Manly 6/200 (Jack Melchiore 103*, Liam Dinan 23) def Northern Districts 62 (Luka Vajdic 4/9, Ethan Joseph 2/6)
After losing our first two games in relatively close encounters, we knew we were very close to a victory, but even the most optimistic of Manly supporters could not have predicted the comprehensive manner in which that victory would play out.
Arriving at ELS Hall in Marsfield we were confronted by a patchy outfield, a shorter than usual square boundary on one side and, on the other, one that required a couple of days in the saddle to reach. We were also informed that the umpire was not going to show. Things started to look up though when the Northern Districts skipper won the toss and elected to bowl on what looked to be a batsman’s dream of a pitch.
The absence of an official umpire shouldn’t ordinarily pose too many problems, but unfortunately in just the third over of the day James Waddington was given out lbw after the ball deflected off his thigh pad and the bowler had stifled his own appeal for caught behind. Two further dubious lbw’s were given by the same umpire later in the innings, but fortunately did not influence the result. James’s departure saw Jack Melchiore stride to the crease and set about compiling a fantastic century. Jack batted through the innings from the third over of the day in hot conditions, demonstrating fantastic stamina. Due to the lopsided nature of the boundaries, Jack’s total of 103* included only seven 4’s and one 6, leaving 69 laps of the pitch to make up the rest. Based on his running efforts at training we weren’t sure Jack had it in him, but he did and the standing ovation as he reached his century in the final over was only fitting. Jack’s innings demonstrated great patience as wickets periodically fell at the other end and he constantly consolidated and ensured he saw things through for the side.
Jack was ably supported by Liam Dinan, who also looked like he’d be able to go on and make a big score, only to attempt a single even Usain Bolt would have struggled to make, and be run out for 23. Nick Raymond landed some cracking blows to the shorter boundary, but was also run out just as he was getting going. The running between the wickets was the one blight on an otherwise flawless performance for the day.
With some handy late support from Callum McKay, Jack pushed our total to 200, and based on Northern Districts’ prior performances we suspected they would have difficulty chasing it down. Complacency was the greatest threat.
Callum and Liam opened the bowling with the same intensity as always, and a sharp catch at short mid-on by Tom Edmunds saw Northern Districts lose their first wicket, and with the score at 1/8 after 10 overs it was clear they were not going to threaten our total, but we may be in for a long, slow afternoon. Callum saw the opportunity to change things up and introduced the off spinners of Luka Vajdic at first change. The move had immediate effect. Luka bowled the other opener through the gate and then removed Northern Districts’ best bat at caught at first slip by Jack. In all Luka bowled 7 overs and took 4/9 in a fantastic display of well-flighted off spin.
Ben Cook picked up a wicket, courtesy of a sharp catch by Adam Greenwood, and Corey Calvert effected a run out with a bullet-like return from the outfield. It was really pleasing to see Ethan Joseph pick up his first rep wickets. Ethan has been bowling well without luck in the previous games, but this was to be his day and he picked up 2/6, one the result of a great diving catch by Callum. With Northern Districts having slumped to 9/51, Callum tossed the ball to Adam Greenwood and Corey Calvert, two of our batsmen who don’t ordinarily get a chance to bowl and, as I’m sure we’re going to hear replayed over and again, Adam actually took a wicket.
Lincoln Waller wrapped things up clean bowling the last of the Northern Districts batsman, and finishing off a comprehensive victory for the boys from Manly. Next week we have the NWS Hurricanes at home. They will be considerably tougher than Northern Districts, but if the boys can reproduce the focus and intensity they showed in this game there should be another victory on the way.
Thanks to Claire Vajdic and Kate Waddington for scoring, Rob Melchiore for umpiring and all the other parents for their support of the boys from the hill.