BAT­TING WOES

McIvor Times - - SPORTS - By MICHAEL MAT­TINGLY

HEATH­COTE Cricket Club was beaten con­vinc­ingly by Dingee in round 12 of the North­ern United Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion com­pe­ti­tion.

Dingee won the toss and sent Heath­cote in on what was re­ferred to as a “very green pitch”.

Heath­cote opener Joel Con­don was knocked over for a duck in the first over of the game and that started an un­for­tu­nate trend for the in­nings.

Only four play­ers in skip­per Pa­trick Ring (11), Shane Cox (10), Chris Slat­tery (12) and Liam Jac­ques (11) scored dou­ble fig­ures for Heath­cote.

Dingee bowled Heath­cote out for 64 after 26 overs and then be­gan its in­nings in the same fashion as Heath­cote.

Dingee opener Kyle Pat­ten was dis­missed by Ring for a duck to give Heath­cote some hope of an un­likely victory.

How­ever, after some rain in­ter­rupted play for a short pe­riod of time, Dale An­der­son (30) and Matthew Hind (24no.) added 56 for the sec­ond wicket to lead Dingee within an inch of victory.

Shane Cox dis­missed An­der­son but it was too lit­tle too late for Heath­cote as Dingee reached the tar­get two wick­ets down.

De­spite the loss, Heath­cote still sit in­side the top four and with two rounds to go and look likely to play fi­nals.

The side will also be strength­ened by the likely re­turn of play­ers such as Ni­co­las Malav­isi, Ben Har­ris and Luke Bell.

Heath­cote will play a home game this Satur­day when it faces Col­binab­bin at Bar­rack Re­serve from 1pm.

DUNEDIN is known as the “House of Pain” for Rugby teams tour­ing New Zealand. For Heath­cote crick­eters, the Dingee home ground plays the role of its bo­ogy­man with the vis­i­tors not hav­ing won there in over four years.

But this week it was not with dread or trep­i­da­tion that the side viewed the game play­ing at Dingee — quite the op­po­site.

A topic that has dom­i­nated train­ing, team plan­ning and per­for­mance man­age­ment weekly for the Heath­cote crick­eters over the past five years is or­gan­is­ing a bus trip to a game.

In the deep dark hours of Thurs­day night, cap­tain Corey Gil­more posted the fol­low­ing side:

“Pat, Fish, Joel, Slats, Bocca, Willa, Ben Con, Sheepa, Baby Morgs, Jac­quesy, . . . still a cou­ple short boys. If any­one has a cou­ple of mates, let me know’’.

The first ob­ser­va­tion is the team sounds more like a run­ning sheet of cir­cus acts than a cricket side. Se­condly that “still a cou­ple short boys” has been se­lected for Heath­cote ev­ery week for the past two years and has done noth­ing.

Also the fi­nal com­ment should not be taken as Gil­more him­self does not have a cou­ple of mates, it’s just that Dave Far­ley is overseas and Kevin Bloom is in Mel­bourne and both are un­avail­able to play for Heath­cote.

For­mer cricket club cap­tain and form player Luke Bell, in his role as Heath­cote foot­ball coach, also or­gan­ised a team build­ing sleep­over for the foot­ballers in the club rooms Fri­day night ahead of the Dingee cricket match, fur­ther weak­en­ing the cricket side as a num­ber of play­ers were sleepy from hav­ing been kept up all night by whis­per­ing, gig­gling and pil­low fights at Bell’s slum­ber party.

Bell de­clared him­self un­avail­able for the cricket match against Dingee adding fur­ther ev­i­dence to the ar­gu­ment that the team sport of cricket is all about the in­di­vid­ual.

It was on a bus that a sleepy and un­der­manned Heath­cote side ar­rived at the Dingee “House of Pain” on Satur­day and after a quick in­spec­tion of the pitch the side could ap­pre­ci­ate the task at hand.

The pitch was so green that it would make Snoop Dog wish he knew where Dingee was, which would have been good be­cause at least some­one would have cut and rolled the grass ahead of the game.

Dingee won the toss and sent the Heath­cote side into bat.

Joel Con­don saw off the first two de­liv­er­ies, a high point of the Heath­cote in­nings. The score­book reads he was then clean bowled. No one from Heath­cote is sure of this though as none of the play­ers, in­clud­ing Con­don, had re­ally started to pay at­ten­tion.

The Heath­cote bats strug­gled un­der heavy con­di­tions and on a green deck with wick­ets con­tin­u­ing to fall.

Shane Cox proved a main stay but his bat­ting part­ners did not hang around.

Chris Slat­tery pro­vided some clean hit­ting off the leg spin­ner Rod Ellis with three fours in one over but picked out the square leg fielder in Ellis next over.

A handy 11 runs from Liam Jac­ques saw Heath­cote limp to be all out for 64 in the 26th over.

Thoughts now turned to an early fin­ish and tak­ing full ad­van­tage of the bus trip home as Heath­cote went out to de­fend a mea­gre to­tal.

So short was the Heath­cote in­nings the umpire did not even al­low the af­ter­noon tea break to be taken, par­tic­u­larly harsh as the af­ter­noon tea spread is nor­mally great at Dingee and it helps digest all the flies you end up swal­low­ing in the field.

Heav­ily over­cast, high hu­mid­ity with a green top deck are con­di­tions that Pat Ring dreams of bowl­ing in.

The open­ing bowler did not dis­ap­point as he seamed the first ball just short of a length. The ball de­fied the first law of ther­mo­dy­nam­ics as it in­creased in pace off the pitch, rear­ing up and cramp­ing the Dingee open­ing bats­man Kyle Pat­ten for space.

De­spite tak­ing eva­sive ac­tion, Pat­ten found there was no room to hide as the ball feath­ered his gloves and shot through to Slat­tery.

Slat­tery, the Heath­cote keeper, leapt full stretch like Su­per­man and cleanly took the hot chance.

The Heath­cote side stood dumb­founded at the bril­liance that they had just wit­nessed.

Bren­ton Con­forti bowled from the other end, also ex­tract­ing plenty of move­ment and bounce off the pitch un­til the weather turned to a heavy per­sis­tent driz­zle and the bowlers strug­gled to keep their foot­ing on the now sod­den pitch.

Heath­cote looked to the sky for the op­por­tu­nity of both a drawn match and an early fin­ish in hop­ing the game would be called off but the umpire and Dingee wanted to per­sist.

Cox man­aged to ex­tract a lit­tle bit of turn from a ball now so wa­ter logged it had the con­sis­tency off wet soap.

Si­mon Osicka had to re­duce his run up to just one step when the umpire stopped play for some pitch re­pairs.

After a to­ken amount of sand was spread around, play was al­lowed to re­sume de­spite the wet con­di­tions.

Osicka slipped over for two con­sec­u­tive balls rais­ing oc­cu­pa­tional, health and safety con­cerns.

His frame hit­ting the deck po­ten­tially could have re­ver­ber­ated through the Earth’s crust and caused a tsunami some­where in South East Asia.

The game was put on hold, much to the dis­gust of the Dingee play­ers. The Dingee play­ers com­plained that the Heath­cote team was not ad­e­quately pre­pared in not wear­ing spikes.

It showed a fairly sim­plis­tic un­der­stand­ing of the op­po­si­tion as it is a chal­lenge to get a Heath­cote side to­gether and they should have just been happy we turned up wear­ing shoes.

What will be next? Teams ex­pect­ing Heath- cote to have a cap­tain that plays with­out a bro­ken arm?

The rain in­ten­si­fied with Heath­cote des­per­ate to claim a draw and get back on the bus.

Dingee con­tin­ued to don the umpire in snorkelling gear to again in­spect the pitch and the Heath­cote team con­tem­plated be­gin­ning to work on an ark.

It is with for­tune that the weather didn’t get all Old Tes­ta­ment on us and the ark was not re­quired.

The thought that life on Earth would have to be re-es­tab­lished by the Heath­cote cricket team and 20,000 blowflies from Dingee is too hor­rific for con­tem­pla­tion.

The umpire re­tracted an ear­lier prom­ise to call the game off and no­ti­fied the teams that he would re­view the pitch to con­sider play to re­sume at 5.30pm.

On be­ing ad­vised of this the Heath­cote team did the only sen­si­ble thing and went to the pub.

Dingee showed far greater com­mit­ment to the game of cricket with only half of their play­ers go­ing to the pub.

In air con­di­tioned com­fort, away from the flies and with cold beer, the team en­joyed two hours of its best cricket this sea­son but lost the author­ity to raise con­cerns about OH&S in con­tin­u­ing to play.

Play re­sumed at 5.30pm and Dingee made light work of the re­main­ing 24 runs.

The only high­light for Heath­cote in that pas­sage of play was Ben Con­nolly man­ag­ing to take a clean catch with­out using his hands.

The player of the day goes to Chris Slat­tery who drove the bus.

Heath­cote is still look­ing a very strong chance for fi­nals this year, thanks not so much to its own suc­cess but the fail­ure of other sides.

With the re­turn of big name play­ers such as Ni­co­las Malav­isi, Ben Har­ris and Luke Bell there is plenty of up­side to strength­en­ing the team.

Ad­mit­tedly Har­ris and Bell are pretty short names but Ni­co­las Malav­isi does have 15 let­ters.

There are two home games to fin­ish the sea­son and no doubt master cu­ra­tor Grant Baker will pro­duce cricket wick­ets for the Heath­cote side to demon­strate what it can do.

Most sur­pris­ingly there is a quote from Snoop Dogg that is both poignant and use­ful: “Some­times a loss is the best thing that can hap­pen. It teaches you what to do next time.’’

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