Round 9 – Day 2 Review

That there are no bonus points available to act as an incentive to play cricket on day two again emerged as a stain when the Palmerston / Darwin fixture was called off by the captains after a mere 90 minutes of play at Cazaly’s Oval. Hmmmm?

DDCC Playing Conditions (May 2021) allow for this to occur - 6.7.6.1: When a first innings result has been reached, the match will continue in the second innings until the scheduled conclusion of the match, unless both captains agree that no further result can be achieved, whereupon play may be terminated. (my italics and underline).

Chasing 174 and commencing at 1-71, Darwin strolled to a first innings victory at 2-179 (44 overs) - Harry Chamberlain (73 n.o.; 9x4, 3x6), Anthony Adlam (60). So, neither captain, especially the Darwin skipper whose team was very much in control, didn’t have the belief that their players could rise to the occasion and achieve an outright result because both were clearly in agreement to draw stumps early. For the record, given that six-hours play is normal, Darwin in its last two games played for a total of 3-1/2 hours out of a possible 12 on day two of both games.

While it seemed Darwin and Palmerston didn’t want to play – or had other enticements on their collective agenda - it wasn’t the same in the other two games which were indeed a wonderful advertisement for DDCC cricket.

Firstly, at DXC Arena where PINT was chasing Nightcliff’s competitive 7-271. The Green Caps looked like they were also on track for an early result and started in a blaze with Ben Speake (17) hitting boundaries from his first four scoring shots, but his stay was short lived when Tushaar Garg (2-26) slammed a yorker into his stumps. While Garg was impressive with his early fire, it was the gentler off-spin of Ryan McElduff that turned the match in the Tigers favour - his persistence over 23 overs yielded 5-51 and together with his 51 at the top of the batting order last week, his double was a match winner. A typically solid innings from PINT skipper Tim Garner (43) and some support from Blade Baxter (36) and Lachlan Bangs (31) gave their team some hope but they finally finished well short at 10-200 (70 overs).

Out at the Village Green, Tracy needed to chase down Southern Districts impressive 8-309 and they looked on track at the tea break with opener Jackson Edmondstone (68, 140 balls) who is especially strong on the off-side, and Josh Kann (111, 127 balls, 12x4) who is powerful all around the wicket still at the crease. But the steadiness and variety of the Districts attack snuffed out any chance of the home side clawing their way to victory (10-223). I wrote about the brittleness of the Village middle / late order batting last week and it was again on display, because apart from Kann and Edmondstone, no other batsman reached double figures. Up from B-Grade for the game, medium pacer Luke Gandy (4-38, 15 overs) was the rock while skipper Matt Hammond (3-29) again displayed his all-round talents following 84 with the bat last week.

Round 10 – Day 1 Preview

Coming off the bye, Waratah (1st) plays host to a rejuvenated Nightcliff (7th) at Gardens Oval and while the respective ladder positions suggest the Red Caps should start as favourites, the Tigers will be buoyed by the last round victory against serious opposition. Nightcliff’s batting has been solid all season with Joel Curtis and Ryan McElduff at the top and a better than average middle order, they will be no pushover for the steady Tah attack led by evergreen Udara Weerasinghe.

Waratah batting is its strength, and although the inclusion of Tushaar Garg adds considerable bite, the Tigers rely heavily on McElduff and Nash Sant and to expect that trio alone to curb the run making ability of Isaac Conway, Austin Umpherston Ashley Chandrasinghe, Yash Pednekar and Dylan Hunter is a big ask. But, recent form and an awareness of the potential, Nightcliff is an opposition that can’t be ignored.

Darwin and Tracy Village renew acquaintances at Kahlin Oval and with Tracy now outside the top four, and fourth place Districts having the bye, a win will put the Villagers back into at least fourth place. Despite playing little consequential day-two cricket recently, Darwin’s form has been solid although its middle / late order batting, which has been limp all season, has not been given the chance to resurrect itself with centre wicket cricket.  The Eagles have relished the new-found form of Luke Zanchetta and Troy Ryan with the shiny red ball and with a strong top order batting array led by Anthony Adlam, they will present solid opposition to a slim Tracy bowling lineup – especially since main-man Josh Kann’s recent wicket taking form has been found wanting. 

The Village batting relies too heavily on too few – Jackson Edmondstone, Hugo Burdon and Kann - and if the Darwin bowlers can make early inroads, another naively conceived early finish may occur.

Last round losers PINT and Palmerston meet at DXC Arena and the Maroons in particular will need to lift in all areas because their opponents will be hunting for victory after the recent loss.

Both teams lack bowling strength to take early wickets – where only PINT left-arm seamer Blade Baxter stands out as a genuine threat to top order batsmen and while it is obvious, to rely on the placid orthodox rollers from Tim Garner, shows the Greens must look to club depth and find other alternatives. Similarly, Palmy have Hamish Martin as their only bowler able to mix it with the best opponents where he wiles away from one end with a marathon of overs and several wickets in the process.

The home of cricket curator normally produces wickets that have something for both batters and bowlers, but with a shortage of quality wicket taking trundlers available for both teams, a run-feast is likely and a reliance on the respective skippers Garner (PINT) and Alex Bleakley (Palmerston) is high because while others are capable, there is little consistent performance to form a basis for optimism.

Round 10 Fixture - Saturday 26 June and Saturday 03 July

Waratah v Nightcliff at Gardens Oval (12:30am)

Darwin v Tracy Village at Kahlin Oval (12:30pm)

PINT v Palmerston at DXC Arena (12:30pm)

Bye: Southern Districts