The A Team suffered a reality check, going down by 7 wickets to a pumped up Old Xavier on the Meares, whilst the Celebrities fought hard all day, but still went down by 3 wickets to Old Haileybury on the Melville Oval, in what was a rare flat day for the club.
The A Team won the toss and batted first on a wonderful sunny afternoon against arch rivals Old Xavier. The day however got off to a disastrous start when Tim Hosking was dismissed off the very first ball of the day. Shearer and Melville steadied the ship, but Melville departed for 14, and the score on 2/42.
Top gun Matty Mitchell joined Shearer, and in the absence of the prodigiously talented Murray brothers, were expected to carry the load for the bulk of the scoring. For a while, it all looked great with Shearer looking in brilliant form and Mitchell hitting boundaries at will. Sadly, it was not to last as Mitchell was dismissed for 18 and the score now 3 for 78. Seb "Stretch" Armstrong soon followed, being dismissed for 6 and the score was now a precarious 4 for 92.
Returning club legend Pat Butler joined Shearer and saw the innings through to drinks. Shearer reached a wonderful half century, but the wheels started falling off as first Butler departed for 5, then Will Hays for 3. At 6 for 139, the innings was well and truly teetering, and then when Sam Shearer departed for a fine 74 and the score on 7/140, the game looked shot beyond all hope.
Young tyro James Halse displayed some game intelligence, and compiled a handy 16, as partners Harrison Goad who made 13 and skipper Matthew Grose who contributed 16, attempted to smack boundaries. The score finished on a underwhelming 9/185. At least 70 runs short of what it should have been on a benign wicket on a sunny day.
Bouyed by their efforts in knocking over the Scotchies for a sub par total, the Old Xavierians galloped to victory in style as they reached the target for the loss of only 3 wickets in 32.3 overs. With the exception of rookie James Halse who captured 2/22, the rest of the Old Scotch bowling was strangely subdued. It wasn't that as a unit that they bowled badly, but nor did they look threatening.
Meanwhile, the Celebrities had their own battle on their hands over on the Melville. Winning the toss and electing to bat, the Celebrities got off to a shocking start for the third game running when first Griffiths was caught behind and then Nicholas was LBW in quick succession, leaving the Celebrities innings on the precipice. New boy Mitch "The Senator" Sennitt and Riley Tilbrook set about rebuilding the innings with some hard graft against some good bowling. From 2 for 1, Sennitt and Tilbrook advanced the score to 47, when Sennitt was dismissed for a classy 33. Soon after, Riley Tilbrook was dismissed for a hard grafted 12 and the score was a precarious 4 for 53.
Hayden Tilbrook has always looked like a class batsman, but somehow always has managed to conspire to get himself out with a loose shot when looking comfortable. Today was a different story, as Haydos set about silencing the hecklers who labelled him the "Lesser Tilbrook" after his brother's heroics last week. Haydos played a series of copybook drives to the boundary and batting with the remaining batsman, compiled a fantastic 50, only losing his wicket when attempting to raise the run rate late in the innings.
The Celebrities were dismissed in the 38th over for 137. A sub par score on a ground where 190-200 on a sunny day are what is needed. But, it was infinitely better than what could have been hoped for after being 2 for 1. It was at the very least a potentially defendable total.
And so it seemed, when Dave Armstrong ripped the heart out of the Old Hailebury middle order, to leave the Haileburians reeling at 6 for 59. Suddenly, the Celebrities looked in a strong position to close out the contest, and record a great backs to the wall victory. As so often happens, the Old Hailebury lower order dug in and batted around their opening batsman. The next wicket fell at 7/92. 46 runs needed, and the Celebrities only 3 wickets to claim a win.
It wasn't to be, as Old Hailebury's number 9 Varghese threw the bat and managed to pierce the field to score a fast 27 not out in support of their opener who finished on 62no to register a 3 wicket victory. A disappointing end to a match that was running the Celebrities way for most of the later part of the afternoon. In the end, the Celebrities were 50 runs short as per the par score expectations.
Onward and upward we go! The A Team take on Old Trinity away this Saturday at Trinity Playing Fields, while the Celebrities host Old Wesley on the Melville at Scotch College this Sunday. Come on down and lend the boys your support, as it is always appreciated.
In the mean time...