The Primary Club of Australia v Sydney Uni Vets – King’s, 27 February 2011

Due to some early season washouts and the unavailability of the main ground for part of the season because of renovation works, this was the PCA’s first game played at the beautiful JS White Oval this season.

The PCA also welcomed 2 new members turning out for their first game for us; Richard Dixon and Michael Cant, both former Gordon first graders and team mates of Stephen Liggins (himself a recent welcome addition to our playing ranks). Both new boys were to have a significant impact on the day, which eventually resulted in a hard fought win to the PCA.

On inspection before the start of the match, it was apparent that the pitch which was prepared for the match had a disconcertingly long and wide crack down running the length of the pitch and close to the line of a right-hander’s off-stump at one end (and a left hander’s at the other end). The captains agreed that it was better to use the adjacent pitch – which had probably been used the previous day, but didn’t appear to be anywhere near as treacherous as the prepared pitch.

Skipper Joe Scarcella won the toss and elected to bat on what appeared to be a reasonable batting pitch, albeit one with a couple of cracks not far from the popping crease at either end of the pitch.

Michael Cant (a regular opener) kicked off the innings with makeshift opener Bob Stephens. The pair started solidly. Michael showed that he’d not lost his batting skills and technique despite his long lay-off since his playing days. He started well, his defence was solid, and soon starting playing his attractive array of strokes. Eventually he compiled a very solid half century, before his compulsory retirement. His innings was punctuated by eight boundaries. At the other end, Bob also batted well in his unfamiliar role, despatching the loose deliveries and putting on a first wicket partnership with Michael that yielded 44 runs before he was run out for 20. Joe Scarcella Junior. Coming in at first drop, was dismissed shortly thereafter to a brilliant catch at mid-wicket by a youngster and certainly their best fielder, in fact probably the only player on the field who would have been able to pull off the catch.

Ian Camejo was next in. Ian and Michael had a strong partnership before Michael’s forced retirement. Stephen Liggins came and went early for a ‘globe’. Ian’s batting stance at the crease was as unusual as his batting was effective; his was a hard-hitting innings in which he punished the loose deliveries with several boundaries including a couple of sixes. He was eventually dismissed, caught very well on the boundary, unfortunately only couple of runs short of his half century. Jason Bates, coming in at 4th drop, batting with Ian, also managed to find the boundary a few times and batted in his usual no-nonsense big-hitting style, compiling 24 runs before being unfortunately run out by the new man in, skipper Joe Scarcella (sorry for that, Jason, you’re right – it wasn’t a smart call on my part !!).

Joe was joined at the crease by Richard Dixon. The pair batted strongly to steady the ship after a couple of quick wickets threatened to cut short the innings well short of the allotted 37 overs. The partnership took the score from 153 to 239 in rapid time, and featured good authentic batting – quick running between the wickets (the pair stealing quick singles and turning 2’s into 3’s in the big outfield), combined with putting the loose balls away to the boundary. Richard’s innings was particularly aggressive – it included four 4’s and 3 big sixes – and he, too, eventually reached his half century before retiring.

The final total for the PCA’s innings from the allotted 37 overs was 7 for 242. It was a very good score that was always going to be difficult to beat.

The Sydney Uni Vets openers included a promising youngster (still playing Green Shield, i.e. Under 16’s), a very good batsman who showed maturity beyond his years who ended up hitting a half century. Richard and Joe jnr opened the bowling for the PCA. Richard bowled with good pace and aggression but Joe jnr was bowling too short and the batsman scored quick early runs. Michael Cant was brought on to try and contain the runs and, after a loose first over, did his job well.

Stephen Liggins replaced Richard after his first 5 over spell in which he took a wicket and looked threatening throughout. The skipper came on to replace Michael at the other end. Together, the pair bowled very well to pare back the run rate. Stephen bowled unchanged for his 7 overs. He bowled tightly and with good variation, and was unlucky not to have picked up a couple of wickets. Joe bowled full and straight, as the wicket demanded, and was rewarded with 3 wickets, all bowled.

To its credit, the opposition fought back with some big hitting from a couple of their middle order batsmen, who took toll of some loose bowling in the latter stages of the innings to get a sniff of an unlikely victory. However, when Richard and Joe jnr were then re-introduced into the attack, they bowled tightly and managed to ward off the threat. Ultimately, the batsmen found the task too difficult and finished 30 runs short.

PCA 7-242 (37 Overs) def Sydney Uni Vets 7-207 (37 overs)

The team:
Joe Scarcella (c), Michael Cant, Richard Dixon, Stephen Liggins, Bob Stephens, Joe Scarcella jnr, Ian Camejo, Russell Thomas, Peter Buscall, Jason Bates, Ted Harvey, Bill Stephens

Michael Cant 51 n.o.; Richard Dixon 52 n.o.; Ian Camejo 48; Joe Scarcella 28; Jason Bates 24: Bob Stephens 20

Joe Scarcella 3-29 (6 overs); Richard Dixon 2-31 (7 overs); Stephen Liggins 0-31 (7 overs); Michael Cant 0-24 (6 overs);