PCA v SCG XI at King’s – 7 March 2010

March 10, 2010 by  

After several days of heavy rain, it was an unexpected and pleasant surprise that nice weather greeted us on the weekend, which allowed us to play the inaugural match between the PCA and the SCG XI at the beautiful J.S. White Oval at King’s. The match had originally been scheduled to be played at the SCG XI’s home ground Drummoyne Oval in November, but had to be postponed due to the unavailability of the ground.

The PCA Captain Joe Scarcella won the toss. With a couple of late withdrawals, and the late arrival of the 2 replacement players (including an opening batsman), we decided to send the SCG XI in to bat. It was a risky call, given that our opponents were fielding a strong young team with several grade players – including one first grader, and their captain Andy Balbirnie who was an Ireland U19 cricket rep.

Our opening bowlers Chris Lloyd and Joe Scarcella (Jnr) bowled with good hostility. Chris trapped the opener in front in his first over and finished with good figures of 1-25 from his 6 overs. At the other end, Joe Jnr continued with his excellent bowling form for the PCA in this, his first season with the PCA, bowling an excellent line and length and getting enough outswing movement through the air to cause the batsmen some headaches. His accurate pace bowling was well rewarded, clean bowling the other opener with a swinging yorker and claiming the No. 4 batsman LBW. He finished with excellent figures of 2-15 from his 7 overs.

Change bowlers Laughlan Davies and Joe Scarcella (Snr) took over the attack and continued to ask questions of the batsmen with some very good, persistent and accurate bowling. Laughlan bowled very well, his 9 overs of accurate medium pacers completed without success in terms of wickets but troubling the batsmen regularly. At the other end, Joe also bowled well, tying the batsmen down with accurate swing bowling and frustrating the batsmen who were showing clear intent that they wanted to take control of the match with aggressive batting. With excellent support from his fieldsmen, Joe took 3-29 from his 9 over spell. Marcus Braid came into the attack to bowl his off spin. He, too, bowled very well against the batsmen who were clearly out to accelerate the run rate and accumulate a score our opponents could defend. Marcus finished with the excellent figures of 2-12 off 4 overs. The other bowlers – Bob Stephens, and late replacements James Loughhead and young Sam Cox – performed creditably too, Sam picking up a wicket in his first over in his debut match for the PCA.

The SCG XI finished with a total of 9-168 from their 45 overs. From the PCA bowlers and fielders, against a very strong young team, it was a truly excellent performance in the field to restrict them to a target that was very ‘gettable’.

Our run chase started well. Openers Chris Lloyd and Marcus Braid batted steadily against a good bowling attack, pacing the scoring well and keeping us on target all the way. When Marcus fell for 10, Mark Clarebrough came in and, with Chris, continued the run chase at a steady rate. Chris stepped up his scoring rate, playing some lovely shots and finding the boundary a few time, including a glorious cover drive. He looked set for big score but nicked one behind and departed for 28. Joe Jnr came in and got out a few overs later, caught on the deep mid wicket boundary trying to punish a loose delivery but failing to clear the outfield.

That brought Damian Cullen to the crease. Damian, not a batsmen who likes to prod and hang around or to let bowlers get on top of the batsmen, started solidly and looked to consolidate in a partnership with Mark. The runs were coming steadily and both batsmen looked solid against some very good bowling. After getting his eye in, Damian set about to attack the bowlers in his usual manner. He played some excellent aggressive shots, accelerating the scoring rate as he hit several boundaries to all parts of the field including a massive six over the longest part of the VERY BIG JS White Oval. He batted superbly, bringing up his half century before retiring. At the other end, Mark was batting steadily, mixing caution against the tight bowling with aggression to the loose delivery. His knock of 39 (retired) kept the innings together. When he retired we only required about 16 runs to notch up the win. However there was a late order collapse –  that is, until Laughlan Davies and James Loughhead steadied the ship, their last wicket stand of 15 finally taking us to victory.

The victory capped off a wonderful day. The boys from the SCG XI provided very stern competition, but most importantly all the PCA players were unanimous in the view that they played the game in a fantastic spirit. Over a few post-match drinks and the mandatory post mortem, both teams agreed it was a great day. Both captains hope and expect to see this become an annual fixture.

Result:  PCA 7 – 171 (43.2 overs) def SCG XI 168 (45 overs)

Batting:  D. Cullen 50 n.o. (retired); M. Clarebrough 39 n.o. (retired); Chris Lloyd 28; M. Braid 10; L. Davies 10 n.o. ; J. Loughhead 6 n.o.

Bowling: J Scarcella (snr) 3-29 (9 overs);  J Scarcella (jnr) 2-15 (7 overs); M.Braid 2-12 (4 overs); C. Lloyd 1-25 (6 overs); S. Cox 1-23 (3 overs)

Joe Scarcella
8 March 2010