Old Scotch First XI completed a pulsating three wicket win against Melbourne High Old Boys at Melbourne High to maintain their perfect start to the 2018/19 summer. Over at Trinity Playing Fields, the Celebrities stumbled to lose narrowly by three wickets after poor afternoon with the bat left them a small total to defend.
At Melbourne High, the MHOBsters won the toss and elected to bat, and the A-Team bowling attack spearheaded by Old Man River Gary Bennett reduced the Melbourne High boys to 5 for 55 and then 6 for 63. This was remarkable stuff. But, as good teams tend to do, the Melbourne High Old Boys rallied and managed to post a very respectable 9 for 144 at the compulsory close of the innings after the allotted 40 overs. On a low. slow deck and slowish outfield, chasing 145 to win was going to be no easy task, and the Old Scotch boys were disappointed with themselves to be in this position. The miserly Gary Bennett (2/8) Sam Shearer (2/16) and the impressive young tyro Nick Shearer (2/23) shared the wickets around.
So the run chase began, and star batsman Matt Mitchell departed for 14 after looking set, added to a further blow to the Scotchies chances when inspirational skipper Sam Shearer was also dismissed when he top edged a pull shot that was not quite there and was caught and bowled for 10. The Scotchies on the sidelines shifted uneasily in their seats. Soon after, the stylish Seb Armstriong also departed the scene for a well made 23 and the score 3 for 63, and things were starting to get really interesting. An out of touch Sam Murray hung around as long as he could to support the confident Tim "Faf" Hosking who was batting well, and things looked up again. But, Murray fell and English gappy St Quinton soon after was run out to leave Old Scotch 5 for 90, still 55 short of victory.
Hosking, who was looking solid and batting well fell for 26 fell, as did English gappy #2 Jon Stone. Twenty nine still required, and only three wickets in the shed. It wasn't looking good. Having said that, young tyros Nick Shearer and Will "Audi" Clark are quite capable with the willow in their hands - even if Will Clark was on the verge of achieving the not so coveted Olympic Rings, after his previous four innings in Division 1 produced 0, 0, 0 and 0 (hence the Audi reference). So not everyone was completely convinced that victory was a formality. The Old Scotch faithful need not have worried though. Will Clark got of the mark with a stylish flick off his hips and Nick Shearer displaying an inner self belief that all Shearer's posses guided the Scotchies home without further loss. Man of the Match Nick Shearer finished off proceedings by dispatching the ball to the boundary to the raucous cheers of his teammates to finish 28 not out. A marvellous backs to the wall run chase that keeps the season rolling on.
Over at Trinity Playing Fields, The Celebrities Talismanic skipper John Stavris lost the toss and the Scotchies were inserted. Inexplicably, the talented batting line up on offer folded for an unremarkable 94 with only Ollie "Dux" McLiesh, Santhush "Calypso" Gunawardene and Jasper Mylius "Cyrus" getting to double figures. All looked lost with such a low score to defend, but the Celebrities lifted themselves to another level of intensity and very nearly pulled off an upset victory, only going down by three wickets. Will "Shotgun" Meggitt bowled like a man possessed, producing the finest spell by a Celebrity since Cam McFarlane's herculean performance against Old Brighton in the 2014 Semi Final. Shotgun Meggitt captured 4 for 14 in a hostile spell of high class fast bowling, while the heroic John Stavris was tighter than his VCE blazer with 1/14 off 6 suffocating, though ultimately luckless overs.
In the end, a miracle wasn't to be, but the lads fought it out to the end. It augers well for the coming season, as the high class batting line up will surely fire more often than not incoming games.
The Spring Racing Carnival break gives both teams a chance to regroup for their respective Armistice Day clashes. The A-Team take on Old Caulfield at home, while the Celebrities head on over to Melbourne High. Get on down and support the boys, as the changing of the guard with the injection of exciting youth takes the club forward into an exciting future.
In the meantime...