Moonee Valley Cricket Club

 

Premiership 1980/81

by

What a match; it had more twists and turns than the Great Ocean Road!

Chasing a modest target, Moonee Valley Second Eleven needed 33 runs from the last two wickets to secure victory in the C Grade Grand Final.

 

Bowlers Gary Irons and Robert Corollo stuck with skipper John Bentivoglio to bring home the flag! Contributions from Andy Walker, Marty Egan and Laurie Mayne all proved crucial to the team's success.

"Heads!" The voice of Moonee Valley skipper, John Bentivoglio called correctly and had no hesitation in sending the Keilor Park D Grade team in to bat. The confidence came after a comfortable home and away win during which Moonee Valley's left-arm strike bowler, Robert "Jumbo" Corollo had taken 4 wickets in the one 6 ball over.

The new ball was shared between Marty Egan. a young tearaway quick and. of course, the accurate and pacy Corollo. Pressure was applied by the skipper but the Keilor Park openers. Chatfield and Butterworth were up to the task. Chatfield was content to pick up the ones and twos and the young Butterworth was showing the poise that would make him an outstanding A-Grade cricketer in the years to come.

Immediately after the Parkers brought up an opening stand of 50, Johnny Bent brought on the reliable partnership breaker Gary Irons.  With just the third ball of his second over, GI beat Butterworth comprehensively and skipper Bentivoglio snapped up a sharp chance. One for 51!

The new batsman Booker came and went cheaply, compliments of a trademark outswinger by Irons that tilted back the top of off stump. Two for 58! The Valleys had a slight sniff of things to come.

Again, Keilor Park fought back. Chatfield and Sutton came together and were looking good. They inched the score up to 98 with neither team prepared to be the first to crack. Bentivoglio was able to maintain an attacking field due to the accurate bowling and desperate fielding. No sooner had Chatfield raised his bat to acknowledge a fine half-century than he was beaten by the intelligent bowling of Andy Walker. The faint edge was gleefully accepted behind the stumps by the safe hands of Greg Meyers. Three for 98!

Moonee Valley could sense that cracks were beginning to appear in the Parkers' batting. They attacked!

The pressure didn't take long to overwhelm the batting pair. A ridiculous call, a cool head under pressure and Bastas was run out for 2. Four for 102!

Immediately after this the ever-reliable Andy Walker held back a cleverly disguised slower ball and the danger man, Sutton, spooned the ball into the safe hands of Laurie Mayne at point. Five for 102!

Johnny Bent knew he had Keilor Park on the run and his attacking fields gave no batsman an easy opportunity to score. The bowlers and fieldsmen knew that, with the tail now exposed, they could be chasing only a small target.

They didn't have long to wait. The master deceiver. Gary Irons, bowled his 'knuckle-ball'. Burke had no idea and pushed the ball straight back to GI. He just doesn't drop them like that. Six for 120!

The afternoon wore on and skipper, Bentivoglio turned to the cagey Laurie Mayne. He didn't have to wait long. A lofted cut shot that was far too close to his body saw the end of a defiant knock by Robinson. Out caught in the gully by Steve Neville for a well made 24. Laurie Mayne had struck. Seven for 130!

Keilor Park must have wondered what had happened to their fine start to the match. Worse was to come Dave 'Swooper' Talbot lived up to his name as he hared in from cover, picked up cleanly and threw the stumps down at the bowler's end to have the shell-shocked, Isaac just short of his ground. Eight for 132!

The Valleys were in for the kill. With the ball again in the hands of the great Gary Irons, Wyllie was never comfortable. GI put him out of his misery, compliments of his partner in crime, keeper Greg Meyers. Nine for 133!

Surely the end would be swift. But the Harvey family had other ideas. Father, Paul and his son Mark, the future Essendon football premiership player, were not to be denied. They weathered the challenges, absorbed the pressure and slowly began to counter-attack. Broad, confident grins gave way to glances of despair. The senior players tried to keep the Valleys focused and the total in perspective, but still the score mounted.

With the total on 160, Bent looked to the wicket-taking ability of Andy Walker. Walker didn't let him down. A diving catch by Jumbo Corollo at mid-wicket signalled the end of the Keilor Park batting. All out for 160!

A moderate total and surely in the range that skipper Bentivoglio would have been hoping for when he sent the Parkers in to bat but in the minds of many, far more that it could have been.

So, it was with mixed feelings that openers, Egan and Neville, made their way to the centre of the Moomba Park oval to commence the chase.

The agonising wait had begun!!

A young and fired-up Mark Harvey bowled with fearsome pace and soon had both batsmen playing and missing. But as is so often the case in big games, the openers slowly began to find the middle of their bats.

With some clever deflections and intelligent running the total crept to 28. Steve Neville was the first to go. A leading edge to point saw him caught for 15 off the bowling of Wyllie.

The expectant crowd acknowledged a slow but steady start. They were soon sent reeling as Charlie Distefano was beautifully stumped, again off the bowling of Wyllie, just one run later. Trouble at two for 29!

Andy Walker strode to the crease and immediately moved confidently on to 8, before he too was beaten by the swing of Wyllie and nicked it straight to second slip. Against the flow of play the Valleys had slumped to three for 37. Wyllie had all three and looked set to run through the shaken Moonee Valley batting.

160 seemed a long way away as the clearly determined Greg Meyers made his way to the wicket. An inside edge back onto leg stump cut short Meyers innings and the triumphant Keilor Park offered Meyers advice as to the quickest way back to the pavilion and some further advice as to what he should do when he got there. This was anatomically impossible and did nothing but serve to strengthen the resolve of the rest of the team.

At four for 48, the batting team was under enormous pressure. Mick Blangiardo, fresh from some solid scores added to the woes as he was snapped up at bat-pad off the bowling of Bastas. Bastas now had the last two wickets to fall and was proving to be a real headache for the Valleys. At five for 50, Moonee Valley was in dire straits. The wiser heads in the growing crowd were beginning to sense the importance of the Marty Egan innings. He had stood resolutely through this testing period and now carried the hopes of his club on his anything but broad shoulders. Throughout the innings to date, Moonee Valley had failed to put together a partnership of any real note. Still with a solid batting line-up all was not lost.

Enter Laurie Mayne. The experienced batsman showed his class and technique, playing every shot in the book. Again the pendulum began to swing in favor of the boys from Ormond Park. With the score on 101, a tiring Egan played over the top of a delivery by Bastas and was bowled for a defiant and disciplined 30. His innings showed maturity and great determination. Marty was warmly acknowledged by all as he left the ground. At six for 101, the countdown began.

From the moment John Bentivoglio joined the aggressive Mayne, it became clear that he was there for the long haul. These two classy players appeared destined to carry the Valleys across the line.

Fate again twisted the knife. With the score on 123, Laurie Mayne played inside a delivery by Paul Harvey and was deftly caught at first slip. Thirty-eight runs to get!

Dave 'Swooper' Talbot entered the cauldron. When he was out caught behind off Burke for just three, the hopes of a Valley victory began to slide. Eight for 128 and real trouble. 33 runs to get. No-one in the crowd dared move and heart rates were well into the 150s. The laconic Gary Irons walked to the wicket to join his skipper and offer him the support he was desperately searching for.

GI knew that the game had to be won; there was no point in fiddling around and just occupying the crease. He blasted 17 of the next 21 runs (including a towering six over long-on). Surely now the game and premiership belonged to the boys in the black and white hooped caps.

Mark Harvey came back into the attack and with brute speed blasted through the defences of GI. This wicked match had again swung in the favor of the Parkers. Nine out for 149. The Valleys needed 12 runs and Keilor Park just the one wicket.

A single ball could now dash the dreams of the gallant skipper. 'Jumbo' Corollo was not in the team for his batting, but as he took guard he knew that this was going to be the innings of his life.

The score crept slowly along and each time one of the batsmen played and missed a groan escaped the throats of all at the ground. As the skipper, Johnny Bentivoglio, turned the ball behind square to equal the scores, he had almost delivered the flag into the hands of his team-mates. That honor was left to Jumbo.

There was no finesse about it; he slogged the ball high and hard over the mid-wicket fieldsman's head and even before it had crossed the boundary on the second bounce, he was congratulating his skipper and turning to welcome his jubilant team as they streamed onto the ground.

John Bentivoglio had played one of those rare innings we sometimes call a "captain's knock". He remained 17 not out and Corollo, 8 not out.

What a match; it had more twists and turns than the Great Ocean Road. The contributions of Gary Irons with the bat and ball, Andy Walker with the ball, Marty Egan, Laurie Mayne and John Bentivoglio with the bat all proved crucial to the team's success.

Every player felt a part of this nerve-wracking win as they had all contributed in one way or another. They had defeated a talented, determined and defiant Keilor Park, to take out the EBKCA D Grade Premiership for 1980/81.

The party went on and on!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 26, 2005
 

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