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Monday, December 5, 2005

Twice in a Day? How Can That Be?!

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What is it that occurred to have 3rd Grade, undefeated in 2005/06 until last weekend, collapse twice on the one afternoon? Is it simply a case of being 'under-strength', with players required for duty in higher grades? Or were their opposition, Lake Illawarra, far superior to them in this respect? Or was there a lapse in application and devotion with the bat for the weekend?

The question begs asking, if only because of the alarming effort of practically being bowled out twice in half a day's play. Sometimes it can be a one-off thing, but sometimes it is a symptom of something far greater, and is not so easily solved.

It would be easy to blame the loss of personnel, but certainly the team that took the field last Saturday had players who were experienced and talented enough not to have fallen to such an ignominious outright defeat. Lake Illawarra have a good 3rd Grade outfit, but not one that should have caused that much damage. Could it be that, having been sent back in after being dismissed so quickly in their first dig, the minds of the batsmen were not set enough for the challenge of batting through the remainder of the day?

3rd Grade players have made no secret of the fact that they believe they can win this season's premiership. No doubt, there will be further occasions during the season when they have players unavailable, due to other commitments, or to promotion to higher grades as a fill-in or as a reward for personal success.

In recent years, Kiama's policy, certainly after the Christmas break, has been to leave 3rd Grade almost untouched, in order to give the team the best structure to win that elusive premiership. In all of those years, and I can go back at least the past ten, it hasn't worked.

Perhaps the best way to form the best team in 3rd Grade, is to continue to move players up and down the Grades as is necessary, and when it comes to the finals, the best possible side can be chosen on performance and merit. Trying to qualify players in past years doesn't seem to have worked. Let's just pick the best teams we can, and worry about the finals WHEN we reach them!

Let's also hope 3rd Grade's batsmen can go out this weekend, put last week's performance behind them, and get a big total on the board, to exorcise those cricket demons.

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