The early games went our way, but the afternoon games were a disappointment as we finished up the T20 matches.
The 1st XI had their only loss of the Twenty20 period, as a disastrous start curbed any real chance of victory. Within the first five overs, we were 4/15, and then 5/27 in the seventh, which spelt the likely end of a competitive score. Shubham Bhargave returned to the 1st XI and showed some good intent, scoring 21 from 22 balls before being trapped in front, and Glen Parker (31* from 32) top scored, but with no-one else reaching double figures, we were well behind the eight ball on a good wicket registering only 95.
It proved as such as well, as Essendon chased down the total in the fourteenth over. Will Walker struck early, dismissing the dangerous Ayre, and Kevin Prior impressed with the ball, taking 1/6 from 2 overs. But there was little to take from the match, as the 1st XI are left at 5 wins and 5 losses as they put away the coloured clothes for the year.
The 3rd XI had a good start, taking three early wickets and again Chris Bridle was miserly. He wound up with 1/9 from his four overs, while Tom Vanderslik was the multiple wicket taker with 2/19. Essendon’s middle order helped reestablish the innings, and set a competitive 7/111 – exactly the same number of runs they were chasing the day before.
Unfortunately, it was the same result. After a horrid start, falling to 3/14, James Vlaeminck got us back in the game with 34, with support from Dan Walker (11). But while Vanderslik (28*) battled on valiantly, we finished seven runs short, having needed fourteen off the last over. The 3rd XI now sit 12th, with only three wins in the season thus far.
Earlier, the 4th XI had some “constructive discussion” with the umpires regarding conditions – the wicket was fine, but there was some concern about the run ups and the wicket area. Eventually it was decided to have a five over swing for points, in which we were chasing. Essendon collected 51 for the loss of five wickets in their five overs, Mani Kingar doing best with 2/7 from his over, while Alok Bist had one over for eight.
The previous day’s hero Alex Ross came back earth with a first ball duck, and captain Angus Brown came across the same fate. Sumeet Badkar hit a four and a six in his innings of 17* from 13 balls, but the hero was Nick Dixon. He hit two sixes in the last over to get us over the line with three balls to spare, making 24* off 12 deliveries. That win was the 4th XI’s sixth of the year, leaving them 6th on the ladder heading into the red ball matches.
The 2nd XI had a great win at Windy Hill in a game threatened by the weather throughout. We again bowled first, but this time the opposition batting got off to a good start. They survived the powerplay without losing a wicket, travelling at nine an over. The introduction of the experienced Mark Dwyer and Jack McNamara helped stem the tide, they combined for 6/29 from eight overs during the innings. A seventh wicket partnership of 38 saw Essendon end up with 6/127 from their overs.
Paddy McKenna hit two boundaries before being dismissed in the first over, before Daniel Rawson and Adit Pawha put on 36 and got themselves ahead on Duckworth Lewis. After Rawson’s dismissal, nicking a cut shot, Jack Di Stefano joined Pawha in his first 2nd XI match for the club. They combined for 51, taking the momentum of the game before losing Pawha, leaving us with 33 to get with just over four overs left.
Di Stefano (29* from 35) was joined by James Wiseman (29* off 16), who took over proceedings. Some great running between wickets, a couple of streaky boundaries and composure beyond their years saw them bring up victory with the first ball of the last over. The 2nd XI are now third on the ladder, missing out on the White Ball Final by a point.