A stoic century from in form Old Scotch batsman Cameron Melville on Saturday couldn't prevent the A Team from plummeting to their second straight defeat against a pumped up Old Geelong outfit that batted out of their skins to chase down a challenging victory target on the Meares Oval.
Old skipper Matt Grose had no hesitation in batting first after winning the toss. A sunny day and a fast outfield made the decision easy. It seemed vindicated too, as Tim Hosking and Cam Melville got off to a solid start of 44, before Hosking fell for 23, yet again not managing to capitalise on a decent start in contrast to last season. Joining Melville at the crease was the returning Sam Shearer after his European jaunt that saw him absent for over a month. Picking up where he left off without missing a beat, Shearer was immediately batting fluently and in harness with Melville advanced the score to 124 when Shearer was dismissed for a well made 38.
From 1 for 124, and a seemingly impregnable start, things began to unravel from this point. Both Murray brothers were run out in quick succession, thus depriving the team two of the in form batsmen of the season in the final overs when things get frenetic. Griffiths also followed soon after, suddenly leaving the Scotchies teetering at 5 for 160, when a score of 230-240 looked on the cards.
Grose and Hayes both helped Melville to push the score to a decent 6/216, with Melville registering his century before the compulsory closure to finish 103 not out. A wonderful knock from the young left handed opener. Was 216 enough though? On any other day, it probably would be, but on this sunny day with a lightning fast outfield and benign pitch, it looked to be circa 15-20 runs shy of a winning total.
Those concerns were borne out in the opening 10 overs of the Old Geelong innings as first Bayles, then Fischer and Wood threw the bat at everything and lived incredibly dangerously. It seemed that the onslaught could not possibly last, but just like the week before, fortune favoured the brave and Old Geelong had scored 9 an over off the opening ten overs of their innings. They were incredibly nearly half way to their victory target and the Scotchies looked non plussed.,
Up to the crease stepped Year 12 student Chris Jackson to bowl his spinners, and he bowled beautifully. Not only did Jackson stem the haemorrhaging of runs, but young Jackson also created wicket taking opportunities. That none of them came to pass was hardly his fault as his bowling continued to ask questions of the batsmen. Jackson will have many days when he does not bowl half as well, but will take a swag of wickets. Today, was just one of those days. In any case, Jackson's 8 overs went for only 16 runs, and he had dragged the Scotchies back into the game.
The game evenly poised entering the final ten overs. Old Geelong required better than a run a ball and the Scotchies required 6 wickets. Despite taking two wickets late, it mattered little as Old Geelong blasted boundaries almost at will, and the Scotchies usually reliable ground fielding became a little frayed. Old Geelong won with 10 balls to spare to record an emphatic victory, and the Scotchies were left to lick their wounds and contemplate what might have been.
In the wash up, it was apparent that not a lot had gone right on the day, yet, overall, the team had not been disgraced and on another day could have won easily. The reality though, is this loss now puts the "A Team" back in the middle pack and the boys will want to make every post a winner post Christmas.
Both teams return to action in mid January, the A Team looking to get their season back on track, and the Celebrities looking to keep the carnival going. In the mean time, the Committee, Captains and playing group wish to wish all our supporters a Merry Christmas and a Happy and safe New Year.
In the new year, come along and...