and OSCC premiership stalwarts - Will "Billy" Elliott and Nich "Hilda" Hildebrandt back into the fold as the Scotchies ran out winners by 6 wickets.
For most of the afternoon it looked like being a regulation win over an Old Xavier outfit that featured many school aged cricketers dragooned into service due to unavailabilities. The Old Scotch bowling line up spearheaded by Angus Harlock and Benny Summerfield made short work of the inexperienced Old Xavs line up, rifling out the schoolboys for 81.
The star with the ball was Conor O'Bierne who captured an incredible 4 for 11 off 7 miserly overs. All four wickets were bowled - three of them from deliveries clipping offstump. Such was the unexpected nature of the performance, that the usually taciturn O'Bierne even cracked a rare smile!
The task on a flat Meares wicket was a simple one - knock off the required runs quickly and secure a bonus point. With confidence brimming in the Scotchies camp, O'Bierne and Griffiths strode to the crease purposefully. However, disaster struck, as it is prone to do lately when the Celebrities are batting, when in the first over Griffiths uncharacteristically attempted a hook (what??) and gloved the ball down the legside to the keeper. One for none. Bah, just a flesh wound!
Will Elliott in his comeback innings joined O'Bierne at the crease and the two class batsmen set about scoring briskly, when in the third over a shiver went down the Celebritries line up collective spine when O'Bierne played over a straight delivery and was bowled for five. 2 for 13. No need to panic just yet!
Vic "BDV" Nicholas joined Elliott at the crease and a sensible approach was all that was needed to win it from here. Then unexpectedly, Will Elliott got a fine tickle on a leg glance that was taken by the Xavier keeper! Five overs in, it was now 3 for 19! Oh what drama!
Captain Matthew Foskey yet again made his way to the crease with the Celebrities top order in disarray. Foskey immediately set about the bowling with a single minded determination to achieve the target before drinks, crashing boundaries impervious to the pressure.
Then in the tenth over, Nicholas essayed a sweep to the Xavs slow bowler Edwards and he too was caught behind down the legside allegedly off the glove! "Nothing but arm", BDV was heard to mutter as he trooped off the field in disgust at the decision and the teams predicament. 4 for 29, and it was still only the 10th over! This was *not* going according to script!
Cometh the hour, cometh the man! Charlie Long made his way to the crease looking like a man in a hurry - "I've got a 21st in Redhill to go to...I really have to get going" - he was heard to snarl as he made his way to the middle.
What would the tactics be now? Would Matthew "The Fozz" Foskey and Charlie Long sensibly pace themselves to achieve the target and secure the win and damn the bonus point? The young Xavs were on top and full of voice - surely if the Scotchies squandered this game, it would give the Xavs lads bragging rights and also go down as a miracle backs-to-the-wall victory against their arch foe?
I don't know what Fozz or Longy were thinking in that moment of crisis, but Charlie Long from the first ball he faced proceeded to mount an extraordinary assualt on the young Xavs bowlers, despatching the ball to all parts with some remarkable hitting. Such was Long's raw power, that even miss-hits were cruising to the boundary. With The Fozz uncharacteristically playing the support role, Charlie Long smashed the Scotchies to the bonus point within nine overs of stupendous stroke play! Long finished on 35 not out and Foskey on 28 not out as the target was reached early in the 19th over.
So a win and a bonus point to boot!
The Celebrities next take on MCC Blue at Scotch College this Saturday in a double header with the 1s also playing at home.
Come along and cheer the lads on in the last game before the Christmas break!
In the mean time...