Green's day...just

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Green's day...just

It was surprises all round that the weather held off for cricket to proceed at home on Sunday after the late arrival of seasonal monsoon conditions late Friday and throughout Saturday.

The general lack of rain prior meant the outfield was not water logged and the rain we did have drained quickly, albeit the pitch had sweated under covers for 36 hours and the wicket was a little soft and sticky early on. In fact it was very sticky again by the end of the day. But first to proceedings...

Muddies characteristically won the toss and put Mulgrave Punjab into bat after some repairs to the bowlers’ foot marks at the “town” end allowing the club's fastest paceman to open - Jordan Butters.

Pictured: The Muddies Green bowlers heaped on the pressure resulting in a cliff-hanger finish.

Four wides, a no ball and two singles in his first two overs followed, by a maiden in the third, brought about a change with young Hayden D’Adonna given an opportunity on a wicket that clearly had no pace and did not offer the ball to come on to the bat.

The Punjab batsmen were a long way from their typical bludgeoning style as Sorensen (0/11 off 5) generated a very difficult slips catch opportunity almost pulled off by an athletic Butters, seeing the visitors to a slow 0/24 off 10 overs.

The eleventh over bowled by D’Adonna brought about two magnificent wickets - the first was clean bowled and then a superb catch diving forward at mid off by Darlington gave Punjab’s number 3 (best bat and skipper) a duck.

Miglioranza (1/29 off 6) relieved Sorensen after four overs and broke through in his second over creating another first ball duck. The difficult catch from the skipper running backwards at mid off and thrusting one hand back provided inspiration to players and the spectators alike, especially after recent hamstring injuries.

D’Adonna (3/18 off 6 and missing a fourth wicket off a no ball) removed the other opener for 12 in the twelfth over and gave Miglioranza further confidence completing the superb running outfield catch which left Punjab at4/29.

A 30 run partnership ensued with some risky unorthodox cross-bat shots before the in-swinging weapon Barnes completed a first over wicket maiden followed by a double wicket maiden. Rhree wickets fell at 63, Punjab 8/63.

Calm nerves and an accurate under arm throw by Nathan Evans assisted a suicide run out. Butters (1/11 off 6) claimed a caught behind edge and Barnes (4/11 off 6) clean bowled the last wicket to see Mulgrave Punjab all out for 81.

Muddies Green opened with Darlington (1) and Harrold (9) facing tight bowling from the quality Mulgrave side, although both were back in the shed caught within the first six overs.

They were quickly followed by former centurion Troy Shepherd (8) in controversial circumstances. The square leg umpire (a Muddies team mate) had no choice but to call what he saw – broken stumps at the striker’s end with the batsmen well short.

From the side line, some 80m away most spectators felt they saw the stumps broken by the keeper without the ball in hand and the centre umpire, perhaps also sensing something dubious with the ball sitting alongside the stumps, met mid-wicket with Mulgrave Captain and players all throwing their two bobs' worth in.

The meeting and discussions saw the decision upheld and Muddies were 3/19 in the sixth over, followed quickly by luckless Miglioranza (2) bowled in the eighth leaving the Muddies at 4/23.

The team started to increase their monitoring of the weather on satellite radar as the skies grew darker.

Butters and D’Adonna settled the ship with a 34 run partnership, although the latter greatly valued his wicket scoring a mere 1 off 31 deliveries. Butters pushed controlled ones and twos rather than using his big hitting power.

When Butters fell caught for 20, D’Adonna had reached 11no, Muddies 5/57off 22 overs. Skipper Doble consulted the off field umpire and rule book regarding wash out rules, ascertaining a need to remain in excess of the Punjab’s 2.733 runs per over innings rate.

This meant that with rain drops starting and a huge band of heavy rain only a kilometre away the Muddies should have been at least 61 runs at the fall of Butters’ wicket should the game be abandoned.

As Doble reached the crease, quick instructions were given to get the run rate up quickly and then maintain at least three runs per over in the tough batting conditions.

In a bid to achieve this Doble scored twos off his first two deliveries, but D’Adonna (12) fell caught taking the score to 6/67. McCullough (1) then fell LBW 7/67, then Barnes (0) run out - 8/68.

Muddies Green barely held the required the run rate. Doble (16no from 14) went for everything - sometimes merely adding to the breeze with lusty misses but a great late cut saw the batsmen scurry for three runs.

With the score 75 Evans (0) was caught – nine wickets down, rain pouring by this stage. Discussions continued and the umpire confirmed the laws do not allow him to abandon the game unless either party cannot perform their function in the game, despite a skidding slimy ball for the bowlers and rain in the eyes of the batsmen.

In the twenty-seventh over, Doble moved forward to a full delivery on the stumps and turned the ball square of the wicket, slipping and falling at the crease in the process which was followed by another slip at the other end in returning for a second. Fortunately the ball rolled over the boundary for four.

A fast single with the ball dropped at his feet saw Doble ready to face the first ball of the twenty-eighth over. The Muddies required two runs to secure a win and Mulgrave merely one wicket to win themselves.

Given the (timely) slip by Doble, the umpire was challenged on the “unfit conditions” ruling and play was abandoned as water started to pool on the wicket.

Muddies won with a superior run rate to a dissatisfied Mulgrave team who had not been so vigilant to calculate their true position in the match.

This win, and that of co-team Muddies Blue, now sees the home teams placed first and second on the Cricket Far North Third Grade One day Ladder!