The season has come to an end……albeit two weeks ago courtesy of you know what, The Corona Virus. With the Sheffield Shield canceling the season with one more round remaining before the finals, it was within Cricket Australia’s wisdom to request that all local competitions also come to a halt.
Given that C1s missed out on the top four having lost the last two matches, we don’t feel bad after all. In the normal circumstances, we would naturally be very disappointed considering it was not long ago that we were sitting in the third spot on the ladder. On the other hand, the boys who were part of the As and Bs and the LO1 sides that qualified, they would have been hard done by. The As (having finished second courtesy of a defeat to Marion in a reduced match at the front oval of PAC as well) as LO1s (who had defeated the minor premiers Flinders Uni captained and coached by Naveen Vinod) will undoubtedly be more disappointed compared to the Bs who finished minor premiers without dropping a single match.
From a club perspective, the fact that they’re able to field six teams every weekend itself an achievement, ensuring that the decision to register one more side at the start of the season paid off. To top it off, the club also fielded five T20s teams of all made it to the semi-finals with the side full of the PAOC football club members coming up trumps. So two premierships make a successful season, I suppose.
From a personal perspective, it also makes my decision to switch to this club from Adelaide University a perfect one. I was surrounded by outstanding people who backed me to give my best even when I felt I got conflicting advice with regards to my game (for the record, I’m not having a go at anyone. They have perfect intentions by advising me to help me). In the end, I have to accept what they say and see whether that will work for me moving forward. Only one’s self can understand their own game better than anyone.
I actually can’t summarise how I really went this season. At times, I was doing reasonably well, sometimes it hasn’t worked out so well. All I could say is that when the opportunity really presented itself to contribute with bat or ball, I managed to do so from time to time.
Before the Christmas/New Year break, I have been getting wickets every game only to manage a solitary scalp after that. I put it down to getting more overs, especially in the two-day matches where I was able to dry up the runs, which allowed Maxy to run through the batting line-ups in a flash. It was no wonder he finished with 35 wickets at an average of just below 12. My performances included with season-best figures of 3/15 off 8 overs against Golden Grove, 2/7 off 11 overs against Brighton. I was back to my restrictive best in the last two matches, but I started to have second spell syndrome when I was up against well-set batters. That aside, 12 wickets isn’t really a bad season with the ball considering I only went for about 2.45 runs per over. Perhaps my tidiest season ever.
With regards to the batting, I wished (perhaps a bit far-fetched) to come good. But even though I was batting within the lower order, I managed to contribute where I could. In the second half of the season, I managed to reach double figures and share some useful partnerships. Against Golden Grove, I made 12 not out and shared two critical partnerships that proved to be the difference between them and us. I had added 30 with Gary Branford before adding an unbeaten 27 with Maxy. Both helped us to bat 72 overs and post a match-winning score. Then I had shared the highest partnership of our forgettable Performance against Gepps Cross as I added 37 with Matt Dickson, contributing 13 but felt in control until I was out LBW after being hit on the toe.
Those performances aside, they do not overshadow my most excellent match ever against Athelstone, which I shall look back with relish in the future. Let me summarise what had happened. I came in at 6/72 and looked comfortable, having made the conscious decision to bat outside my crease to help me get forward. I had moved to 18 or so when we lost our 8th wicket on Nelson (111). Then I added 70 odd runs with Daniel Mosey on either side of me going off for cramps.
As a result, I finished unbeaten on 67, having faced 113 balls and resisted for about two hours, hitting ten fours and a six. Reading Maxy’s match report later in the season, his piece included a comment about my knock “Class, poise, and dexterity summed up his innings.” Without that kind of innings, we would have been in the shits. Instead, we posted 188. Game on.
The following week, Athelstone had added 61 before Maxy’s five-wicket bag ensured a win for us even if it took a bit longer than we expected. I also chipped in with two vital wickets while only going for exactly two an over throughout my 17 over spell. Firstly, Rocco Canino, who fell for the three-card trick (outswinger, outswinger, inswinger) that the likes of Malcolm Marshall and Martin Bicknell have pulled off. The ball went behind Rocco’s legs to hit his middle stump. Then I bowled a slower ball that trapped Lovely Mittal LBW just as he was about to get going following a couple of early blows to the fence.
Basically, 67 not out and 2/34 from 17 overs against Athelstone was no doubt my best Performance of the summer and perhaps my best ever. Nothing might be able to top that ever.
In a way, progress has been made with both bat and ball. I just need to trust the techniques that I’d developed over time while also making sure I strengthen my retractable shoulders that will improve my ‘preparation’ phase, whether it’s lifting the bat or bowling/throwing the ball. I also should be giving focus to my fielding where I can. Mainly making sure my footwork is right to take a catch or to throw the ball. In saying that, taking three high-ball catches during the season is a massive improvement compared to my nightmare that started last year’s pre-season.
Moving forward, it’s just a matter of working on my fitness ahead of the next pre-season. Now made it harder with the gym closed as we try to stop the spread of the virus. Instead, I’m confined to bodyweight training at home and weather permitting, cycling/running. I’ve managed to start a couple of programs created by Garrick Morgan and Rob Chipchase (a former teammate of mine) from AP3X Performance. So far, I’ve found them to be very useful, which could improve my weight lifting ability once the gym reopens.