“Do not drive through floodwaters” might have been the advice received by most of the state last weekend, but at Casey, one would merely be advised not to drive out in-front of oneself. For in Casey, the Students were playing cricket; the First and Second XI’s offered a practice match as the regular round was again called off.
Though his white corduroy collection means he fits in easily in his new home suburb of Fitzroy, Blake Reed had begun to wonder whether he would ever get a game of cricket in Melbourne. To be clear, he still hasn’t, but he did have the chance to open the batting for Uni for the first time, as the First XI were sent in on Saturday.
Partnering with Noah Croes at the top, the pair made a fast start, putting on 69 for the first wicket. Reed (25) made the perfect amount for a practice match, while Croey continued his fine UK Premiership-winning form with a dazzling 90 to anchor the innings. Andrej woke up on a day where he was playing cricket so was immediately on 40, eventually run out for 41, while captain McKenna cruised to 27 before getting so deep in his crease that he cut the bails off the stumps to be out hit-wicket. A strong top-order performance was ably supported by some powerful lower-order hitting from Uni’s most recent international, JP blasting 31 to lift the Students to 255 at the compulsory closure.
Thrilled to have a white ball in their hands once again, Stafford and Mackin toiled, with slim to no support from a wicket more docile than Yogi Bear. As it happened, it was the spinners who did the damage. Warren – brought on to bowl just early enough to prevent him bursting into tears – was outstanding; earning 3/46. Such did he trouble Chandrasinghe, that Casey’s opener was spotted getting let-arm throwdowns for an hour at the Junction Oval just this afternoon. Naturally Fuzzy also impressed, bowling in a bucket hat and claiming three wickets of his own.
Unfortunately, with 15 to defend off the last, the Ducks got the chocolates.
Having assured his team that they would bowl first, captain James Bett promptly lost the toss and advised that the Students had been sent in.
Though the wicket was a touch soft to start, and the Swans nabbed an early wicket, one opener was making the most of his truncated preseason. Harrison Emms, whose penchant for long hours extends from the standing desk to the centre wicket, looked every bit a man who has been working on his game for the last six months. Fool me once, he has hit tennis balls on the hocket pitch once and collected his bat from Greggy’s place on the way to the game. Nevertheless, Crispy made it look easy, driving, pulling and denouncing quickies right the way to a hundred. A fine display of batting, he steered the innings wonderfully and promptly got out once he reached three figures. Inbox and scorecard full, my favourite kind of Emmsy.
After posting 215, it was the Swans who made the fast start in the afternoon, in now favourable batting conditions. Though TJ and JB looked likely at various stages, it wasn’t until the spin of Yuvraj Singh that Uni were able to make a breakthrough. The middle overs revealed two things; Bettsy can tell when Yuvi “Index” Singh is going to bowl the flicker and Casey’s number three won a raffle, but should have picked the meat tray. Unfortunately, Uni were not able to take wickets regulalrly enough to steam the Swans’ flow of runs, but Wagon Rolfs bowled a superb spell to tighten things up a touch at the back end; his big-spinning leg-breaks a great challenge any time, but particularly this day.
Chagrin, two losses, but plenty learned and a good chance to get in the middle!