From all reports, Albion Park won the toss and decided to bat, and quickly had their most experienced and dangerous batsman Trevor Horton back in the pavilion bowled by Frei Ulfsson. This was all news to me as I arrived at the ground at 12.42pm following various traffic incidents and the necessity to drop off my daughter at her grandparents before entering the fray (no pun intended).
Once back on the field, I admired the salvos of both Frei and the revitalised Gavin Hartley, who pounded in off his five steps, swung the ball both ways and generally caused mayhem amongst the ill-equipped Albion Park batsmen.
Frei's six over spell produced another great return of 1/10 and again it was his impeccable line and length that was the standout. Replacing him was Max Fitzsimmons. When I was asked by three separate players beforehand "Have you seen Maxy's run up?" I was expecting something long and extravagant. No... the two foot shuffle-and-sling caught me right off-guard. However - it was effective for most of his spell. As with all sling actions, they can go a little astray, but overall he bowled well, and caught the edge of one batsman to snare a wicket to another good catch from keeper Reece Conley.
Meanwhile, Albert had finished his ten over stint for a miserly 4/16, and was replaced by the looping off spin of Jake Lee from the southern end. It seemed that he had everyone in a spin. Following a ball that passed down legside and about three metres past Reece, the batsmen took off for a single. Quick as a flash, skipper Joe Murphy was around from first slip and had the ball in hand, and threw down the stumps at the strikers end almost before the batsmen had crossed. The question of "who called that?" was met by Joe's reply "No run there... not on my arm!" which did not receive the gales of laughter it deserved (though there was some question as to whether he was aiming for the stumps at the other end when he threw the ball...). This was met by Jake picking up a leading edge next ball, and Jan's catch completing the wicket.
Brought on with the wind to ensure his deliveries reached the other end, the team's ageing leg-spinner managed to grab a couple of late wickets whilst terrorising his wicket-keeper, who resorted to his helmet after four deliveries. Albion Park was dismissed for 69.
Ryan Gunning then met the opening bowlers salvo with one of his own, dispatching deliveries to all parts of the field in compiling 27 before edging to the keeper. His opening partner Liam Case looked assured and confident, before losing his head and trying to slog a ball on his middle stump, with the expected result. Jan Haubruck started confidently, and while finishing on 23 not out played a couple of inexperienced shots that could have cost him his wicket to a better side. With better concentration he will score more runs in the coming weeks. Joe Murphy played a blinder for his 7 not out, an innings that he will no doubt be very proud of. The game concluded just before 3.00pm, with the elder participants able to move on to watch 1st Grade complete a fine victory.
Once again the Gold side played well without being thoroughly tested. It still augers well for continuing good performances in the weeks leading up to the break.