Saturday, January 27, 2018

APCC Under 11 Golds: Round 12 vs Shellharbour Blue

Cricket is a wonderful game when you can work on something specifically at training, and then see that hard work translated into perfect harmony on the cricket field that weekend. This is what happened for the Albion Park Gold Under 11 Team this week, when their intense fielding drills became the winning formula for them in their match against Shellharbour Blue at Dawes Park this morning.

With their opponents winning the toss and inserting the Eagles team, it was important to keep wickets intact and keep the scoreboard ticking over. It wasn’t easy against a team that fielded well, had good arms in the field and bowled straight and full. Still, the Eagles first three batters all kept their wickets intact, until in all three cases they were bowled off their seventeenth and final deliveries. Charlotte Rodda was again solid in defence and played a couple of nice shots that went straight to fielders. Once she starts to find the gaps her scoring will improve. Bodhie Rodda again showed great improvement in his stroke play, and though he only managed three runs he was again impressive in the opening position. Kane Rex played well against the better bowlers of the Shellharbour team, and was only undone by a fast full toss from his final delivery. He too managed three runs to his total.

Blake Ison was good again, playing some lovely shots along the ground including three boundaries, but still needs to try and keep his head and not try and hit the ball too hard and he will improve his output. His 18 runs was well made. Max Scibberas also had to face the better half of the bowling attack and also did well to keep them out when they were bowling fast and straight. He was bowled once in his innings of one run, but he can be pleased with his application today. Lucas Brown also found the going tough, also being bowled on one occasion, but a couple of nice strokes in his nine runs, including a last ball boundary, should have him in better form next week. Josh Peters again suffered from the slogging bug, head to the clouds and through the shot too early. He was fortunate not enough balls were fired at his stumps. His two best shots of the day were when he played real cricket shots, something he will no doubt hear about all week from his coach. He finished on 19, and was dropped once in his innings.

After 20 overs the Eagles had made 82 runs for the loss of five wickets, with 53 of those runs coming off the bat.

To win the match, the Eagles had to bowl and field spectacularly, and it would not be unfair to suggest that they did this amazingly well. The fielding was superb. They fielders were in to the ball quickly cutting off runs and causing the batters confusion, they backed up and threw wonderfully, and they supported each other magnificently in voice. They did everything that could have been asked of them, and it was terrific to see how well they took into the game what they had practiced on Wednesday. After the first ten overs they had Shellharbour at 5/31. Josh bowled the first batter with his fourth delivery, another wonderful piece of deception. Charlotte carried on from where she left off last weekend, with another fast straight ball knocking over the middle stump. Then came some wonderful fielding from Josh at mid wicket in consecutive deliveries from Lucas. He ran in and threw both balls accurately to Lucas who had returned over the stumps, where he calmly took the bails off, with the result being two run outs in two deliveries. It was great stuff and warmly appreciated by the excellent Eagles fan base who had gathered at the ground. Then in his second over Josh enticed a drive from the batter who hit it straight to Lucas at cover who took a good catch. It was just wonderful cricket from a young team who is taking all before them.

The great work continued in the second half of the innings. Charlotte picked up her second wicket exactly the same as her first. Lucas showed the persistence of straight bowling by picking up two wickets in his third over, one caught and bowled and one clean bowled. Blake followed this up next over by bowling a wicket of his own, and there were great cheers as Max fought through a tough couple of overs to pick up a great wicket with his final delivery, bowled middle stump. Ten wickets was exactly what the team needed to do to put themselves in with a chance of winning, and they had done so magnificently. Despite this, all looked lost as the final batsman took it upon himself to win the game, scoring 20 runs off the final seven deliveries of the match, and it was a tense time waiting for the scorebooks to be added up.

Of their twenty overs, Shellharbour had scored 91 runs for ten wickets, with 58 having come off the bat (yes, with 23 of those off the last two overs).

Both Bodhie and Max were a bit off with the ball today, Bodhie finishing with 0/17 and Max with 1/15. Both are still getting the hang of this bowling game and will continue to improve with more practice. Charlotte was again fantastic, finishing with 2/14 from three overs. Kane was economic but a bit too much down leg side to threaten the wickets column, with 0/3 off his two overs. Josh was still unplayable, putting a tizz through the batting line up and fully deserved his figures of 2/9 from three overs and two run out assists. Both Blake and Lucas were good today without being at the top of their game, and both suffered in their last over. Lucas finished with 2/12 from four overs, along with two catches and two run out assists, pretty fair day. Blake bowled four good overs for 1/16.

After wicket penalties had been added, the Eagles had run out winners by 122 runs to 111, to complete their sixth win in succession, this one against the team who had been running third in the competition. The kids fully deserved this win after the hard work they have put in, and you can see how much they are enjoying it. They had fantastic support today from the biggest supporter turn up of the season, and it sounded as though they enjoyed the performance as well. It was also great to see that the Albion Park Green team knocked off second place Oak Flats Blue today as well, a fantastic result for the Eagles. The kids in both teams are making great strides forward, and it is a boon for the Albion Park Cricket Club. Let’s hope there is even more success to come as we head into February.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

APCC Under 11 Golds: Round 11 vs The Rail Red

After the holiday break, and the regrading of the Under 11 competition, the Albion Park Under 11 Golds have found themselves in the A competition after their four straight victories, and now set to face much stronger and sterner competition for the rest of the season. And it began with today’s local derby match against The Rail Red at Albion Oval South.

The Eagles were a player short today, meaning they had more to do with the bat but also had more area to cover in the field. Skipper Josh Peters tossed the coin and The Rail called correctly and inserted the home team in steamy and sweltering conditions. Bodhie and Charlotte Rodda opened for the Eagles, and put together a very handy partnership, holding their wickets intact throughout. While Charlotte again played a determined and solid innings, brother Bodhie showed his attacking intent again, and cracked his first ever boundary with a lovely pull shot to the square leg boundary. Charlotte finished 0 not out and Bodhie 5 not out.

Max Sciberras and Kane Rex both played some solid and excellent shots, especially off drives which is pleasing to see. Most of these unfortunately for the pair tended to go straight to the fieldsmen which hindered their scoring ability. Eventually Max decided to take on the field, calling yes immediately that he hit the ball, and was only undone by a fabulous pick up and direct hit from mid off. The Rail ground fielding was terrific and kept the run rate under control. Both Max and Kane finished with 1 when their innings concluded, but with some practice in hitting the gaps their run output will improve.

Blake Ison and Josh Peters both collected several boundaries in their innings, but left quite a few runs out on the field from trying to slog and taking their eye off the ball. No doubt a post-Xmas hangover from taking on younger siblings in the backyard. When they hit the ball with concentration they both looked good. Josh in fact hit the first six by an Albion Park Gold player, though it was to a noticeably shorter boundary than usual. Blake’s only blemish was doing exactly what Max did, by hitting straight to mid off and calling for a run, but again being undone by a direct hit at the bowlers end. Apart from this, both batted well, Blake finishing with 22 and Josh with 25.

From their 20 overs Albion Park Gold finished with 2 wickets for 92 runs, with 54 of those off the bat.

From the outset two things were noticeable – that some kids had been working hard since the last game, and that The Rail were confident of chasing down their target. Max’s first over was a gem, conceding only one no ball, and none that bounced twice. A terrific start. Then Charlotte Rodda arrived, and not only off the long run having spent all season off just two steps, but straight and full! An amazing improvement in just four weeks, and with no help at all from the so-called coach of the team. It was obvious that father Will for Charlotte, and parents Simon and Karen for Max have been keeping their hands in, and for me it was the best part of the day, a real pleasure to watch them bowl with such accomplishment and style. But The Rail batters were looking to force their hand, and they took advantage of any loose ball and hit it to the boundary. They looked the team to beat when they had reached 50 runs in the tenth over, but Charlotte got a just reward just before drinks, bowling a wonderful off cutter that took middle stump and sent the bails flying. Fantastic, wonderful stuff, and the smile on her face told the story. With ten overs to go the score stood at 1/50. Charlotte took her leave of the bowling crease to take over the keeping duties from Bodhie with a wonderful spell of 1/16 from three overs, and she probably deserved better.

For the Eagles to win they had to take wickets, but after 13 overs had the score at 1/63, things looked grim. However, three wickets in three overs turned the game on its head. Kane bowled a little short today and found himself pulled to the legside a bit, but he redeemed himself with an excellent caught and bowled in his third over which brought the Eagles back into the game. Blake was also a fan of the licorice allsorts today without conceding too many runs, but a good straight full ball was hit in the air straight to Kane at mid-wicket, who took a terrific catch to give Blake a deserved wicket. And, from the coach’s perspective, it was nice to finally see an outfield catch held. In the next over Josh, who was spinning the ball about three feet and confusing every batter, decided to throw in his variation, the faster ball out of the front of the hand. It may not have been a flipper but it was as close as a ten year old is going to get, and it hit the stumps before the batsman had even begun his downstroke. That earned him an excited high-five from his coach, which may have been inappropriate from an unbiased umpire but the coach was unable to contain himself after witnessing such a brilliant dismissal. This was followed three overs later when Kane “The Destroyer” bowled the perfect away swinger that pitched on leg stump and took middle stump to produce the fifth wicket for the innings.

It all came down to the last over when The Rail needed a thunder of runs to win, but Josh bowled the perfect over again – having brought in a first slip the coach was tempted and conceded to bring in two – which left The Rail’s total at five wickets lost for 97 runs, with 51 runs off the bat.

For the first time this season, the effort in taking more wickets than the opposition proved to be the turning point, for although The Rail scored 5 runs more after the 20 overs, after the wickets penalties were added, the Eagles Gold team had proven victorious by 112 runs to 105.

Charlotte’s figures of 1/16 was the star of the show today, she can be very proud of her efforts. Max also bowled probably his best spell of the season, and his figures of 0/18 off four overs don’t reflect his efforts. Kane added another two scalps to his season tally, finishing with 2/18 off four overs. Blake was miserly again with 1/8 from three overs. Once he gets his mojo back he will be taking bags of wickets in the weeks to come. Bodhie only had the two overs, but he too showed improvement in his bowling with several dot balls. He finished with 0/12 from his two overs.

It is impossible to convey how well Josh bowled today without being there to see it. He bowled 24 deliveries, two of which pitched on off stump and I had to call wides because they spun so much. He had two catches dropped off his bowling, the batsmen hit two others for a single and a two, and the other 18 deliveries they couldn’t get bat on. His four overs cost him 1/5. I know I am biased and I try not to be. This was the spell of the season so far bar none. If he was bowling at 14 year olds he’d have taken a bagful.

That’s five victories in a row for this Albion Park Gold Under 11 team. None of us thought we’d be in this position, and the good news is that there is still so much improvement in these players to occur. The bubble will no doubt burst once we take on the teams at the top of the ladder, but this team is ready to compete with them all, and maybe… just maybe… there are a few surprises yet to come…