This week we will be ‘featuring’ (i.e. catching up) on some recent match reports from the winter Apaches teams. First up, this thrilla in Milperra…
SMCA Div 15 Round 2: 19 May 2019 vs The Ponds A at Milperra
Apaches all arrived on time to the distant realm of Milperra. A miracle in itself.
Ernie Schinella made a guest appearance and tried to break all our ribs with a hug in customary Ernie fashion. Anthony Cutajar also heeded the Apaches’ call.
We were greeted by a beautiful ground and an opposition (The Ponds) that had a tape measure out to ensure the boundaries were even on all sides. There was also a horse on the neighbouring field. This was no Moore Park 7.
A losing toss meant we had to bowl. In every match this year, Will Sammuri has struck in the first over of the innings, and Jeremy Holland in the first two of his spell. Immediately, however, we saw that the two batsmen at the crease were formidable in their watchfulness and defence. They could also punish a bad ball. However, Holland and Sammuri gave them nothing. Holland finished his spell producing many chances and on 0/18. Sammuri 0/8 off his six. The opening 12 overs were of McGrath-level tightness.
As has been our issue in past weeks, the middle overs weren’t all that flash. After the pressure eased off, runs flowed. Wheeler looked dangerous, but went 0/32 off 4. Tim Bykov (0/38 off 5) was uncharacteristic in bowling full tosses that were duly hit for 4s. Notice anything? That’s right. At this point in the match, not a single wicket has fallen. 0/87 at the break, The Ponds looked in control. After comfortably driving elegantly through the covers, the opposition number 3 was nicked off by the aptly-named Nick Surman (1/38 off 4), and finally, Apaches had their first wicket.
More of the same ensued, however. Schinella (2/43 off 6) was getting whacked, and Surman had begun to leak runs. Ernie made another breakthrough by bowling an opposition batsman. Another thanks to a miraculous, full-stretch slips catch. The umpire said he’d only ever seen a catch like that in KFC classic catches.
As the scoring had begun to accelerate, Cutajar (0/37 off 5) was called upon finish the overs. He bowled much better than the figures indicate. In all, Apaches only took 3 wickets for a whopping 220 runs.
The mood at the break was sombre. Not because of the cricket, but because of Grant and Ernie’s vitriolic rants against the Liberal party.
Wright and Cutajar opened the batting. In fashion contrary to what we know, John Wright was absolutely smashing it. He took a liking to the bowlers and retired on 40 having faced an estimated 22 balls.
Cutajar (33) was playing a glorious hand at the other end. A great lesson in punishing a bad ball. Schinella (3) was at 3, and was out caught at slip pushing the score. Same with Rohit Ketkar who was out for a duck caught at keeper. The run-rate was at 6 an over at the break, but it wasn’t enough, especially when Cutajar nicked on to slip. Wheeler (10) and Surman (15) tried to push the scoring. Grant caught at gully, and Nick run out of an excellent direct hit. Wheeler’s dismissal bought Sammuri to the crease.
The captain had forseen that some lower-order hitting was needed and therefore pushed himself down to 7 to see if he could hit the Apaches to victory. First ball of his innings he hit the ball straight down mid-on’s throat. Who dropped it. The reprieve was just what Sammuri needed, and he was sure to make the most of his chance when he smashed a ball to square leg. Who dropped it. Surely there’d be a third chance. He was giving it away!
But alas, from then on, Sammuri found the middle of the bat and with Holland (7), started to tick along. Holland was bowled by a pearler. Sammuri retired very quickly. Realising the best way to stop giving away chances was to not be at the crease. Bykov (2) entered the fray but hit one to mid off. Sammuri came back three balls after retiring, and just kept hitting. Along with the returning Wright, started making a push for an unlikely victory. Three towering 6s from Sammuri, and a flurry of singles from Wright. Saw the Apaches needing only 19 off three overs for victory.
Somehow, we’d clawed our way back. Another six by Sammuri and some hard running meant the total was 12 off 2 overs. Again, the skipper sent one high and long, but there was no third time lucky. He was caught for 70 on the boundary. It was all down to John Wright. A delectable late glide for 4 and some more hard running left 7 to chase off the final over. A leg glance trickled its way to the boundary. 3 off 5. That became 3 off 4. That became 3 off 3.
That became a famous VICTORY for the Apaches when John smacked a pull shot for 4, and the Apaches chased 220 with 2 balls and one wicket to spare. It was a match played in great spirits between the two sides.
The cool-headed John ended his innings unbeaten on 72*.
What. A. Player.
What. A. Match.
1st inns. – The Ponds A won toss and elected to bat
Ernie Schinella – 2/43 from 6 overs
Nick Surman – 1/38 from 4 overs
John Wright – 72*
Will Sammuri – 70