Moonee Valley Cricket Club

 

Premiership 2006/07 Under 16

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U16Premiership07 520pix

Pictured above celebrating the Under 16 win at Airport West's Hansen Reserve are (from left) Back - co-captain Joe Van Loon, Tanya Intagliata, Ewan Greenfield, James Miller, co-captain Chris Stafford, Joe Carroll, Marcus Amad, Bede Gannon and Dario Zaccari. Front - Frank Bonfa, Mick Bannister, Justin Lumsden, Jacob de Niese and Tom Ward.

Cutting it fine but coming good at the right time

Moonee Valley’s Under 16s may have just scraped into the finals, but the team then played devastating cricket to power to the 2006/07 Premiership. If we’d shown that form throughout the season, we would not have dropped a game.

By most indicators, Moonee Valley’s Under 16s were extremely lucky to make the C Grade finals.

After some patchy performances during the season we were sitting sixth leading up to the last round, equal on points with the two teams above us. We backed ourselves to beat fourth-placed East Keilor, but thought lowly Avondale Heights was a rank outsider to topple fifth-placed Westmeadows. Then weather intervened, and a first-day washout left the final round a one-day contest.

We completed our part of the bargain, thumping East Keilor for 45 in 21.2 overs and then coasting past them in 12 overs.

Avondale then gave us a last-gasp passage to the last spot in the finals by beating Westies.

Due to the vagaries of the fixture, we played Sydenham-Hillside three times during the season, and lost each time. And we had them up at their home ground again in the Semi Final. We’d learned well from our previous encounters, bundling them out for 90 and then winning our ticket to the Grand Final by passing them with just one wicket down.

We were at Airport West’s Hansen Reserve for the three-day Grand Final, against second-placed Tullamarine.

Co-captains Joe Van Loon and Chris Stafford won the toss, and elected to bat.

We sprung our first surprise of the final by elevating Jake de Niese to open the batting with Bede Gannon, and it certainly paid off. Jake stuck to his task for 19 overs to provide a sheet-anchor to the first part of the innings, and withstood some lively bowling.

Bede fell early to a brilliant inswinger, Chris Stafford was unlucky to be given out to a ball which flicked his pads, and Joe Van Loon came up short going for a second run.

When Jake fell with the score on 47, Tom Ward came to the crease to join Joe Carroll and steady down the innings.

We started to push the run rate, then Tom was bowled for 18 (5/76) and Ewan Greenfield was run out for 12 (6/95). When Justin Lumsden was beaten by a ball that just clipped the bails, we were in a bit of trouble at 7/101 in the 30th over.

Enter Mick Bannister, to join Joe Carroll. These two guys knew what had to be done to get things back on track, after Moonee Valley looked like being rolled out for just over 100.

Placing great value on their wickets, and with some excellent running, Joe and Mick started to rattle the Tulla boys. Joe Carroll deservedly brought up his half-century – his highest junior cricket score – before being bowled for 53 with the score on 142.

Mick then combined with James Miller and Frank Bonfa, and was not out on 16 at the end when our innings finished on 166.

It was a patchy innings for Moonee Valley, but magnificently bookended by Jake de Niese and Mick Bannister, and with a great middle order half century from Joe Carroll.

Tullamarine negotiated the two overs remaining in the day to be a cautious 0/2 overnight.

They were similarly cautious on the Sunday, but then began to open up a bit when they saw off the six overs each from our opening bowlers, Tom Ward and Chris Stafford.

That had been the next masterstroke from our captains. Ewan Greenfield had opened the bowling for most of the season – but was held back to the fifth man with the ball, while Chris had first crack.

Our first change bowlers were Joe Van Loon and the dangerous late-swinging Bede Gannon.

We had a bit of drama in the field, with keeper Joe Carroll copping a nasty crack on the side of the knee and having to be helped off the ground. Tom Ward took the gloves.

Tulla’s openers began to hit out, but Joe then grabbed the first scalp, courtesy of a sharp caught-and-bowled.

Their dangerous Palmer had already helped himself to five runs from Bede’s fifth over, but lashed out once too often with the score on 1/68. He got an edge off the last ball through to Wardie behind the stumps. Gone for 43!

Joe’s next over was a maiden, and then Bede struck again, with Tulla’s other big scorer Sinnott lofting a ball to mid wicket where Marcus Amad took a great catch running away. The score was now 3/69.

Justin Lumsden became third man behind the stumps as Tom Ward came back into the attack. While most of us were expecting Chris Stafford to also return, the master-stroke of Ewan Greenfield as fifth man in came into play.

Tom Ward put himself on a hat-trick when he bowled the No. 4 and No. 6 batsman in his first over back, and Tullamarine was in a bit of strife on 5/69 – with the addition of just a leg bye.

Ewan then took wickets with his first two balls to give himself the chance of a hat-trick as well. The next batsman then lofted Ewan over his head for four. Then two more wickets. Then a dot ball. The score was 9/73.

We then saw a maiden from Tom Ward with four byes added to the score, a maiden from Ewan and the end of the innings with the first ball of Tom’s next over.

Tulla had lost an incredible 9/9 to slump from 1/68 to 77 all out in 29 overs. There was just the one scoring shot for the loss of the nine wickets – the slap over Ewan’s head. The rest of the total were extras.

We had broken the back of Tullamarine with a devastating spell of bowling – Bede getting the crucial breakthroughs, and then Tom and Ewan fast, furious and virtually unplayable, attacking the stumps.

It was the epitome of our game plan – bowl in pairs, and hunt as a pack with both bowlers and fieldsmen. And it worked again for us for the third game in a row – first East Keilor, then Sydenham-Hillside, and now Tullamarine in the game that counted.

We had secured first innings points, but the game was still just past half over. Cricket is a funny game, and there were around 70 overs still for Tullamarine to strike back.

We threw Tulla off track again by reverting to our more traditional batting line-up – opening with Chris Stafford and Tom Ward for the 19 overs left in the day.

They crawled along at just one run an over for the first dozen overs, seeing off some fierce bowling. But with the change of bowlers, Chris cut loose against Sinnott. We clubbed 36 runs off four Sinnott overs, and ended the day’s play on 0/52, with Stafford on 33 and Ward an anchor role on 7.

We carried a lead of 141 runs forward to the following Saturday, with a first innings result and all 10 wickets in hand.

And Friday night it rained. And Saturday morning.

We arrived at Airport West, and it was still raining lightly. The outfield was fine, but the carpet on the pitch was sodden and there were a couple of puddles at one end. The run-ups were like ice rinks.

Coach Charlie Walker went out to inspect the pitch with Tulla, and the verdict was not good. Pitch saturated, run-ups wrecked and rain still falling.

The Tulla team and officials then went into a huddle as the Moonee Valley team gathered in the sheds. Tulla then consulted the two umpires, and both groups then came across to us.

The day’s play was washed out. As we already had first innings points, the game could not go into the reserve day, and so Tullamarine conceded. Moonee Valley had won its first Under 16 Premiership – 166 & 0/52 def Tulla 77.

The result was a bit of an anti-climax. We had done the hard work last weekend, and had planned to fight tough today to ensure we didn’t give Tulla a sniff. In the end it was the weather – not Moonee Valley – which had prevented that sniff.

The way it wound up was not exciting. But it was satisfying, and a just reward for a top bunch of young men (and woman).

Moonee Valley’s Premiership team was Joe Van Loon, Chris Stafford, Marcus Amad, Mick Bannister, Frank Bonfa, Joe Carroll, Jake de Niese, Bede Gannon, Ewan Greenfield, Tanya Intagliata, Justin Lumsden, James Miller, Tom Ward and Dario Zaccari.

It had been somewhat of a foreign legion team for the season, as co-captains Chris and Joe did some clever recruiting of players who were with other clubs or who had dropped out of cricket. Of our 14, we got Amad back from Aberfeldie, Ward and de Niese came across from West Coburg, and Carroll came from Doutta Stars. Back playing a cricket after a year out were Miller from Flemington and Greenfield from Kensington Juniors.

It was a great result, and a terrific springboard for the players who graduate into senior cricket.

 

 

 

 

 

March 30, 2007
 

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