It’s amazing what a varied array of topics a couple of old scorers can cover in the course of a day’s cricket.
The progress of the World Cup…….discussion on the progress Sheffield Shield scores….Tony Abbott…..the scourge of drugs……last night’s Rovers intra-club practice match…Daniel Andrews……the latest footy rumours…..sharing our mate Max’s latest travelogue…..the pristine condition of the ground……’Juice’ Booth v ‘Psycho’ Carroll and other classic WDCA on-field confrontations…….
We even found time to score.
Along the way we assembled a list of the best WDCA cricketers of the past couple of decades. There were all of the usual ‘suspects’……..Barry Grant, ‘Rocket’, Kent Braden, ‘Kerwy’, Gary Lidgerwood, ‘Peabo’, Rod Newton, ‘Knackers’, Jon Shaw, ‘Higgsy’, Matt Knight………
The bloke that I’ve always liked, though, is Jonny Hyde. I reckon that if I had a choice of one present-day player to bring in to a struggling side it would be the little fellah.
He again proved his worth in Saturday’s clash at the Findlay Oval, sending down 20 overs of on-the-spot medium-pace and concluding a marathon effort with figures of 3/26.
The thing about him is that he’s never out of the game and you can rely on him for a consistent performance every week.
In the last game, against City Colts, he took 6/36 and made 91. He has tallied 378 runs and taken 32 wickets for the season. Year after year he’s been producing these figures.
But back to the game. Bruck won the toss and elected to bowl. They obviously sensed that it was their best opportunity to snavel outright points, no doubt reasoning that Rovers-United have been reputed to turn in the occasional ‘shocker’ with the bat this season.
However, Hyde and his athletic opening partner, Alex Marklew toiled away for 17 overs before they were able to make any inroads into the Rovers-United batting.
Adrian Speziale and Ryan Nankervis had showed admirable focus and were intent on setting a base for the batting to come.
But, in a familiar scenario, it was soon 3/34 and the Hawks were on the ropes.
Luke Whitten, who was striking the ball with intent, was joined at the crease by his skipper and cousin, Jacob Schonafinger.
‘Schona’ immediately upped the ante and the run-rate escalated. He played with freedom and again proved what a fine leader he is.
The youngster, Whitten, producing what was probably his finest performance at the crease in his brief WDCA career, gave good support.
They had added 77, when Hyde enticed Schonafinger into a mis-timed shot and he was on his way for 48.
Whitten, who drove and cut with assurance in what was a great learning experience, had been most impressive. It was the pesky Hyde who was the beneficiary of a ‘nothing’ shot which brought Whitten undone and ended his 38-run vigil.
The Hawks were now 5/126 and the innings could have downhill from here. But Seamus Phillips, another player who has developed well over the season, joined forces with Josh Schonafinger. Both players were intent on attack.
Phillips could hardly be enticed into playing anything but a defensive prod a few months ago, but he unleashed several powerful drive and pull shots. He was the second of Jordan Blades’ four victims, compiling a valuable 29. Schonafinger, the younger, was most diligent in compiling his cameo of 19.
The Hawks went on to finish with 189, which is always a competitive total at the W.J.Findlay Oval. You have to be happy with taking small steps when you are a developing side and it was pleasing that seven players reached double figures.
It was a good, hard, day’s cricket and both sides would be pleased with their efforts.
Bruck can never be under-estimated as a finals prospect, especially if they happen to avoid power-side Yarrawonga in the semi.
They have a couple of potential century-makers in their line-up and with Marklew, Hyde and star spinner Jeremy Wilson, have an attack which could do the job.
History will determine whether they are one key bowler short come finals-time.