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From The South East!

Coasters twice fronted Tasmania during the recent 9th Echuca O’60s Club Championships.

On Monday, we played them at Kyabram. Losing the toss, we were sent into the field. Legend Legoe started with the early wicket of Captain Dalkin before Australian player “Doc” Richardson got them off to a fast start with the bat. He made 41, including coming back later and finishing with a 6. Our middle-order bowlers in Baker, Whibley, and Hutchens slowed things down, and we restricted them to 206 for seven wickets.

Then the fun started. Every batter reached the 30 ball mark while keeping the run rate in touch with the five runs an over required First, Filk’s with 26 runs and then Verc’s with 24 runs. Murdoch (19) and Hutchens (17) were a little slower but served the purpose of keeping the Twilighters out under the roasting (of their Captain) sun.

Then Michael Young (31) combined with Ken Baker (43) to up the scoring dramatically, leaving Chris Whibley (30 from 24 balls) and Geoff Barker (5) to finish the job.

Many photos of the scoreboard showed 208 for 0 in 35 overs. (Note I didn’t write that it was “un-precedented!) Not one person could remember a precedent of making over 200 runs using eight batters and not losing a wicket.

Losing our way with the bat late in the third day’s match against ACT meant we missed to opportunity to extract revenge on SA Wombats but earnt a second go at the Tasmanians.

All hell broke loose on the way to the fourth game at Gunbower. “Have a chat Legoe” and his accomplice Michael Young reported that Ledge had woken feeling unwell, RAT tested once (-ve) but wasn’t convinced and so had sorted a PCR. Skipper Phil Dohnt and scorer Nis realised they had sat with Ledge the previous evening at the Greek Restaurant and started to feel nervous. Tony reRATted and showed positive. Phil and Nis decided to isolate.

Suddenly our Captainless team had the bare 11 (2 bowlers and a batter down) and were facing a State cock-a-hoop from beating SA Wombats the day before and out for revenge for the game three days ago.

A toss was held and (unlike our first choice Captain) won with the decision made to bat (just to get some clear air). Luckily Mark Ross from Western Victoria visited the game and was added to our team.

Belly and Vercs opened.

Phil made 24 from 24 balls then Filks (33) and Chris Hutchens (28) and Geoff Barker (23) all retired.

Hutchie declared it “a 240 pitch”.

However, no one really noticed because Ken Baker took to all the bowlers magnificently, making “his age” of 66 off his 30 balls. George Healey made 3. Everyone was impressed.

Murdoch (30) and Whibley (20) scored at a run a ball as a final score of 241 was reached.

Whibley and Murdoch took the new ball, reminiscing about the “good old days” at Wynarka Cricket Club many moons (and decades) ago. Richardson and another Australian player, Patty Henry (63 from 30 balls), started the chase with vigour. Max Arney bowled two balls before his calf gave way. Mark Ross had a go. Murdoch bowled out. Hutchens and Baker took a wicket each but at a cost. We could never put real scored board pressure on them despite our attitude and our fielding holding up (2 run outs and George Healey, you are a champion).

Geoff Barker got his competitive juices flowing and slowed up the ball. He took two wickets this way, and then he took over the keeping.

Neil Perry, first one end and then switched to allow Whibley to finish out, and Chris Whibley followed his lead.

These three slowed the tail-enders, took wickets, and kept us in the game until that awkward stage where top-order batters start coming back. They needed 20 from 4 overs, then eight runs from 2.

One top-order batter who had returned was dispatched by a great chase and throw from the boundary by Chris Hutchens, creating a runout, and saving a run.

An interesting umpiring decision saw Chris Whibley have to bowl a seven-ball over (the previous Perry over was only five balls), but he only went for three runs. His last over went for three as well.

Neil was required to bowl the last over with five runs needed. Richardson had returned. Several yorkers lead to the batters sharing “one run from this last ball”. Our Skip thought this was to win and that the game was already a draw.

Another yorker remained unhit, and that deflating feeling of a draw rushed in ‘til we heard the noise from our supporters on the boundary, and the batters started congratulating us.

They were on 240. That one run was for the draw.

Outstandingly Neil finished with three wickets and Chris with two.

It was undoubtedly an exhausted but elated team that achieved one victory without losing a wicket and another by just one run. I believe all bookings have been renewed for 2023 in Echuca.

The moral of the story is that when Hutchie tells you it is a 240 pitch make 241, you’ll be right.

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