The wicket at the W.J.Findlay Oval has returned to its former glory.
506 runs were extracted for the match from a true, well-grassed track in perfect conditions at cricket’s ‘Headquarters’. The outfield, which had not received any water for just on a week, was lightning fast, as Beechworth ran down a competitive Rovers-United total yesterday.
Come to think of it, ‘Ran Down’ probably paints the incorrect picture of an entertaining day’s play. The Wanderers were pretty much in command and the Hawks were unable to effect the necessary break-throughs which would put the pressure on the visitors.
The bowling from medium-pacers Godfrey, Drage, Speziale and Jacob Schonafinger was earnest, but one bad ball an over was usually dispatched to the boundary.
Kayde Surrey, who with older brother Brenton, forms the backbone of a long and talented Beechworth batting list is a fine player and was particularly severe on anything short. His young opening partner Jack Ryan lent good support but gave a couple of chances in the field which should have been snapped up.
He was eventually removed for 38, to a smart return catch offered to the hard-working Speziale. The stand was worth 77 and brought the Surrey brothers to the crease and an acceleration in the run-rate.
At 153 Kayde, who is now full recovered from a shoulder ‘reco’, lifted his head to a well-flighted delivery from spinner Josh Schonafinger and was smartly stumped by enthusiastic ‘keeper Blake Nixon.
His contribution had been 74. The game was now careering out of the Hawks’ control.
Another quality stroke-maker, Stuart Thomson, a left-handler with style, took no time to become acquainted with the conditions , but he lost Brenton Surrey (52) and Josh Newton (5), in the space of a couple of overs.
As Beechworth coasted past the Rovers- United total for the loss of just four wickets, and the bowlers and fielders became oppressed by the warm conditions, there were some cheap runs on offer.
Thomson (36), Matt Hunt (34 not out) and Cam Fendyk (27), completed the run feast as the visitors finished with 7/293.
Jacob Schonafinger supplied his usual earnest contribution to be the pick of the bowlers, despite achieving little reward for effort. His brother Josh showed good control and had a sustained spell of spin bowling, but copped some stick later on.
But there have been some important lessons learned from this game and the Hawks will approach the Greta clash with some confidence that the ice may break.
Beechworth must rate themselves a good chance to play finals. They are a young side with talent and the only ‘knock’ on them is with their bowling.
They have improved markedly over the past couple of years and a lot of the credit for this is due, they say, to two former Carlton District cricketers, Ron Lawrence and Brett Cavighan, who now live in the town.
Lawrence played 171 games with the Blues and is a cricket fanatic. The story has it that he had extraordinary determination to make the grade as a youngster and would ride his bike to Princes Park an hour before training,drive a stump into the practice wicket and bowl at it . Then he would give it everything for another two hours in the nets, then ride his bike home, across town.
Apparently he is hard on the Beechworth boys, but they appreciated his approach. Cavighan, who almost helped the Wanderers to a premiership a couple of years ago, now coaches in the junior grades.
They have been a great asset, but there is a more professional attitude in the Wanderers ranks now, something that held them back in the days of yore.