1st Grade - LC 7/234(cc) defeated North West Sydney 100

Lane Cove 7/234 (R Blood 58, G Hunt 36, S Nicholls 31, R Ravi 31)
North West Sydney 100 (R Ravi 4/18, S Nicholls 3/13, L O'Hare 2/26)

With the new year treating us to anaemic skies and the drive out to NWS, things were off to a rocky start despite being sent in on batting friendly conditions as Rhino fell early, though he soon found solace in registering perhaps the first duck of the new decade in Shires Cricket. Naughto joined GI out in the middle and stayed true to his own advice of playing straight, driving the ball back into the other set of stumps on multiple occasions. The pair kept the scoreboard ticking along, but both soon fell victim to getting a start and not going on with it. Robbie Blood was joined by Ravi, and despite a few hairy moments between the wickets with Ravi seemingly mute and missing his Zimmer frame, the pair put on 58 before Ravi was undone. Another 50 partnership followed between Robbie and Dindy, though the two fell in quick succession not long after Robbie brought up a half-century of his own. Snicholls and Dodds continued to punish NWS, and despite their best attempts at seeing out the last two overs, we ended up on 7/234.

With the bonus point target set at bowling them out for 140, Scarcella seemed inspired by the Big Bash, determined not to stick to a line or length and keep the batsmen guessing – only they kept guessing correctly. From the other end and channelling his inner invertebrate, freeing himself of his back troubles, Slug found the edge early with GI managing to simultaneously shell a catch and do his groin, only to be saved by Dodds claiming the parry. At 1/58 NWS were proving stubborn, though as one senior player left for more important duties in GI, another senior player stepped up, with Ravi hobbling his way to 4/18 off 8 overs. As if gazing into a mirror and witnessing a Lane Cove middle order collapse, NWS slumped, losing 7/22 with Nicholls cleaning up the tail to see them bowled out for 100, securing a big 7 points and the Covies jumping up to 2nd on the table.

2nd Grade - LC 1/105 defeated North West Sydney 104

North West Sydney 104 (J Carmarsh 4/22, C Hipkin 2/16, O Lee-Young 2/17)
Lane Cove 1/105 (B Candfield 48, I Kensell 43no)

On an unusually cool January day, struggling North West Sydney arrived in Lane Cove, e-tags still ringing in their ears, to take on the undefeated table toppers. Having strutted to the centre of Tantallon oval like Napoleon at Austerlitz, Lane Cove Emperor Pete Blood exercised his divine right and chose to bowl first.

With a green and fluffy wicket to bowl on, the home side’s triumvirate of medium pacers (known on the circuit as dibbly ,dobbly & wobbly) made life difficult for the visiting top order. Wickets however, proved hard to come by and it took some smart work from Greaves at fine leg, swooping like a greased chicken nugget, to effect a run out for the opening wicket.

The introduction of Olly Lee Young (Wibbly?) in to the attack brought immediate success. Nipping the ball around at a lively slow medium he took two quick wickets to claim 2-17 from his five overs.

With the fleshy underbelly of the NWS line up now on show, Camarsh was unleashed and promptly tore in to their nether regions. He was ably assisted in his endeavours by his fielders, with D’Elia snaffling two sharp chances at slip (despite the attentions of Kensell at 2nd, who had seemingly taken on the role of rodeo clown for the day) and captain Blood, who rose millimetres above the turf to claim an unforgettable catch. Finishing with 4-22 (including his 300th post internet wicket), the role of mopping up Camarsh’s gravy was left to Hipkin, who polished off the tail to finish with 2-16.

Throughout the day the Lane Cove fielding was memorable for one reason or another, be it Greaves taking the catch of the decade or Kensell’s repeated inability to manoeuvre his body parts in such a way as to stop a slow moving ball.

At the halfway stage the home side were in command, dismissing the visitors for 104 with a strong all round bowling display.

Lane Cove’s stylish openers, Canfield and Kensell set about chasing the total with gusto. Despite tempering his attacking instincts for this one day fixture, Kensell nevertheless entertained the crowd with some typically swashbuckling play, slapping and spanking his way to an unbeaten 43 from 59 balls. At the other end Canfield purred through the gears, unfurling his trademark switch hit at one stage to confirm his status as the best left hander in the team. Looking a million dollars (and batting well too), the nervous forties loomed on the horizon. Inevitably Canfield popped one back to the bowler for a smooth 48, leaving it to Lane Cove’s rent-a-keeper to massage his average once more.

The home side completed a 9 wicket, bonus point victory in just 20 overs, remaining unbeaten at the “Blood Bowl” and climbing ever further from the trailing pack.

3rd Grade - LC 112 defeated by North West Sydney 5/113

Lane Cove 112 (H Polavarpu 43)
North West Sydney 5/113

4th Grade - LC 5/231(cc) defeated by North West Sydney 8/233

Lane Cove 5/231 (M Schaafsma 83no, C Forrest 48no, B Hood, 32)
North West Sydney 8/233 (C Forrest 4/30)

The Covies came into this game in high spirits after the previous win and everyone was keen to build on that momentum in the hope of making a finals push late doors. NWS won the toss and sent us in to bat on an outfield and deck that was well suited for batting (provided we negotiated the first hour which is typical for KSO).

Arun and Dave opened up for us and put together a respectable start to the innings, with Arun hitting a few boundaries in an entertaining 23 before departing after his castle got rattled trying to hit a ball to the moon. Dave fell shortly thereafter to a questionable lbw call which left Hoody and Schaafs at the crease at 2/34. The two Covie veterans stabilised the innings in a well-crafted and technically sound partnership that got us through the middle overs and set up a solid foundation for the latter part of the innings. Hoody snicked off for a well made 32 which left Lane Cove at 3/123. Josh Kingston came and went for 1 after being bowled by a peach (unlucky mate) and Zeus followed him when he was caught off an acrobatic effort at mid-on. That mini-collapse left LCCC at 5-129 and the momentum had seemed to shift right back to NWS. However, Schaafs was still out in the middle looking more set than a mountain and when Carson joined him another partnership blossomed that swung the momentum right back in our favour. Shortly after the pair began their partnership, Schaafs reached his 50 and from there he began to accelerate in uncharacteristic fashion, setting the tone for Carson to follow. The rest of the LCCC innings featured sweet hitting from Carse in a quick-fire 48no and a continual display of technical supremacy from Schaafs as we ended the innings at 5/231 with Schaafs finishing on a distinguished 83no. Both Carson and Schaafs received well earned applause when they left the ground but the job was only half done with NWS needing 232 to win.

NWS began their innings well with their captain making a number of quick-fire runs at the top of the order. Santosh and Lachie toiled in their opening spells and both bowled well without reward. While the first 10 overs were wicketless it quickly became evident that this was Lane Cove's match to lose, as there had already been a wicket taken off a no-ball and a dropped chance at slip, both to the same bat who was making all their runs at the time. After this, in an inspired captaincy decision Drew brought Carson on to bowl his leggies and, building off his performance with the bat, it was not long before he had taken 4 wickets in their top 6, including 2 in 2 balls. A special mention must be given to Dave for taking two good catches at first gripper. Carson finished his 10 overs with 4/30 in a spectacular performance and in so doing he had helped shift the balance of the game right back to the middle. At the final drinks break the game couldn't be more even and Drew adopted a policy of 2 over spells from his remaining bowlers to prevent the NWS batsmen getting settled and also because it's simpler that way.

As the game wore on into the the final 10 overs it was still anyone's game to win, however while LCCC were able to take a wicket every few overs NWS still managed to keep up with the required rate. In the final 5 overs NWS needed 6 an over and LCCC needed 3 wickets. TCW got the first pole by clean-bowling one of their bats but it made little difference as NWS' other bat was scoring all their runs for them anyway. It was in the 47th over where NWS hit the big blow that put us on the backfoot, with a 10+ run over bringing the equation to 8 runs from the last 2 overs. However Lachie Shaw bowled a great penultimate over, restricting the batsmen to just 3 runs leaving them with 5 to win off the final over, still two wickets in hand. TCW had the ball in hand for the final over and it was a question of who would buckle under the pressure first, LCCC or NWS. After 3 dot balls the result looked to be swinging back in our favour when on the 4th ball TCW dropped one short, succumbing to the pressure, and was pulled for 4, leaving 1 to get off the last 2 balls. The next ball was edged for a single and with that NWS won on the second last ball of the innings.

While it was absolute heartbreak from Lane Cove it was a phenomenal match for the neutral with good performances from many players in both teams, Carson and Schaafs being the stand-outs. It must be said that the Covies threw this game away in the end - drops at costly times and too many extras, particularly no-balls, made a huge difference in a game where the margins where extremely fine. Having said that every person played with great heart and passion and there is no doubt that we can, and will bounce back in rounds to come.


5th Grade - Bye

Frank Gray - LC 119 defeated by Epping 5/164(cc)

Epping 5/164
Lane Cove 119 (T Cottee-Warner 27)