Manly Warringah 9/145 (J Cooper 34, J Braund 28, B O’Brien 17, M May 14) defeated by Newcastle 2/149
The old saying of “catches win matches” was never truer in Manly’s loss to Newcastle at Smith Park in Newcastle.
Newcastle have pinned their success this season on two strong batters, and three missed catching opportunities saw those two batters make Manly pay for their mistakes.
Manly batted first and on a quick outfield, the team didn’t quite get the total hoped for, scrambling to 9/145. To defend this, the boys needed to be focused for every ball, but unfortunately lapses in concentration saw Newcastle hit the winning runs in just the 31st over.
Whether it was the two-hour trip up north, or complacency as the team knew they were already in the finals, the boys lacked intensity and urgency.
There were some hopeful signs during Manly’s innings with openers Keelan Mendel and Josh Cooper seeing out 12 overs together and Joey Braund, Billy O’Brien and Milo May all getting starts, but anytime a partnership started to develop, a wicket fell.
In the end, at least 60 runs were left out on the field as bad balls were not punished.
With the ball, Manly started well, restricting Newcastle to just 22 runs off the first 10 overs. This pressure drew a bad call between the openers and Harrison O’Brien and Toby Mallon combined for a smart run out.
The Newcastle no. 3 came to the wicket with the intention of playing his strokes, but whilst still in single figures, Harrison had him edging. Unfortunately, the slips catch was missed – life number one.
With the score on 50, the Newcastle batters took on the arm of Joey Braund as they pushed for a second run. A bad decision, as Joey threw strong and straight to Toby who neatly completed the run out.
Newcastle’s best batters were now together at the crease and they looked confident.
Luke Emery was brought into the attack with the instruction of bowling fast and full…and that’s exactly what he did. He drew the Newcastle no. 3 into another edge but the catch behind was unable to be taken – life number two.
Not long after, the Newcastle no. 4 was given a life, with a skied chance missed at fine leg.
The two batters went on to record an unbroken 99 run partnership by defending the good balls and dispatching the bad balls.
For his tight bowling spell, Luke was given the Guzman y Gomez Best Performance Award.
Three wins, one draw and one loss, means Manly play away to Hawkesbury in a knock out quarter final this coming Sunday.