DAY 1 What a game it was! Akash Dogra started early, heading over to Johor Bahru at 1am to arrive in good time! The rest of us went early on Saturday morning with an easy drive across the Causeway.
Drew Norris won the toss. Being unfamiliar with the Johor Bahru wicket put us at a slight disadvantage, so we chose to bat. The field was slippery, but we didn’t know it would be a sticky, low-scoring wicket, and that the Jolly Wallabies (JW) had their “fab 4” bowlers all ready.
Akash and Andrew Eagan stuck to their guns with a very good opening partnership. Thirty-seven off 13 overs it was looking good, but then there was a collapse. The openers visited each other in the shed within two balls and others joined them quickly. By the 18th over we fell to 4-57.
Constant wickets falling, the innings fell to a nervous Dheeraj Bhardwaj and Nathan (Nate) Whitehall to save the day. Maybe Nate had an unfair advantage being British and using ‘slow and low’, but he demonstrated the right way to play. Dheeraj fretted his way to an innings saving 26 off a whopping 93 balls. At the end of the 50th over, ANZA was all out for 120 and we didn’t lose the test in the first three hours!
The Jolly Wallabies top order rode their luck and had several good 30-odd run partnerships. At the end of the first day, they were 6-142 (40 overs) and looking to return the next day and grind ANZA into the ground. It could have been worse but a youthful Anton Padar bamboozled with his spin, and Dheeraj chipped in with very accurate on-the-stumps bowling and wickets in the last hour.
The first day was well skippered by Drew, but with 5-6 dropped catches, you’re never going to get a performance bonus. His taxi arrived as play stopped, and he hadn’t even cracked open a Tiger!
Day 2 saw Dave Vu take over as skipper. Flying blind, he was given a bunch of old, opinionated, hungover men to manage, and a game that was threatening to get away. To ANZA’s credit, Dheeraj continued picking up wickets. The JW’s finished after 50.4 overs on 167, a lead of 47 which was below expectations.
During 2nd innings, ANZA had to bat well. Our confidence didn’t last long. Another collapse and we were 4 down when we wiped off the 47-run lead. Luckily Sandesh Gavade, who got a peach in the first innings, wasn’t having any of it. With his wristy cut shots and flips around the corner, he went to save the innings. Falling in the last few balls before lunch, Sandesh scored a quick 66 off 47. With a 60-run lead and 5 down, the game was back on!
By now we knew a 120 lead would be enough. However, another collapse and we quickly got down to the last pair: Aman Juneja and Dheeraj. Aman batted excellently for his 19 off 17, and Dheeraj added a few. The last wicket partnership of 20 was invaluable, but with only a 90-run lead after two innings, we left ourselves short.
The Jolly Wallabies came to bat and started poorly with 1-3 after the first over. There was some good bowling from Dheeraj, Aman, and Sandesh, but it all came down to fielding as JW nerves became ours. Ayush, visiting Aman from India, showed commitment with a brilliant face plant. Anton, adamant he wouldn’t get a catch, caught the first wicket and later a screamer on the boundary. Racing across the outfield, like a streaker running for his life, he snatched at the ball full throttle and held it just like a baby.
Ben Frost kept well and made everyone take note when he flipped a wide-ish return, MS Dhoni style, behind his back and into the off stump, taking JW’s third last batsman out. This led to their second-last batsman coming out with scores tied. The final single was knocked and JW only just won the match.
Gav goes for it!
When you’re 4-12 after 5 overs and in a hole, you don’t expect the next batsman to walk in and play a tune, but Gavin Parker does not do it any other way. Wham, Bam, Ooof, Booooom, Grunt and Ka Ching! 69 Balls, 11-4’s, 8-6’s, and not many runs, his total hit of 111 was the biggest single-handed innings this year. ANZA amassed 264 innings, Tuskers 189 in reply. Great work, Gav!
SCC Youth Development
As yet, ANZA doesn’t run a junior team, but Singapore Cricket Club offers a youth development programme for kids aged 5-10. With a variety of sessions running weekends and mid-week, the Cubs Cricket environment is “all about fun and enjoyment through our brilliant game.” To find out more contact David Bennett at JuniorCricket@scccricket.com