The Old Scotch juggernaut rolls on as the A Team pulled off a miraculous run chase against a fired up Old Geelong down at Old Geelong's pristine Main Oval in Sleepy Hollow on Sunday.
Old Geelong batted first and with an inspired century by Jack Wood who in a 125 run partnership with Rob Hunter propelled the Old Geelong innings forward to an excellent 7 for 240. With such an impressive total, it is hardly surprising that the Old Scotch bowlers recieved some tap. Benny Summerfield came out of the ordeal with his head held high, bowling tight lines to be the pick of the bowlers with a respectable return of 1 for 26 from his eight overs. Gary "Methuselah" Bennett took 2 for 35 from eight overs to also perform credibily.
The Old Scotch batsmen started brightly, with Melville and Hosking racking up a partnership of 41 by the 10th over. before Melville fell for 16. Then disaster struck in the next over when form batsman Tim Hosking fell for 18 and the score on 43. It was an ominous sign that the pressure of chasing a huge total was exerting huge pressure on the Old Scotch batsman.
Shearer looked superb, playing some crisp strokes before falling for 23 in the 19th over and the score 3 for 91. At drinks, the score was 3 for 96 - a respectable total at the turn in normal circumstances, but chasing a large total of 240, the asking run rate was now over 7 an over for the next 20 overs, and that is hard enough for international players to maintain, much less park cricketers. Old Geelong would have rightfully felt confident of putting the breaks on and strangling the life out of the Scotchie innings.
The Murray brothers have both promised so much this season and have played some fine innings independently of each other - but never quite at the same time. If ever there was a need for the brothers to collectively fire, this was the day. With the match in the balance, Tom and Sam "Junior" Murray both produced innings out of the top draw..."just like the old days in the Murray backyard cricket matches". Tom Murray fell for a valuable 53 and the score on 134. Alisdair Reeves was next man out on 172. Now it was eight overs to go and 68 runs still needed...
Sam Murray fell for a heroic 64 going for one big shot too many. It was now 6 for 214 and only four overs left to score the 27 runs needed for victory. Just under seven runs an over required. With Seb Armstrong going strong, Tim Bate joined him at the crease. The game was still very much in the balance. Bate played to instruction perfectly, picking off singles to turn the strike over to Armstrong the settled batsman. "Stretch" Armstrong boldly took on the Old Geelong bowlers to incredibly get the Scotchies home with an over to spare. Armstrong finished with 21 not out - a crucial cameo. Old Scotch's four wicket victory keeps the show rolling and the lads can look forward with genuine excitement and expectation.
On Sunday The Celebrities hosted MCC Red at home on the Meares. For the second week running, the game was a reduced affair after the covers were not put down and the pitch and centre wicket area was drenched. The match eventually got underway with an agreed 27 overs apiece. That the match took place at all was a testament to Tim Shearer's unbreakable optimism after the game was virtually called off. The Celebrities batted first and posted a respectable 9/126, with Matt Foskey blasting a hard hitting 59. The only other batsman to reach double figures was OSCC premiership player Will "Billy" Elliott who made 13.
The general consensus was that the total was circa 20 runs short, and so it proved with MCC Reds running down the total with six overs to spare and six wickets in hand. The hot talking point at the end of the game was a controversial decision by the umpire to adjudge MCC Reds batsman Smith not out on what appeared a straight forward edge behind off the tireless Stavris before Smith had opened his account. Thus reprieved, Smith went onto make an excellent 66 not out to be the match winner.
The show moves on next round with Tom Murray's A Team taking on Melbourne High School Old Boys at Melbourne High on Saturday, while the Celebrities will be desperate to get their season back on track against Melbourne Uni at Chelsworth Park in Ivanhoe on Sunday. With finals looming, come out and support the lads.
In the mean time...