It was probably more to do with it being the opening game of the season, but the ball dominated the bat until Euroa’s Michael Seach and Chris Burke dug their team out of a black hole, giving Euroa Cricket Club a hard earned win.
Warranbayne won the toss and chose to bat on a wicket which, it was thought, would be slow, giving more aid to batsmen. How wrong this proved to be. In the third over Euroa’s Ben Milliken broke through with two yorkers that bent back the middle stump. Steven Sandford added to Warrenbayne’s woes. After 4 overs Euroa were on top after taking 3 for 12.
This brought the Warrenbayne skipper to the crease - Ben Fahey- a highly regarded bat who immediately stamped his authority with 3 fours. Warrenbayne set about rebuilding their innings until Fahey, unaccountably, tried once too often to go over the top and skied the ball to Chris Burke. Immediately Matthew Kirkwood and Steven Sandford chipped in for wickets.
But this session belonged to Milliken. Twice more he sent the middle stump back!! His fifth wicket came after hitting middle and off. He finished with 5 for 14 from just 6 overs. Warrenbayne lost their final 5 wickets for just 14 runs, ending with 81 from 22 overs. That’s how you finish the tail.
Euroa held their catches. Jacob Gleeson, on the boundary, performed a juggling act to hold the ball from a full blooded hook. Chris Burke’s catch came from a ball that seemed to take forever to come out of the sky. Yet Matt Walker’s leap high to his right to catch in his left hand ( the right was damaged) a full blooded drive will be the catch of the season.
Euroa’s top order has 3 new bats, Rick Maplestone, Andrew Squires and Matthew Kirkwood, all highly credentialled. Yet after just two overs Maplestone and Squires were back in the pavilion along with Vice Captain Matt Walker. Kirkwood soon followed. Warrenbayne were ecstatic, Euroa supporters had heads lowered – 4 for 11 after just 7 overs! The figure 82 seemed a much tougher target. One wonders what Michael Seach was thinking, standing at the other end watching the carnage.
Chris Burke took strike facing a ring of fieldsmen all expecting total collapse. Yet Seach and Burke clawed the club out of the hole. The next 8 overs produced just 11 runs. Importantly there were no chances. Slowly Seach took a dominant role. Burke was happy to hold up his end. At drinks Euroa were 4 for 43 from 20 overs.
After drinks the tone of the game changed. Warrenbayne fumbled while Seach had little trouble driving powerfully straight down the ground. Burke produced some classic, effortless cuts to the boundary. The required runs came in just 9 overs.
The game leaves questions still to be answered about how the team will perform this year. Our bowling, led by Captain Milliken, will again provide opponents with little respite. Milliken is the best strike bowler in the competition -“on a hard wicket he will be frightening!” Sandford provides variety with his swing and movement off the wicket. Kirkwood and Squires are medium pace, but accurate and importantly, thinkers. We can expect Nat Symes to trouble bats with his off spin. This team was without promising quick Brad Gleeson, who is undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his ankle.
The top order collapse could be interpreted that little has changed from last year. Yet such events happen in the game. Andrew Squires is regarded as the best bat in the competition. Matt Kirkwood hails form Albury and has batted at number 3 in their Association’s representative team and Rick Maplestone, while being absent from the game for a year, has District experience. The runs will come.
Second Eleven - Benalla forfeit to Euroa.
What a great disappointment. The club was informed Benalla could not find the numbers. Oh well, at least we get the six points!
1st Eleven. One day game – the local derby against Violet Town at Euroa.
The ground is lush, a joy to field on. The wicket will be hard. For a number of years Violet Town have been just too good - a fact Euroa is only too aware of. The knowledge this game was happening so early in the season has been simmering away. Bring it on!!
2nd Eleven. One day game against Merton
The season opener will be played at the MCG - Merton Cricket Ground.
3rd Eleven and U17s
Their first game is still a week away on October 24th.