Battling hard on first day of finals

Eighteen wickets fell evenly across the two finals in which the Magpies competed in today – nine at each game. The 2nd XI will require an excellent batting effort to get through to next week, while the 1st XI have over three hundred on the board for the first time since Christmas.

Footscray won the toss at Camberwell Sports Ground, and as is custom in finals, inserted the higher ranked side to bat first. Morgan Persson-Clark got the team off to a flyer, and while he lost Ben Rowles in the ninth over, we were humming along at four runs an over for the first ten. Persson-Clark was dismissed in the twelfth over for 34 from 35 balls, and from there Tom Rickarby and Simon Hill set about establishing a partnership that would take us past 100.

At lunch we were 2/96, but Hill would only add two more to his total after the break to be dismissed for 41. Tom Russ from there provided the backbone of the innings – his 77 came from 193 balls, and began with a partnership of 62 with Rickarby, before the latter was dismissed also in the 40s. This left us 4/164 with 50 overs gone, and Chris Thewlis coming to the crease. His cameo provided 19 of the 24 run partnership, and we went to tea at 5/194 – Brendan Drew yet to score, and Tom Russ on 40.

Drew took over the innings, scoring 66 of the 111 run partnership, and took us to 299 before he was dismissed. From that point we lost a further three wickets in the final stanza, to finish 9/313. Footscray got through 103 overs, with Dean Russ – usually a part-time option – bowling 21 overs, 4/41, and Hamish Winter-Irving took 4/53 from 24 overs. Glen Parker is 10*, while Matthew Whittaker is yet to score and the Bulldogs have three overs to bowl tomorrow.

Down at Frankston, the Heat captain won the toss and they decided to bat first as well, in overcast conditions on a well grassed wicket. The dew around left the ball wet, preventing any swing during the day, but this didn’t stop Steve Singh (2/45 from 21) early – he took two quick wickets to leave the second placed Frankston-Peninsula at 2/8. Down the other end Dylan Hodge (0/44 from 20) was building great pressure, but Frankston managed to negotiate the period to lunch with the loss of only one further wicket. We created a number of half chances, but couldn’t capitalise on them to put ourselves well ahead of the game.

Resuming at 3/63, Robbie Salerni and captain Sam Wiese provided the partnership that gave Frankston control of the game – both scored half centuries, and we could only achieve a dismissal in the middle session in the second last over. Hamish Burrill (2/44 from 18 overs) snared Salerni for 72 and we headed into the tea break having completed 67 overs with the Heat at 4/157.

Wiese continued on his way after the break, dominating scoring until he was dismissed by Chris Bridle (for 82 to leave the Heat 6/215. From that point, we were able to dictate the pace of the game through Burrill and Jack McNamara (4/103 off 31) but couldn’t execute with the ball regularly enough to snare regular enough wickets to win the day.

No other batsmen apart from the earlier named passed thirty, but enough contributions saw Frankston reach 9/284 at the end of 104 overs. This leaves us with two overs to bowl tomorrow – if we don’t snare the last wicket, we will have 91 overs to chase the target.

The two higher ranked sides would feel as though they have taken advantage of day one, but the twenty two Magpies will be looking to ensure that we’re still playing next week.

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