SEASON 2021-22 SEMI_FINALS
MARCH 6, 2022
OLD SCOTCH CC 105 (32.5)
def. MCC 64 (36.2)
M Sparks 27, N Sparks 4/11
Despite the inclement weather around for much of last week and over the weekend, the Main Oval was presented in great condition for the First XIs semi-final clash with a surging Melbourne Cricket Club side. Credit and thanks to groundsman Mick Smith and his team for getting the ground up and for another amazing season of OSCC cricket at Scotch.
After an undefeated home and away season, the OSCC side was primed and confident leading into the semi-final and keen to make a seventh Grand Final in a row. MCC were not to be underestimated, however, playing some great cricket and having lost only one game since Christmas and making the four from near the bottom of the table at the turn.
With the covers on for a number of days before the game it was always likely to be a bowl first wicket and the coin landed the way of MCC, with their captain having no hesitation in asking Scotch to bat first. Despite the bowler friendly conditions, Nick Sparks and Matt Mitchell made a great start and quickly moved the score to 30, with the assistance of some loose bowling. N Sparks then departed and was quickly followed by Sam Shearer, filling MCC with confidence and belief. Mitchell and Mike Sparks went about a rebuild with good discipline and application, moving the score forward to 2-50 and probably having OSCC back on top. From there, though, there was a flurry of wickets and the home side were quickly reeling not long after drinks. M Sparks fought hard for his 27 and Nick Shearer made a hard-working 15 not out, with no other member of the side managing to score more than 1 and MCC eventually wrapping up the innings with the score on 105. It was a very disappointing effort with the bat, but the conditions were extremely favourable to bowling. It is certainly also worth mentioning the quality of MCC’s bowling, with all bowlers showing discipline and skill and never releasing any of the pressure continually building throughout the innings.
Clearly there was some disappointment after the first half of the game, but the message was clear at the break - there’s only one way to respond…
In conditions that were always likely to suit OSCC’s deep seam bowling attack, openers Will Hays and Will Clark made a superb start with the new ball and placed the MCC players immediately under the microscope. Clark removed the dangerous Henry Brown, with Hays almost immediately following with the dismissal of the other opener. Despite a frustrating partnership for the third wicket, and some fortune favouring the MCC side, the Scotch attack was unrelenting and backed up in the field, with some great catches taken and high standards maintained throughout. Harrison Goad, S Shearer and N Sparks all carried on where the openers started and sucked all life out of the MCC chase. N Sparks was undoubtedly the star of the show, bowling with skill and a cutting edge to return 4/11 off his 8 overs in what was a special spell of finals bowling.
In the end, MCC fell 41 runs short of chasing down OSCC’s total of 105 - a fairly amazing performance from the bowling unit and team as a whole. Of the five bowlers used, no bowler went for more than 16 runs from their 8 overs. It was a special win, but also one that very easily could have gone the other way - certainly so many areas to improve on this week.
As Captain/Coach of this club, I couldn’t be prouder to be leading the club into yet another Grand Final this week. While it’s the First XI who will be out there on Sunday, I firmly believe this period of strength says far more about the quality of the club as a whole and the efforts of everyone involved. Congratulations to our Second XI on a hugely successful season and also to our newly formed Third XI - we can’t wait to have you all playing a big role this week and on Sunday.
It would be great to see as many familiar faces down at the Main on Sunday and we’ll certainly be giving it our all. Old Melburnians are a quality cricket side and it will be no easy task, but it promises to be a fantastic game of high-quality cricket and we’ll be leaving it all out there. Hope to see you there!
OLD SCOTCH CC 9/128 (40)
def. by OLD WESLEY 4/132 (38)
Sennitt 44, N Bennett 1/8
The Second XI played off in their 4th consecutive semi-final on the weekend at home against Old Wesley. Winning the toss, the boys had no hesitation in batting, knowing that runs on the board in a final is a strong commodity.
Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan, with 2 wickets in the opening over of the game leaving the boys reeling at 2/1. Things only proceeded to get worse as the score fell to 3/2 in the 4th over. Despite the early collapse, Mitch Sennitt (44 off 92) guided the boys through a really tough period with the bat. While the boys dug in, they were unable to get the scoreboard ticking over, and at drinks, with the score at 4/20, things were looking extremely grim.
The second half of the innings saw a massive fightback from the middle to lower order, with contributions from Oliver McLeish (25 off 27), James Halse (21* off 21) and John Stavris (12* off 10) saw the score tick over at 5.5 runs per over. At the conclusion of the innings, we had wrestled back to 9/128, a competitive score in the circumstances.
It was clear that a mammoth effort was required with the ball in order to secure a Grand FInal appearance, and Will Meggitt (0/7 off 8) once again came to play. Cricket can be a cruel game, and on any other day, the way in which Meggsy bowled, would have have seen him take away a bundle of wickets. Old Wesley batted perfectly early, not offering up a single chance in the field until the 14th over, when Nic Bennett (1/8 off 3) claimed the opening batsman. The game proceeded to seesaw with Old Scotch bowling incredibly tightly, to keep themselves in with a chance. With 5 overs to go, Wesley required over 6 an over to secure victory. Unfortunately, with the luxury of 6 wickets in the shed, Wesley were able swing from the hip and chase down the total with 2 overs remaining.
While we are never pleased with an early finals exit, I, as Captain of this team cannot commend the boys more highly for the performance on the weekend. It is a continued effort to consistently be one of the best teams in the competition and I have no doubt that eventually, in the near future, we will be lifting the premiership cup. Despite the disappointment of the result, we will be out in force to celebrate and cheer on the 1s as they push towards another flag.