Rockingham-Mandurah 234 (Richards 4/48, Eaton 3/47, Dzodzos 2/12) def. by Wanneroo 3/238 (O’Day 96, Richards 71, Smith 65*)
After the previous week’s success – ‘Kingsway in a big way’ – the Roos took the long drive to North Bunbury to play Rockingham Mandurah in the all-important Semi-Final. Winning the toss, Rockingham had no hesitation electing to bat first. Once again the Roos got off to a great start with Matthew Peter clinching a couple of early poles, which included cleaning up their season leading batsmen Teague Wylie. Rockingham fought back before a magical legside stumping by Jimmy “Jim Paine” Newnham off the bowling of Rob “all-rounder” Richards. Caiden “The Wall” Eaton then came on and bowled long spells, keeping the pressure on Rockingham leaving them 6 down going into the last session. The Roos then grinded out the remaining wickets meaning they would require 235 runs to enter the Grand Final. The Roos were left with 2 tricky overs to deal with before stumps which Deon “recently-an-opener” Billington and Michael “even-more-recently-an-opener” O’day did with ease.
Rob Richards finished day one with 4-48 off 23, Caiden 3-47 off 21 and Jim Paine Newnham took 3 catches and two stumpings.
Taking the long drive back once again the next day, Deon Billington copped one with his name on it with the very first ball of the day. Enter Rob “I’m not an opener” Richards who pummelled the Rockingham attack while Michael O’day played an anchor role to perfection. When Richards fell for 71 Michael “Dizzy” O’day and Kelvin “Special K” Smith showed their class batting the Roos to within victory. With scores level O’day (96) was caught on the boundary trying to bring up his hundred, a victim of the nervous 90’s according to the WACA write-up. The next ball Kelvin laced one behind point as he did the week before to send the Roos into the Grand Final!
Perth 181 (Ardagh 5/36, Stumpers 2/30, Fryer 2/38) def. by Wanneroo 200 (Ardagh 59, Fryer 36, Walter 26*)
In scorching heat and very little breeze the mighty roos faced up against Perth aiming to go 2 for 2 as a club this finals campaign. Having won 15 games straight Perth have been a formidable outfit in third grade this season, bringing into the Elimination Final the competitions leading bowling unit, the competitions single leading batsmen and the competitions leading overconfidence.
The day started well with Adam Smith cheerfully electing to bat before the coin had touched the ground. We needed a strong start to deny their attack the early wickets that they’re used to, Michael Ardagh and Tim Harris delivered with a solid opening partnership of 49, defending the good and striking the bad – Ardagh being especially punishing on anything short.
While Micheal “Dustin” Ardagh managed to score a classy and powerful 59, he had been scoring the bulk of the runs for the morning – and when he was removed on a team total of 76 the scoring dried up. On what was becoming a day three Mumbai strip the game became a gritty, attritional affair. Although there was no horrible, classic ‘collapse’, no partnerships were allowed to flourish. Apart from Donavinn and Kelsey putting on 30 in the middle, it looked like no other partnership after the opening stand would reach 15. Thankfully a clutch last-wicket push between John ‘pony-tail’ Walter (26*) and Shared ‘Virat cover-drive’ Jessani (13) got the roos to a defendable total of 200. Even though it was disappointing to not get as many runs as we’re capable of, the boys were quietly confident in the knowledge that despite winning all season Perth had never chased 200. On top of this, we got to have a crack at their top order for 9 overs. And like the game before this reaped rewards, the boys snaffling three quick wickets – including an oblique angled Marnus-esque catch at batpad from Darcy “PDITS” Forssman to end day one.
Knowing we were in a healthy position as long as we did our jobs, the boys rocked up to Fletcher on day two ready to go – despite some minor chaos as Hayden “Special” Stumpers realised half way to the ground he had forgotten his cricket bag.
Aware that Perth were never going to roll over we looked to play pressure cricket on another sweltering day, on a pitch that closer resembled the MCG circa-2017 strip rather than the day-one dustbowl. With Donavinn “Donny” Fryer busting his guts he finally got a first break through, though that was to be our last for some time as Perth’s Pujara/Boycott combo defied our attack for a session and a half. In that time we also lost the skipper to a hamstring scare. Eventually Michael Ardagh broke the Dravid/Farrant combo with a feather to the keeper. At 5-104 we had hoped that we could breach the tail, but this was not to be as their best batsmen strolled to crease and continued what he had done all season, scoring quickly. Suddenly it was lunch and Perth were 150 without loss of another wicket.
Knowing that without stepping up this would be our last session, we retouched on our mantra of the day that “hard work beats arrogance”, we took to the field tired but with renewed determination. Darcy “Nic Cages Haircut in Con-Air” Forssman cleaned up their Pujara. And the nicest bloke on their team couldn’t stare his way out of a Stumpers half-volley. With the tide changing, their captain had everything to do. But restrictive bowling kept him off strike and Micheal Ardagh snared two in an over at the other end. Needing 30 for the last pair, the captain opened his shoulders. However player of the match Michael Ardagh said ‘lets just get him out’ in response to an attempted field change – and inevitably cleaned him up next ball to take his fifth.
The supporters charged the field, the song was sung, the beer was cold and the day was good. We now start again as we make the final push into the grand final against Joondalup next week.
Wanneroo 8/196 (O Brown 46, Carmignani 40, T Brown 25) def. Fremantle 143 (O Brown 2/15, Walker 2/22, Gillespie 2/24, Jessani 2/28)
The boys were pleased to have secured a home semi against a finals opponent who on paper looked formidable as they had the leading run scorer and second leading wicket taker in the comp. On a hot and sunny Saturday morning Captain Carroll won the toss and with no hesitation elected to bat on a pitch that had a bit grass coverage and looked like it may provide some assistance to the bowlers.
A steady early start saw us get to 30 before both openers fell in consecutive balls as both edged to the keeper. Jordan, promoted up the order, was given out also caught behind not long later after the ball came of his pad and the boys really needed to consolidate. Tyler was joined by Ben “ice man” Carmignani to move the score along to 70 before Tyler skied one and left us in a spot of bother at 4/70 with 30 odd overs remaining and the team hopeful of a score around 170-180. Then arrived Owen ‘Big boy Big six” Brown who with Ben proceeded to accelerate the innings and in a five over stint started to take the game away from the opposition. Owen proceeded to smash the bowling around the park and his innings of 46 (38 balls) included 4 massive bombs, one of which looked like it would have landed on Wanneroo road if it wasn’t for clipping the top of the trees.
Ben and Owens partnership of 56 helped provide a platform players coming down the order. Captain Carroll and Matt “Whippet” Skouros contributed with scores in the teens whilst Ben continued to plug away at the other end notching up 40 before being dismissed late in the innings. An entertaining last over from Rhys “I want to match Owens effort” Walker (20* off 11) saw us reach a score of 196 which we more than happy with and confident of defending.
Freo boys looked disconsolate walking off after having being pummelled late started the innings slowly as the Roos Boys picked up two early poles to have the opposition at 2/10 in the first 7 overs. The game from there meandered along as the bowlers toiled hard and Freo looked to consolidate by pushing 1s and 2s with two of the best at the crease. They had given some half chances of the pace bowlers but we couldn’t pick up the wicket. It was at the stage that the next option of spin proved important as we broke a 50 run partnership when Tarun “the better” Jessani broke through. At the 30 over mark scores were identical other than the fact that Freo had an extra wicket in hand and the competition’s leading batsman still at the crease.
Shortly after drinks, the key wicket fell as Matt and Tyler combined to have Freo at 4/75. The boys were confident but Freo still had some fight left. They started to counter attack and as the ball went in the air and fell between fielders frustration started to grow as Taz and Matt couldn’t get the rewards. With score moving along a little slower than liked, Freo had to take some more risks and eventually the 5th wicket stand was broken by Taz with score on 117 in the 46 over. Needing 80 runs in 13 overs the chatter about another GF grew stronger.
Matt And Taz both finished their spell and the ball got thrown back to Owen who picked up another wicket and at the other end Riley “I will toss ‘em up there” Gillespie picked up two wickets in his third over to leave Freo at 8/140 and only 6 overs remaining. Rhys then finished the match with two wickets in consecutive balls in the 55th over to wrap up great day.
The boys move to a Grand Final and are aiming to break a 10 year premiership drought for WDCC U15s. Our opponent will be strong Rockingham side but fortunately we have been drawn a home ground advantage for Saturday.
Good Luck boys and hopefully we can go one better than last year!