Another humid and sweltering February morning greeted the Albion Park Under 11 Gold team at the beautiful surrounds of Albion Oval South, where they took on the visiting Gerringong Gold team in this week’s round of park cricket, and the opportunity to show off their improving skills once again to their families.
Skipper Charlotte Rodda won the toss and elected to bat, a move straight out of the Richie Benaud playbook. The Gerringong bowling and fielding was excellent. They were quick in the field and good with their throws, and importantly bowled straight, conceding only 20 no balls which meant the batsmen had to keep their eye on every delivery.
Kane Rex and Blake Ison opened the batting and made a good start. Kane’s calling was excellent, and he played one terrific stroke over mid on that flew away for four runs. He finished unbeaten on 7 runs, a good innings from him. Blake likes to go deep in his crease to pull the ball to the boundary, and often goes scarily close to his own stumps. Today his luck ran out when on one of these shots he did indeed hit his own stumps to be out hit wicket. His innings included three good boundaries, and he looked to find the gaps as well. Despite getting out once, his 15 was another good innings from him.
Charlotte Rodda played her best innings of the season. She called well, and she found a way to start hitting the ball into the gaps. She is improving every week which is wonderful to see. Her 3 runs was a good reward for hard work. Brother Bodhie Rodda was a bit unfortunate today, with the ball twice bouncing over his bat to find the stumps, for which there was not much he could do. He wasn’t able to produce his free flowing hitting today, but we look forward to seeing it next week. Max Sciberras was undefeated again, and received the best of the Gerringong bowling. His defensive technique today was excellent, and once he gets his drives going again he will get the scoreboard ticking over as well. Lucas Brown hit one very nice boundary today and ran hard and called well looking for runs for his partners. He finished unbeaten on 8 runs, and just needs to adjust his bottom hand to get better value for his shots. Josh Peters finally fell foul to pulling off his stumps, being bowled middle stump while looking at the sky in the third ball of the final over. The in-your-face celebrations that followed his dismissal weren’t endearing to him, and so he took the final three deliveries for a pulled four, a huge pull for six and a punched single to mid-wicket as a silent but effective response. He finished on 23 runs.
After their 20 overs, Albion Park had scored 82 runs for four wickets lost, with 56 of those runs coming off the bat.
The Eagles had to field and bowl at least as well as their opponents if they were to stay in the game, and to their credit they took their training efforts into the game. The skipper Charlotte opened the bowling and got a wicket with her fifth ball, a good catch by the keeper Josh from a top edged pull by the batsman. Max went one better, bowling the batsman with his first ball of the day, much to his delight and that of the crowd watching. Lucas then joined the party with good straight bowling and picked up his own pole with a fast full delivery. Then Max came to the party again, picking up another bowled in his second over which was a great reward for an excellent bowling effort. In the final over before drinks, Kane Rex then continued his great form when bowling straight and full by getting another batsman bowled. It was great to watch.
Four further wickets fell in the second half of the innings. Blake Ison deservedly picked up a wicket when he bowled the facing batsman in what was a great spell of bowling. Josh came out from behind the stumps, and picked up two wickets of his own, one bowled through the batsman’s legs and another a great diving caught and bowled, while Josh also fielded and threw the ball to Kane at the bowlers end to effect an excellent run out.
The bowling effort today was excellent, though again there were 33 no balls which the team is still having trouble eradicating. Bodhie bowled three overs today and is getting the ball on a good length now, he just has to get the ball straight and he will be right in business. Charlotte was solid today, and perhaps got a little too excited with the early wicket and tried too hard. Her three overs brought her figures of 1/12. Both Kane and Max showed when they bowl straight they can get wickets, they just need a bit more consistency. Kane’s three overs finished with 1/10, while Max was excellent with 2/13. Lucas only got two overs today due to the coach’s stuff up, but was again constantly dangerous, finishing with 1/3, while Josh again was terrific with 2/3 from three overs. The star today was Blake Ison, whose rhythm and action was spot on, and he bowled brilliantly as a result. He stood tall, bowled straight and full and if not for the excessive bounce of the astro could have finished with anything. His three overs for 1/2 was his finest of the season. Well bowled Blake!
The fielding was outstanding today, apart from a couple of over-excited throws. Everyone moved in with the bowler, they got to the ball quickly, they returned to the keeper or bowler, and they did their best to get to balls in the air. Both dropped catches were difficult ones that would have been brilliant if they were taken. The encouragement was great, and it was especially pleasing to hear Charlotte as captain every ball of the day. The kids are learning that fielding can be fun if you are good at it and work hard at it. This is what again set their game up today.
After their 20 overs Gerringong finished with 9 wickets for 68 runs, 32 of those off the bat.
With the wicket penalties taken in, Albion Park Gold ran out winners by 118 to 84, a well deserved win in a match that was played in good spirit and fun by both teams.
This team lost their first three games of the season. Since October 28, they have not been beaten, having won seven games, had three wash outs and a bye. It has been a terrific effort from all seven of these kids, and the efforts of their parents who have not only been there to support them on weekends but having been putting in the time with their kids to get them to improve. It has been a wonderful effort from everyone involved. The support on the sidelines is invaluable.
With some tough matches to come against the highest ranked teams, the opportunity for these kids to test themselves further is what they are setting up for in the coming weeks. No matter what the results may be, the APCC can be very proud of these kids in their Under 11’s teams.