The First XI’s quest to secure their third win for the season fell agonisingly short with a tie against Frankston Peninsula on Saturday, but it was better news for the Second and Fourth XIs.
After more than 40 millimeters of rain fell in some areas of Melbourne on Friday, the prospect of any cricket getting underway over the weekend looked doubtful. But after the customary “report to grounds” message was dispatched, players from both sides arrived at AH Butler Oval to see conditions fit to play and a full day of play in store.
After eight matches, skipper Andrew Fekete finally won his first coin toss for the season and elected to bat. Despite losing Simon Hill early, things quickly improved for the Magpies as the returning Rishab Guddadamane picked up from where he left off prior to his hamstring injury with 59 at the top of the order. He shared a 104-run stand with in-form number three Akshay Kodoth (51) as the Pies looked to build a strong total. But once Guddadamane and Kodoth fell in the space of three runs, Camberwell’s middle order could only muster a series of starts as Frankston Peninsula restricted the Magpies to 9/207.
From the get-go of the Heat’s reply, it seemed as though the result was destined to go down to the wire. Both sides struggled to grab absolute ascendancy throughout, with Frankston Peninsula’s opening partnership off 44 and a seventh wicket partnership of 56 offset by three run outs during the chase.
It all came down to the final over, with the Heat requiring four runs to win and the Magpies needing one wicket. Following two crucial wickets in his penultimate over, Chris Bridle was handed the responsibility of bowling the final set of six. Following two runs off the bat from the first five balls, Bridle was able to keep the last ball to one leg bye to see the match end in a thrilling tie.
While not the result either side wanted, there was enough to take out of the performance from a Camberwell perspective. Bridle continued his stretch of good form with the ball with 3/46 off his 10 overs, while Ollie Jenkins continued his impress debut year in the top grade with 2/26.
In the Second XI, Camberwell decided to put Frankston Peninsula in at McQueen Park. It was all looking good early for Camberwell as they combined disciplined bowling with some excellent efforts in the field (two run outs) that had the Heat in trouble at 6/91. Frankston Peninsula’s tail mounted a mini fight back as they finished 8/173 from their 50 overs, with Ben Jowett (2/37), Joe Doyle (2/38) and Tom Vanderslik (1/25) all impressive with the ball.
In reply, Camberwell’s innings started in shaky fashion as they fell to 3/6 before young gun Liam Fitzpatrick and captain Shane Mays combined to rebuild the innings. After taking time to weather the early Frankston Peninsula onslaught, the pair put on a 113-run partnership before Mays fell for 56. Fitzpatrick continued on though and found an ally in Kevin Prior to steer the Magpies home, with Fitzpatrick finishing with an extremely impressive 73 not out.
Across the road from the ones, the Third XI had a day to forget with the bat as they were bundled out for 116. Talented youngsters Dhruv Redhu (47) and Jack Di Stefano (26) were the only batsman to pass double figures, leaving a huge job for the bowlers to rein in an unlikely victory.
Despite the lack of runs on the board, the Pies gave it a red hot crack and at one stage had the Heat at 6/69, before they steadied to record a four wicket win. Sam Nash (3/17 off 9) continued his push for a return to the Second XI with an excellent display as leader of the attack, while Redhu (1/19 off 9) and Henry Smith (1/10 off 6) were also particularly miserly.
After a particularly tough season to date, there were scenes of jubilation at Watson Park as the Fourth XI recorded their first win for the season. Bowling first, Camberwell’s bowlers led by Angus Steele (2/21) and Anton Ponnamperuma (2/16) put together an extremely disciplined display to restrict Frankston Peninsula to 6/126 off their 45 overs.
The Magpies made light work of the chase, with Harris Carlin (51 not out), Caleb Johnson (39 not out) and Steele (25) combining to see the fours home to a commanding nine-wicket win. It was a great reward for skipper Rob Capstick and his young chargers, who despite their comparative inexperience to the rest of the competition have fronted up each week and continued to improve in all facets of the game.
The Magpies now turn their attention to next week where we face a huge challenge against one of the competition’s benchmarks in Carlton.
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