After such a lengthy period of success, there always comes a time when perhaps you take it for granted, and ease off thinking it will always just happen. To an extent that happened today for the Albion Park Under 11 Gold team, who through the heat of the morning and the dropping of their high standards of recent weeks found that cricket cannot be won just by turning up and expecting the opposition to roll over for you.
The opposition, the Kookas Maroon team, won the toss and elected to field, and the eagles took to the batting creases this week with just the six players. And apart from a couple of moments, the kids batted well and pushed hard. The calling and running between the wickets was excellent, with several singles turned into twos this week by better running. Success was found by those that didn’t try to hit the cover off the ball, instead using the pacey leg side of the ground by timing the ball along the ground.
Charlotte Rodda hit some excellent strokes again today, but the all went straight to the fielders which stifled her run scoring. She is improving every week, and also called well today. Kane Rex played perhaps his best innings of the season today n the opening partnership, striking two perfect pull shots along the ground for boundaries in his innings of 14, his highest score this season. His hard work in working on his batting is paying off. Well done Kane. Blake Ison once again make a statement with the bat, stroking four boundaries in his score of 21 with the emphasis again of the ball along the ground. Bodhie Rodda also made his highest score today, including a lovely pull for four that brought cheers from the crowd. His 7 was another excellent innings and he called and ran well again. Great improvement from Bodhie.
Josh Peters played perhaps his three worst deliveries of the season to start his innings, which included being bowled off stump trying to whip to leg with his head in the air. It would have been a sad effort for him, but the opportunity to stay at the crease with the current rules allowed him to redeem himself, finishing with 25 runs including four boundaries. Lucas Brown concluded the innings with a fine display of sensible shots and good running which left him unbeaten on 9 runs, though he still has this inclination to try and work a ball a foot outside his off stump into the leg side.
At the conclusion of their 20 overs, Albion Park had lost two wickets and scored 121 runs, which included 76 off the bat, comparable to last week’s effort.
Despite the coach asking his team to ignore the heat and stay up and bright in the field, it didn’t really go to plan. The heat caused a few tempers to fray and a few heads to forget what they should have been doing, and the batsmen from the Kookas team played well and made it difficult for the Eagles kids to go well. After seven overs the Kookas were 1/43 and flying, and it appeared that the Eagles bubble was finally going to burst. The only wicket to fall had been from a great piece of fielding from Lucas once again, who threw to Kane at the bowlers end who found the batsman short of his ground. Just before drinks though the balance was restored. Lucas had bowled too much down leg side, but a straight ball found a top edge which he caught off his own bowling. Then with Charlotte bowling, the batsmen dared to take a single when the ball fell to point, where Lucas swooped in, took aim, and threw down the stumps at the bowlers end with a direct hit. Brilliant fielding from Lucas who does this every week. Two balls later, Charlotte sent down a rocket to bowl the facing batsman, and despite some lacklustre bowling and fielding the Eagles were back in the match.
The scoring stalled in the second half of the innings, while Blake was rewarded with a caught and bowled of his own after some close calls with his bowling, and Lucas picked up his second wicket with the perfect fast full yorker that cartwheeled middle stump. The last two Kookas batsmen batted well and were looking to attack, so I will make mention of the final over of the match, which Josh bowled. He was unfortunate not to pick up three wickets in the over, two that bounced half an inch over middle stump and had a catch dropped at mid off. Against two good batsmen on the rampage, Lucas and Josh bowled terrific final overs.
At the end of their innings, the Kookas had lost 6 wickets for 93 runs, with 51 coming off the bat.
The bowling and fielding overall today was a drop down on recent weeks. The heat had something to do with it, but it did appear that the team felt they just had to turn up to win, which certainly was not the case. Given their high standards of recent weeks they can be forgiven for this. Charlotte, Kane and Blake have been great, but today reverted to a lot of no balls and wide deliveries down leg. Charlotte for the sixth game in a row took a wicket again, finishing with 1/16. Kane took 0/20 while Blake finished with 1/9. Bodhie did well again but was unfortunate to go for a couple of boundaries in his second over which blew his figures out to 0/20. He bowled better than that suggests. Josh, after a slow start, finished with 0/10 from four overs and also bowled far better than those figures suggest. Lucas bowled like a demon at training on Wednesday, but didn’t quite get it together today. He was still the best performer today with 2/5 from four good overs, but it could have been so much better!
After wicket penalties were added, the Albion Park Golds ran out winners by 145 to 102.
With three weeks remaining, the Golds play Gerringong Green (2nd), Albion Park Green (3rd) and Oak Flats Blue (1st) in our last three games of the season. The kids are focused on putting their best cricket on the park in those three matches, to push those teams as hard as possible to finish off the season. Win or lose, they want to be able to show how much they have improved this season and that they can compete with any team on their day.