As Warrandyte’s new pavilion gradually starts to take shape, so too does the Warrandyte Cricket Club’s season with three clubs in strong contention to make the finals next month.
Warrandyte’s First XI currently sits in third spot in the Bill Wilkins Cup, with only a recent slip up in a run chase at Templeton stalling Warrandyte’s surge to the finals.
With a current line-up of returning players, and a new face in Western Bulldogs AFL-listed player Lindsay Gilbee becoming Warrandyte First XI player No.440, Warrandyte will be looking to string together some vital wins in the remaining rounds to stabilise its finals spot.
Skipper Adam White has been leading from the front, scoring 307 runs at 51 this year, alongside allrounder Alex McIntosh who currently averages 49 batting in the lower order.
With the ball, Campbell Holland is way ahead of the field with 29 wickets for the season at a strike rate of 33, with his opening partner McIntosh chipping in with 18 wickets.
Warrandyte will be annoyed it dropped valuable points at Templeton, where despite dismissing the opposition for a relatively low 129, the dreaded short run chase got the better of the boys, and they fell 22 runs short.
While a premier grade win will be a highlight for the club, the promotion of the Second XI out of the current A Grade is key for the development of the club going forward.
Currently in a grade lower then they should be, Warrandyte sits as equal leader on top of the ladder by percentage. This has been mainly due to some exceptional opening batting from keeper Dale Lander, whose 462 runs is leading the entire competition and continuing to put Warrandyte on top of games early on.
On the more fun side, Mitchell Gaffney, a young promising player within the Second XI who is looking to break into the First XI, has equaled a club record seven consecutive not outs.
Gaffney, who hasn’t been dismissed since Jan 12, 2012, has only batted three times this year, but can not be blamed for holding his end up.
Gaffney is the current equal record holder with two other players, and is being chased down by fellow fast bowler Luke Killey. While this hopefully isn’t the last record Gaffney achieves at the club, sources suggest he won’t be looking for that promotion up the batting order too soon.
The Third XI is cruising into the finals on top of the table, with a last round match against Kilsyth to determine who will progress on top but assured of a second chance in the finals. Boosted by a strong return in higher grades, Warrandyte had the strange situation of fielding nine of 11 players in the Thirds who had represented the Seconds exactly 12 months earlier. That clearly shows the strength of the club and the unity among the players as they strive forward.
Stuart Howarth has been leading the way with the bat, hitting 122, 98 and 46 in consecutive weeks with his big hitting around the grounds unable to be contained by either Bayswater or South Warrandyte.
Warranwood was able to counteract Howarth, however, the following week in a one day match, dismissing him cheaply.
But the strength of the lineup was highlighted when the team went on to make 263 off 35 overs, with Ryan Pascoe and myself scoring 139 off 11 overs in the middle stretch.
Warrandyte’s Fourths are the only team looking likely to miss the action in March, currently sitting just off the bottom of the ladder and looking to push some teams towards the end of the year. Mixed with the regular interchange of seniors, juniors and vets, the Fourths have been boosted recently with a couple players who have played First XI cricket in the past few years. But that has proven little to stop the losses, with Warrandyte losing three of its past four competitive fixtures.
As ever, the key for them will be getting consistent line-ups together they head into two-day cricket, and looking to develop the younger crop of Warrandyte cricketers.
Round 6: Warrandyte 5/291 (White 101n.o, Barry 81) def Chirnside Park 138 (Holland 4/29, McIntosh 4/31)
Round 7: Warrandyte 205 (Ellis 47, Taylor 41) def. Lilydale 6/148 (Sherriff 4/24)
Round 8: Warrandyte 107 (McIntosh 26) def. by Templeton 129 (Mooney 2/13, Sherriff 2/26)
Round 8: Warrandyte 159 (Morgan 58) def. by South Warrandyte 164 (Killey 3/28, Stafford 3/40)
Round 9: Warrandyte 215 (Cleaves 86, Lander 38) def. by Chirnside Park 8/226 (Killey 3/23)
Round 10: Warrandyte 3/107 (Lander 72) def. Bayswater Park 8/103 (Gaffney 2/15, Styles 2/15)
Round 11: Warrandyte 4/189 (McMellan 70) def. Scoresby/Ferndale 9/119 (Gaffney 3/13) Third XI
Round 8: Warrandyte 5/311 (Haworth 122, Kline 64) def. Bayswater Park 77 (Ellis 3/19)
Round 9: Warrandyte 204 (Haworth 98) def. South Warrandyte 162 (Smead 4/19, Ellis 3/34)
Round 10: Warrandyte 7/210 (Beardall 57, Haworth 46) def. North Ringwood 95 (Prangley 4/25)
Round 11: Warrandyte 8/263 (Pascoe 69, Hoiberg 60) def. Warranwood 9/190 (Smead 3/39, Taylor 3/46)
Round 8: Warrandyte 242 (Bowyer 75, Hartmann 71) d by South Croydon 5/251 (Oremek 3/47)
Round 9: Warrandyte 5/249 (Kline 75, Brent 66) d Scoresby/Ferndale 139 (Warr 2/14, Burns 2/15)
Round 10: Warrandyte 4/267 (Kline 80, Hartmann 45) def. by Wantirna South 5/271 (Warren 1/29)
Round 11: Warrandyte 164 (Bowyer 62) def. by Wantirna South 9/296 (Gidley 3/43)
By RYAN HOIBERG
Warrandyte Diary – Issue 2014_2