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Season 2016/17 finally started for both Old Scotch teams on Sunday in a double header at Scotch College. After the washouts and byes that marred the opening month of the season, everyone was delighted to be back playing cricket.

The first XI got off to the best possible start with a thumping six wicket victory over an always hard to beat Melbourne High Old Boys outfit on the Meares. Chasing 156 to win, the top order all got starts with the stand outs being Sam Shearer with a stylish 53 and the redoubtable Tim Hosking who showed that he will be once again a force this summer with a classy 36.

With the ball Will hays (3/18) and skipper Matthew Grose (3/28) were the stars in a fine team bowling effort to restrict the dangerous MHOB’s strong batting line up to 155.

The runs were chased down in 26 overs of power hitting and sublime stroke play, in a performance that showed that the Scotchies will once again be a formidable force in the battle for the MCC 1st Division flag.

On the lower oval, the Celebrities were not so lucky against last season’s grand finalists Old Haileybury. In a see-sawing game where there were momentum shifts aplenty, the Celebrities squandered a solid 2 for 88 start at drinks, to then collapse upon the resumption, with first the obdurate Nicholas falling to an uncharacteristic swipe for a limpet like 24, and then a procession of wickets falling thereafter. Sam Murray fresh from his lengthy European trip made a masterful 46 and Danny O’Shea made a hard hitting, action packed 53 to entertain the gallery. English gappy Luke James also contributed a boundary laden 21.

Defending 174 , the Celebrities got off to the perfect start as Angus Harlock ripped out the first four wickets with only 24 on the board. Soon Old Hailebury were 6 for 65 and an early finish looked on the cards. Not to be denied, Devasirie and Nainhabo produced a marvelous 78 run stand to put Hailebury back on top.

Thirty three runs required for victory and 9 overs to play, the Celebrities looked dead in the water. Murray took the key wicket of Devasrie who made a fine 53. Three wickets in hand and the score was advanced to 162 – so only 13 runs needed by the Old Haileyburians for victory. The ball was thrown to Johnny Stavris who responded magnificently with the big wicket of Nainhabo for 50. Almost immediately, Stavris had Burn caught for 0, and it was now 9 for 162!

Thirteen needed by Old Haileybury for victory, and the Celebrities only needed one more wicket! That wicket nearly came when the Haileybury batsman flicked the ball off their pads and Harlock made a fantastic one handed pick up…both batsmen were at the same end and a run out must surely have been the outcome. But, in the cacophony of voices yelling advice in unison, the throw went to the wrong end, and somehow the Haileybury batsman made his ground! A few other half chances followed, but the winning runs were duly struck, giving Old Haileybury the narrowest of victories in an entertaining contest.

Next Sunday sees the A team go down to Geelong Grammar in what is always a high class contest, while the Celebrities look to bounce back against Old Xavier at Barkers Road, in what is always a no holds barred encounter.

In the mean time…


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