Unfortunately there will be no end of season silverware as our women’s 2nds were unable to defend their 2016/17 title, going down in their one-day grand final, while the men’s 2nds bowed out at the semi-final stage.
The girls ventured out to Casey Fields yesterday to take on EMP and whilst there were no signs of the rain that affected men’s finals the day before, Mother Nature still made her presence felt with the gale force wind that endured.
The Demons elected to bat first on a pitch that was ‘holding’ just a little. EMP was credited by our girls with bowling exceptionally well in not the easiest of conditions. Charli Killeen, Parry Jenkins and Ella Hayward all made it into the teens but, apart from a 37-run 4th wicket partnership between Parry and Ella, we were unable to build anything significant. The bottom order fought hard but we were eventually dismissed for 100 in the 40th of 45 overs.
EMP played boldly in pursuit. Ella Hayward provided some spark with a direct hit run out but EMP marched on for an eight wicket win.
Following the game Bridie Chesterfield announced she will be stepping down as Reserves captain but will be continuing pursuing her cricketing ambitions with the Demons. Congratulations Bridie on leading your team into finals in both of your seasons at the helm, no one forgetting the T20 and one-day double the team achieved in 2016/17.
Our men’s 2nd XI not only had to compete with Camberwell Magpies, needing a win to advance to the final due to our lower ranking, but had to sit through the frustrating hours of rain that started falling on Saturday minutes after the toss was made at 10.00am. The drizzle subsided just after 2.00pm but some water had found its way through the covers to create a handful of soft spots around bowler’s foot marks that needed to dry sufficiently. Play was finally allowed to commence at 3.30pm with a minimum of 40 overs to be bowled on the Saturday and 96 on Sunday with no compulsory closure because more than an hour’s play was lost.
Camberwell had won the toss and batted first. Kieran Elliott struck twice early and when Zac Mevissen got another we had the Magpies 3 for 22. Camberwell steadied but not long before stumps, Ash Middlin produced a piece of magic, a brilliant leg side stumping off paceman Glenn Hannah who was bowling around the wicket to a left handed.
Under sunny skies Camberwell resumed at 4/73 and progressed to 185 before losing their fifth wicket in what turned out to be a match saving partnership. However, hope was by no means lost at that stage of proceedings with Kieran Elliott bowling in inspiring fashion. He not only broke the partnership but followed up with dismissing the other thorn in our side. Not long after he deservedly took his fifth wicket, finishing with the ultra-impressive figures of 5 for 46 off 35 overs, 13 being maidens.
At 7/197, and around 40 overs play remaining, the equation was not beyond us. However, niggling tail end partnerships not only built the score to the eventual 241 but also reduced the overs we were to receive to 30. Fair to say we ‘came out swinging’, as you might expect in a ‘nothing to lose’ situation. We needed things to all go right for us but an ‘unlucky’ run out, a well struck ball picking out a boundary fielder.… well…the lads had a crack but come up short.
The boy’s spirits wasn’t dampened too much after the game because they knew they gave it their best. However a few eyes moistened when skipper Ash Middlin announced his retirement. More will be written and said in other forums but one only has to know of Ash and his deeds over a long period of time at the Demons to know when an outstanding career he had with the Demons and what a great contribution he has made on and off the field.
Starting out in the 2nd XI in season 1999/00, Ash played 328 matches in his 19 seasons. Finishing his time as 2nd XI captain and wicket-keeper - I think it fair to say a reluctant wicket-keeper at times - Ash worked his way from Thirds to Firsts purely as a bat, a testament to his all-round skill. When the opportunity arose to be the full-time wicket-keeper/bat at the highest level for the Demons, Ash took it with both gloves. I’m sure he is very proud of, as we are of him, the two 1st XI premierships embroidered on his MCC jacket – the man behind the stumps in our 2009/10 and 2012/13 1st XI victories.
His leadership through a couple of stints of looking after the 2nd XI, including the last three and a half years, has been highly valued by committee, coaches, and players alike. I’m not sure whether you are looking forward to working longer hours, but fairly confident that you’ll treasure the time available to spend with newborn son Edward A and partner Deanne. Congratulations Ash.
Men’s Premier Semi-Finals (Two-Day)
Seconds – Camberwell Magpies 241 (K Elliott 5/46 Z Mevissen 2/34) defeated by Melbourne 105 (J Koop 29) at Camberwell Sports Ground
Women’s Premier Cricket Grand-Final (One-day)
Reserves – Melbourne 100 defeated by EMP 2/101 at Casey Fields #4