St George DCC have taken out the Fourth Grade Premiership in a thriller at Hurstville Oval against Manly. After a dominant day one it looked as if the Saints would do it in a canter but Manly had other ideas.
Rain delayed the start of Day 1 with lunch being taken early and play starting after 1.00pm. Manly won the toss and elected to send the Saints in hoping to use the conditions to their advantage. Openers Eric Serra and Josh Vella has other ideas. The two young guns batted out the full 51 overs on offer to finish the day at 0-159. Serra had scored 84 whilst Vella was on 61.
Play on day two resumed earlier at 10.00am to make up for some lost time and looked like the two were ready to take off from where they left off on day 1. They took the score to 170 before Serra copped a Jaffer on 92 from eventual man of the match, Josh Wigney. This awoke the beast within the Manly unit with a couple more quick wickets and all of a sudden the game came very much alive.
The Saints were now at 3-178 before Rod Krause put his first stamp on the game by settling things down in the Saints camp with a quick fire 21 off 15 before he was spectacularly caught and bowled. Krause and Vella had taken the score to 217. Not long after at 246, Josh Vella's marathon came to an end when he was dismissed for 90 off 235 balls.
From here there were several useful smaller partnerships but one had the feeling that Manly were well and truly back in the hunt at this point. Thomas Kennedy came to the crease with Steve Wark at the fall of the 8th wicket and together they carved out another crucial partnership (44). Kennedy was out for a very important 33 off 31 balls.
St George were dismissed shortly after for 324 which left Manly 52 overs to chase down that score for the premiership.
From the very start one sensed Manly were not going to lie down and they certainly put in an amazing batting performance over the next 48 overs. At one stage Manly shot out to 0-46 off 10 and then quickly raced to 58 before the introduction of Spinner Rod Krause brought an immediate wicket followed shortly by another. Manly were now 2-78.
They kept having an almighty crack as the score pushed towards 150 without the loss of another wicket but it was the skipper Steve Wark who made the breakthrough removing fellow skipper and danger man Adam Gummer for 60. However there was still another danger man at the crease in Joel Davies who after a chance first ball proceeded to put the bowling to all parts of the ground in scoring 53 off just 46 balls. Manly were well and truly in the game here before the Saints came alive once again in the field through some great catches and bowling. The dismissal of Davies was spectacular with Pandelis taking a good outfield catch inches from the bike track before momentum had it's way. Some quick thinking saw "Panda" release the ball in mid air as he headed over the boundary which was eagerly excepted by Blake Newport who just happened to be jolly on the spot. This is what big games are all about.
Manly kept fighting and the pressure kept building with some catches going down in the field. The introduction of Dean Cassar to the attack was met with success with a couple of wickets. All the while the veteran Krause was digging deep and it was only fitting that the big fella was rewarded with the winning wicket thanks largely to another great effort in the outfield by Pandelis. "Rocket" Rodney "Rod The Bod" Krause ended up with the match winning figures of 6-97 off 19.1 overs. Manly all out for 293 off just 48.1 overs.
Huge congratulations to Steve Wark and his Fourth Grade side on the clubs 8th Fourth Grade premiership and 104th Flag overall.
A reminder that the Kerry O'Keeffe Medal night will take place this Thursday the 4th of April at Club Rivers from 7.00. Please let you captain know or Kevin Green on 0407 291 872. Players - No Charge. Guests - $40 includes Dinner. Drinks at club prices.