Returning for the first game of the new year, Old Scotch continued their excellent season to date, with a hard fought win over Old Geelong at a sunny Meares Oval on Saturday.
Old Geelong won the toss, and perhaps surprisingly, asked the Scotchies to have a bat on an always true Meares surface. The Old Scotch batsmen responded brilliantly - as they have done all season - with the hard hitting Tim "Faf" Hosking starring yet again with a polished 69 in a season of excellent scores. In union with the brilliant Sam Shearer, who has also been in career best form, the two in form batsmen put on a stand of 87, with Shearer compiling a typically stylish 45.
With the departure of Hosking with the score on 3 for 157, a large total seemed on the cards, but a mini collapse ensued to undo much of the earlier good work.
Seb Armstrong entered the fray, and in partnership with the stylish Tim Bate, the young Scotchies put on an unbroken 82 run stand for the 7th wicket to hoist the score up to a seemingly impregnable 6 for 245 at the compulsory closure after 40 overs. Armstrong contributed a typically hard hitting 49 not out and Tim Bate always looked unflustered compiling 29 not out.
On a lightning fast Meares Oval outfield, it soon became apparent, that even 245 which required the Old Geelong batsmen to score at more than 6 an over, might not be enough!
With Bennett Merriman anchoring down the Old Geelong innings with a well crafted 94 not out, the partnering Old Geelong batsmen attacked with great courage and almost pulled off an improbable victory finishing a credible 12 runs short at 5 for 233. Will Hayes was the only muiltiple wicket taker with 2/52.
The bowling department has traditionally been the Old Scotch strong point, but strangely, has been less than stellar this season, providing captain Tom Murray something to ponder as the Scotchies push towards a finals berth.
On Sunday, the Celebrities took on the always powerful Old Caulfield at Glen Huntly on a scorcher of a day. Old Caulfield won the toss and batted first on a crumbling fourth day pitch. The depleted Celebrities did rather well to limit the score to 7 for 207. Though, to be uber critical, a number of catches were put down that allowed Old Caulfield to perhaps make 30-50 more than what it should have been.
The Celebrities got off to a horror start with the in form Matthew Foskey playing over a straight yorker that cannoned into his leg stump for no score. Soon after, a further shock when the flagging Vic Nicholas retired hurt from the effects of heat stroke as he cut a pathetiic figure trudging off the ground in a daze. There has to be a fine for that pea-hearted effort!
Star batsman Will Elliott was controversially adjudged caught behind down the leg side to one he did not make any connection with for 15, and what followed was a regular clatter of wickets as only Choudhary (15) and Stavris, with a typically pugnacious 25, showed any resistance as the Scotchies capitulated for 109.
A still dazed Nicholas staggered out to join Stavris at the crease at the fall of the 9th wicket with 7 runs still required to avert the bonus point loss - though Nicholas was apparently unaware of the graveness of the situation until later. John Stavris saved the Old Scotch blushes with a marvelous cover driven boundary before perishing playing one big shot too many.
It was a really hard day at the office for the Celebrities, with the bright spot being the debut of teenage left arm fast medium bowler Henry Stacey. Stacey bowled economically and set a wonderful standard in the field, throwing himself around with reckless abandon and enthusiasm showing encouraging signs that he will be a player of substance. A special shout out to Aidan Franetic who performed admirably with the keeping gloves.
We move on to this weeks games with the "A Team" taking on the powerful Old Trinity at their glorious Hudson Oval home base this Saturday and the The Celebrities look to bounce back with a vengeance against Melbourne High School Old Boys at Meares Oval also on Saturday afternoon.
We love your vocal support, so come on down and give the boys a lift with your presence this weekend. In the mean time...
SURROUND YOURSELF IN THE EXCITEMENT!