ROUND 17. Vs. Gerringong Green at Boxsell Reserve. March 3, 2018.
OK. Well, it is fair to say that the Albion Park Gold Under 11A team discovered the gap between the excellent work they have put in during this season, and what they must do if they want to be one of the teams at the top of the tree. And though they may have gone down in their match today against Gerringong Green, they certainly didn’t lower their heads. In fact, parts of today’s cricket were the very best this team has achieved all season, and that is saying something.
Skipper Max Sciberras won the toss and elected to bowl, and the Eagles kids were absolutely superb, something which was remarked upon by many from the opposing team. Their fielding topped everything they have done this season, although they were helped by the slow and spongey outfield which kept the ball within reach at all times. Unlike the sleepyheads of last week, this week the whole team was on their toes and superb in the field. There were again two direct hit run outs, one from Blake from mid-wicket and one from Lucas from deep cover with the batsmen chasing two. Both of these two have been dynamite in the field this season and showed it off again today. Blake also took an excellent catch at mid-wicket off Max’s bowling to inspire the first wicket of the day.
It was a very spongey and dewey outfield, and the Gerringong team did well to total 71 runs off their allotted twenty overs, which the Eagles complemented with five wickets, in what was a masterclass of Under 11 fielding. That they also did this by pushing themselves to this excellence, and not by being hounded by their coach, was the most satisfying part of the whole exercise. They were quite terrific. The backing up was good, and the keepers Josh and Kane both did a great job.
Kane Rex bowled two terrific overs today, straight and making the batsmen play every ball. It was a shame it was his week to keep and he couldn’t bowl any more overs than he did. He finished with 0/6. Blake Ison’s first two overs were superb again today, but he got a bit tired and down leg side in his final two overs. Perhaps the coach is over bowling him. He finished with 0/17. Charlotte Rodda mixed some good deliveries with some average deliveries, and for the first time in weeks failed to take a wicket. You can’t take them all the time. She took 0/14 from her three overs. Bohdie Rodda though was fabulous, with only five no balls today in his two overs. He can be rightly proud of his effort, and figures of 0/9. That practice is paying off. Max too only got two overs today, which was an oversight by his coach. His first over was a beauty, and his second not bad either. He finished with 1/6 from those overs, and will certainly get more bowling next week. Josh Peters had the opposing team singing his praises, and though it will be a biased comment again, his first over today was the over of the season. He bowled three overs and finished with 0/6. He is bowling in the wrong age group. The star again though was Lucas Brown, whose four sensational overs produced figures of 2/8, with another caught and bowled and a bowled with a double bouncer, his worst ball of the day. He keeps coming back at the batsmen even when he bowls a bad ball and never hangs his head. Great stuff Lucas.
For the first time since the very start of the season, the Eagles kids faced a bowling attack that was simply too good for them. When you have four or five kids with the ability to bowl the ball full and straight and move it in the air, it is a massive test for your batting skills, especially your defensive unit. I’m not sure they were so good that they didn’t bowl a wide no ball for the entire innings, but it was another level of bowling from what Albion Park Gold has faced in some time. The slow outfield also stopped any chance for the boundary hitters to get into gear, and as a result it was a tough time with the bat.
Despite this, no one dropped their head, and they all adapted well by the end of their innings. Charlotte and Max opened and faced the best of the bowlers, and although they were both bowled twice by almost unplayable deliveries, they stuck to their task and never gave in. Max especially played some lovely straight shots once he realised that this was where the bowling was aimed, and his three runs was worth much more on any other ground and on any other day. Well done Max, that was a tough innings and very well played. Charlotte also looked to play more shots this week and was also frustrated by the outfield. She still showed a lot of positive signs. Blake played an excellent innings today, and his score of 2 does not reflect that at all. He often had to adjust his stroke late to cover the delivery that he faced and he did this terrifically. He also wore a couple on his thigh and a full toss to his ribs, so he fought hard under adversity. Sometimes the number of runs you score does not show just how good an innings you have played. This was Blake today.
Bohdie tried hard under the conditions but jut couldn’t get the ball through the outfield, despite some nice strokes to mid-wicket. Kane came out positively and looked to dominate when the opportunity arose, which was good to see. He played forward much better today and as a result he looked much more comfortable at the crease. He made 3 good runs. Lucas and Josh put together a good partnership at the close, punching for singles and looking to be positive while keeping out the good deliveries, of which there were a few. Lucas especially took on the best of the Gerringong bowlers in the final over, getting forward and hitting every delivery in the middle of the bat, diffusing him perfectly, while also calling for two good singles. 4 not out today was worth a lot more than that. Well done Lucas. Josh still is hitting the ball a bit too aerial for his coach’s liking, but he also remained not out on 10.
After wicket penalties were added, Gerringong Green had run out victors by 99 to 51, and though they did win comfortably, the margin does not prove to be a fair reflection on how tough the game was fought by the Eagles kids. As I said, their fielding effort today was the best of the season, and after initial adjusting in the batting each of the kids handled themselves well against a very good attack. I was very proud of the way they handled themselves today.
Next Saturday the Golds will play the Greens in the Under 11 local derby at the home of junior cricket Con O’Keefe Oval. I hope we will see a big turnout of parents and relatives to see two very good teams play each other. No matter what the result, I feel sure you will see just how good the future looks for Albion Park cricket by the skills and ability of these 12-14 young kids coming through from their Under 11 competition.