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Mike provides the Sparks

SEASON 2022-23 ROUND 10

JANUARY 22, 2023


OLD SCOTCH CC 9/234 (40)

def. MELBOURNE HIGH 1 114 (35.2)

M Sparks 71 & 6/14, J Bennett 2/20

After resuming the season post-Xmas break with a solid outing the previous weekend, the 1st XI faced the tough task of a top of the table clash away to second placed Melbourne High on Sunday. The pitch looked to be true to form and a fairly lifeless surface, with returning captain Sam Shearer having no hesitation in winning the toss and electing to bat first.

Openers Nick Sparks and Hamish Francis started the innings in typically positive fashion, rattling the scoring along at 8 an over for the first 5 and beginning the game in the style the team is looking for. Both players looked set for big days, but fell in quick succession, before Shearer and Mike Sparks began a mini-rebuild. After the loss of Shearer, M Sparks began to dictate proceedings and, with able support from Sam Dawborn, Will Clark and Charlie Cormack, was able to see the boys to a very competitive total of 234 off the allotted 40 overs. Mike finished on a typically busy 71, frustrating the High bowlers with the areas of the ground he’s able to access and appetite for runs.

MHS started their batting innings with some real intent, with some streaky boundaries seeing the score move fairly quickly to 25. Young talent Joel Bennett, aided by some sharp catches, was able to shake off some early pressure and claim two big wickets with the new ball, to really place the good guys in control after the powerplay. M Sparks was introduced into the attack just before drinks, with High slipping out of the contest, and what transpired probably needed to be seen to be believed! Mike darted them down (plus one truly extraordinary wicket-taking moonball) for 7.2 remarkable overs, peppering boundary catchers and pads everywhere and taking the staggering figures of 6-14 in the process. This haul included the invaluable 10th for the side, with Melbourne High still 2 runs short of the bonus point total.

Despite some fairly comical moments during the spell, it was an incredible individual performance from Mike and another indication of the dominant player he can be in the competition. Not a bad spot to be in, adding him to the mix post-Christmas!

The lads now enjoy a week off, before tackling a very challenging month of fixtures in the lead up to finals.

Sam Shearer (1XI Captain)


OLD SCOTCH CC 7/162 (40)

def. MELBOURNE UNI 9/157 (40)

J Halse 38, N Bennett 2/19

The boys headed out to Princess Park for a very important must win clash against an always competitive Melbourne Uni. Batting first, Charlie Schilling (29) and Charlie Hocking (23) got us off to a positive start and while both got starts, unfortunately could not go on with it. This began to be the theme of the day and as the runs dried up on a slow outfield, we limped to 4/93 after 29 overs. We needed a spark and that is exactly what we received from the returning James Halse, who’s quick fire 38 in partnership with Oliver McLeish (12) pushed the eventual score up past 7/162 at the end of the 40. In the circumstances, this was very competitive.

In the field, the boys were tight with the ball and if not for some tough chances going down, may have had 2 or 3 early breakthroughs. Despite this, Melb Uni were not able to get any easy runs away and the pressure finally broke through. Nic Bennett (2/19 off 5) was outstanding in his opening spell, taking the early wickets we required to have the score on 2/43 after 16 overs - it was clear the game was going down to the wire. The runs started to come a little easier to Melbourne Uni, however wickets were consistently falling. Charlie Hocking (2/40 off 7) did as he always does and made inroads against strong opposition. In the 32nd over the score was 4/114 and Melbourne Uni (with a set partnership) required a run a ball to win the game. A contentious non-run out call appeared to swing momentum back into Melbourne Uni’s favour. Will Easton (2/22 off 8, 2 maidens) came back into the attack and immediately got the breakthrough of not only 1 set batsman, but both (helped by a full stretch diving catch from John Stavris). Some big hitters came to the crease and looked to go quickly, however some strong bowling from Nick Buckley (1/19 off 6) ensured that the task would not be easy. With one final Gary Bennett (0/30 off 8) over Melb Uni required 13 runs to win. Some excellent fielding from the lads, including 2 run outs in the dying overs ensured that we snuck home by 5 runs. An absolute epic performance from so many.

— John Stavris (2XI Captain)


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