Weblin Shield round 5 – ELS Hall Oval
Manly-Warringah 5-180 (Barnett 60*, Jones 37, Lucius 21) defeated Northern District 9-156 (Dunne 4-26, Melville 1-13, Dunnachie 1-32, Barnett 1-7)
One lousy run.
In the end, that’s how close the boys came to capping off a spirited fightback by claiming a quarter-final berth.
Heading into Sunday’s final round against Northern District, we needed a few things to go our way to reach the last eight.
Beating Northern District on their home patch – patch being the operative word given the state of the outfield in places – was non-negotiable.
We then had to hope results elsewhere went our way, with the ACT v South Eastern the biggie.
More on that later.
Winning the toss and batting first against NDs, we again struggled to get off to a good start.
Both openers were gone by the 10th over with just 22 runs on the board (if there was one).
Sam Barnett and Oscar Lucius went about rebuilding the innings, putting on 44 for the third wicket before Oscar fell caught and bowled on 21.
Sam Jones joined Barney and started to give us some real impetus.
Jonesy thumped six fours in an entertaining knock of 37, holing out to deep cover trying to add to his boundary tally.
From 3-66, the two Sams had taken us to 4-135.
Pinch hitter Evan Dunnachie was sent in with orders to keep the momentum going and did as asked.
His piled on a quickfire 15 before exiting and Matt Priest did likewise, compiling an undefeated 11 is as many balls.
All the while Barney remained rock solid at the other end.
His undefeated 60 was a real gem, aggression mixed with sound placement and patience.
His innings was the foundation block for a season-high score of 5-180 at the end of the 50 overs.
Sam Dunne got things going for us with the ball, taking two wickets in successive balls to leave our hosts 2-16.
When Ollie Melville struck with just his second ball, NDs were on the ropes at 3-16.
But to their credit, they then dug in and made life a little bit more difficult.
They lost their next wicket on 58 and their fifth on 92 – the first a run out, the second a catch from Barney’s bowling – to give us something to think about.
But when Dunney came back on to trap their top scorer lbw, it looked all over at 6-94.
Once again our struggles to clean up the tail reared its head and the game drifted dangerously out of control for a while.
With some members of the ND coaching and supporter base screaming at the umpires to police front-foot no balls – no, we’re not exaggerating – the home side edged past 100 and within sight of the target.
But once we dried up the run rate and started taking wickets again, there was only going to be one winner.
Dunney took his fourth wicket and Evan and Josh picked up one apiece to leave NDs 9-156 after 50 overs.
As the NDs coach madly remonstrated with the umpires (showing photographic “evidence” of alleged no balls), we awaited word from the ACT v Sth Eastern clash.
Chasing 152 for a win that would catapult Manly into the finals, ACT got the target down to 10 runs form 10 balls.
Then it was six from six…three from three…and then two from the last ball.
Finally, word came through from the nation’s capital – a bloody tie.
ACT’s No.7 was run out going for the second – potentially match-winning – run.
A tie was a bad as a loss for us, with South Eastern sneaking through on quotient despite winning just two games to our three.
So our campaign ended with three wins, a last-ball loss and a defeat to the No.1 ranked side, ACT.
Given this side featured five new faces – Evan, Dunney, Lachy Trewartha, Joe O’Brien and Luke Richardson – it was a more than noteworthy season.
All five boys made significant contributions throughout the five games and grew with each game.
The ‘old heads’ – Oscar, Barney, Jonesy, Josh, Luke Morley, Priesty and Ollie – all had their moments and can be proud of their efforts.
They team began the season as 11 individuals but were a united and cohesive team by the end of the five weeks.
Thanks to Phil, Dawesy and Smellsy for the time and effort put in on game day and twice weekly training sessions.
Jon Priest filled the big shoes of Richard Gabila as our new manager and didn’t miss a beat.
Thanks also to the army of scorers, lunch suppliers, taxi drivers and support crew.