4th XI final vs. West Bentleigh: a classic win!

March 13, 2012 1 Comment

It was a beautiful Saturday morning at Elwood and the boys began to arrive at Wattie Watson, a steely look in their eyes, ahead of a must win final against West Bentleigh.

The popular opinion amongst the Fourth XI was to bowl first but on winning the toss captain Dave May decided to bat.

Leon Harris and Nathan Turner strode to the crease. Leon was to anchor the innings, to work the ball around, to play a straight bat. First ball of the match he received a short ball and decided to try and hook it for six. He was caught behind and the West Bentleigh boys went nuts. Zac Leiser-Moore came to the crease and was bowled for a duck. Elwood was 2/4 and the decision to bat first was looking like a shaky one.

John Phillips joined Nathan and they scratched around, putting on 18 before JP holed out to mid-on for six. Elwood were 3/22, Nathan was still at the crease, had most of the runs and it was all very hard work.

Lachie Harris, in his first senior final, joined Nathan in the middle. Like he has done for most of the year he was part of an important partnership. It was only worth 15, but in the end the little partnerships mattered. Lachie, like his dad and Zac before him, made a duck. The score was 4/37 but Nathan was still at the crease and working his guts out for every run.

The next two innings, by Scott Leach and Ian Grundy, along with Nathan’s, would prove to be the difference. Scott, dubbed “Mr Cricket” by Reg, is a cavalier batman at his best, but with the long slow ground and Elwood in dire need to put up a fight, he did just that. More Border than Brian Lara, his 15 runs and 35 run partnership with Nathan got Elwood to tea and out of trouble, wrestling the momentum back to the home team.

At tea, Nathan had a shower and redressed, he was focused for a big afternoon session, he then decided to hit a ball into the wind first over after the break and left the field after making 45 — an innings that was worth at least double that. He fought for every run and got Elwood into a position that had runs on the board. A fantastic innings by Waddles.

Reg joined Scott and — for the first time for the day — a partnership started to score runs easily. Reg — an Elwood warrior — made batting look simple. His 21 runs and his 32 run stand with Scott got Elwood to 104 and a total that could be bowled at. When Reg departed, also on 104, Elwood was six wickets down and had a few overs left. David Robertson came and went, looking for quick runs in a tough situation. He was the fourth Elwood man to score a duck this day. Sam Mirenda was run out for five. Dave May was bowled for a duck too, leaving Howie Persson — also his first senior final — on two not out. The score, in the final 65th over, was 112. The game was on.

The next day the boys were at the ground early. The coach, Steve Jones, took the boys for some intense fielding drills. The was fire in the belly.

Elwood lost a wicket the first ball of their innings. After Nathan Turner’s second ball a waiting batsman for West Bentleigh quipped “we’re already doing better”, three balls later Nathan had their opening batsman caught brilliantly at second slip by Zac. Like Elwood before them, West Bentleigh were 1/0. They were remarkably silent after that .

When West Bentleigh were on 12, Howie Persson broke through for the second wicket when Robbo threw his left hand out and took a one hand screamer at mid wicket. The watching crowd went crazy, the boys in the middle even more so.

Then on 22, Nathan got his second wicket, clean bowling West Bentleigh’s number 3 batsman. Elwood were on a roll.

Eight runs alter, when West Bentleigh were on 30, Scott Leach got the all-important wicket of West’s skipper, thanks to a superb slips catch by Leon Harris. The boys couldn’t drop anything. Everything was working.

Then West Bentleigh started to fight back.

The next wicket was worth 22 runs. It doesn’t sound like much but in the context of the situation it was immense.

Scott was bowling and the batsman flicked it out to deep square. Lachie chased the bowl down and the first and last mistake the batsman made was to take Lachie’s arm on. Lachie produced a perfect long throw to Scott, over the bails, and a crucial run out at a crucial time was completed. The score was 5/52 with plenty of overs left.

Having held him back all day, Dave bought on Sam Mirenda to the delight of the well refreshed Elwood crowd. West Bentleigh had started to look settled again. First ball by Sam cannoned into the foot of the batsman and the appeal was deafening. Sam’s first ball was plumb LBW! West Bentleigh were 6/52! Everything was going Elwood’s way again.

Four runs later had Lachie Harris catch West Bentleigh’s best performed batsman — a man who made 152 the week before — at cow corner off Leach’s bowling. Lachie never looked like dropping it. The score was 7/56. The game was heading Elwood’s way.

An older ball and a tiring Elwood attack meant that the foot started going off the pedal and West Bentleigh got to tea seven down for 70 odd runs. Another fightback was in the air. Worryingly for Elwood there was plenty of time for West Bentleigh to get the runs. They needed the three wickets and fast.

When West Bentleigh was on 81, after a partnership worth 35, a breakthrough finally occurred for Elwood. Zac, thrown the ball by his skipper, got the batsman caught at mid off by Scott. 8/81. The game was in the balance. Sloppy fielding started happening. A drop catch or two as well.

To their credit West Bentleigh kept on fighting. Another mini-partnership began to push the game to their favour when, on 94, Zac clean bowled the batsmen. 9/94. Wests needed 19 runs. Elwood needed one wicket.

The crowd was restless. West Bentleigh’s tail were superb. Every run they scored the Wests crowd roared. The situation was beginning to look grim. Dave May began to warm up, his team mated suggested that might not be a good idea. May gave the ball to Leach. This was it, a final roll of the dice. Wests needed six runs to win. They had many overs available to them. It was coming down to this.

Leach, who had bowled magnificently all day, pitched one up. It thudded into the pads. The fielders — and supporters – -went up as one. The umpire raised his finger — Elwood had won a thriller!

Nathan Turner , for his 45 gallant runs and his 2/39 off 20 dedicated overs won our man of the match. Leach was the pick of the bowlers. Zac was superb, as was Howie and Sam. Lachie and Robbo were inspirational in the field.

The Fourths now turn their attention to Washington Park this weekend at Centenary Park — Bentleigh Uniting’s home ground. Come down and support the boys. The game starts at 1.30pm. If it even is half as exciting as this game, it will be worth every second.

Go Elwood!

Match Reviews, News, Newsletter, Seniors
One Comments to “4th XI final vs. West Bentleigh: a classic win!”
  1. UNDER USED says:

    It`s great that the 4`s won and reading this are run as an on-field democracy over bowling changes. Personally I would have bowled the skipper, after all the seasons stats would suggest he was their best option !

    Still what a good bloke for putting the team first about the pursuit of more individual glory, it would be nice if the world had more people like him.