Grovedale, with its two previous scores being 195 & 190 showed its might with 8/296 against Bell Post Hill thanks to Jordon Moran’s maiden century, the Dubbo recruit of last season going perilously close to three figures with scores of 82, 82no & 99. However it was retired Grovedale all-rounder, Glenn Talarico, now the Bell Post Hill coach, who last Saturday was the only bowler in the competition to take more than 2 wickets, his outstanding contribution being 6/97. Nomadic Talarico is young and clever enough to play each week and now has career totals of 6431 runs @ 43.6 and 261 wickets @ 18.1.
Moama recruit of last season, Layton McCann had a runaway success in his debut season with 337 runs and a best of 91 but last Saturday he top scored in the competition with a brilliant 127 over Newtown & Chilwell to give North Geelong its third win of the season, its 736 runs dominating all 1st.X1 teams.
Debutant spinner Cameron Port took an honourable 2/24 off 8 overs which included centurion Joel Davies (122) and out of form Damian Koliba for 10.
With the Ashes still in our minds I have researched some “odd-Bits” away from the obvious domination of Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad. The performances of the top players I have ranked based on a point a run, 10 points for an unassisted wicket, 5 points for an assisted wicket and 5 points for a catch or stumping. Steve Smith despite playing in only four Tests was the runaway winner with 834 points from Ben Stokes (531).
Pat Cummins had a runaway win with 29 wickets of which eleven were unassisted, the most in the Ashes. He had 10 hauls of wickets and on nine occasions those hauls were 3 wickets at a time. He is currently no 1 in the ICC rankings as is Steve Smith who both dominated the Ashes series.
Stuart Broad took 23 wickets of which twelve were unassisted, being the most in this year’s Ashes. He is now second on the all-time English totals of wickets with 467 in 132 Tests, the most being Jimmy Anderson with 575 but with 17 more Tests than Broad. With a top score in Tests of 169 and 3,149 runs @ 8.9 he managed batting last of 61 runs at 7.6 in the Ashes but his father Chris never made a ton. Curiously Broad failed to take a single catch in this Ashes and notched 4 ducks,again the most this Ashes.
Bowling all-rounder Mitchell Marsh continues to be a puzzle for the Australian selectors. With a career top Test score of 181 he had only taken 35 wickets in 30 Tests that is 1.2 wickets per Test but in the final Ashes Test he starred with match figures of 7/86 including a career best of 5/46. Australia dominated the batting crease with an aggregate 2,398 runs to England’s 2,039 but in terms of runs per dismissal was streets ahead at 33.8 to 25.8, a differential of a solid 31%.Australia also posted two 400 plus scores of 7/487 and 8/497 whereas England’s best was 9/362 in the famous Test at Leeds where Stokes played the innings of his life to win the match after a first innings of only 67.
Marnus Labuschagne holds a place in Test cricket history without precedent. In the 2nd Test he was the eleventh batsman to bat following Steve Smith’s major injury. Born in Klerksdorfbest, South Africa he made a duck on Test debut against Pakistan in 2018, his 4 Ashes Tests with 353 runs at a commanding 50.4. His previous 5 Tests only realised 210 runs at 26.3.Curiously on his Test debut Geelong’s Aaron Finch was brilliant with 49 &62.
It was questionable why the England selectors only picked all-rounder Sam Curran for the last Ashes Test when the Urn was still in Australian hands. Man-of-the-Series last season against crack side India, he made 15 & 17 but took 3/46 on return. With a career Test 509 runs @ 31.8 and 21 wickers prior to this Ashes Test, with cricket pedigree in his blood as both his grand-father and father played for Rhodesia he surely deserved more than the solitary one Ashes Test!
England captain Joe Root made 57 in the first Ashes Test and another 57 in the last Test. He failed to make a hundred with top scores of 71 & 77. With 16 Test hundreds and a best of 254 against Pakistan at Lords, plus 7,043 runs @ 47.6, the 86 Tests batsman failed in this Ashes series averaging 32.5.Regarded as one of the world’s top four batsmen when he made 73 on debut against India at Nagpur, India, in 2012, he did not show his true colours in the Ashes series.
England’s Joe Denly was deprived of his maiden Test century in his final Ashes innings in the 5th Test with a patient 94 off 206 balls.Finally, Tim Paine should never again captain Australia! His batting average plummeted to 20.0, his highest Test score being 8 years ago with 92 in Mohali, India. He kept badly dropping many simple but crucial catches and stumpings for reasons only known to himself with England demoralised with a 4th Test thumping, won the 5th Test and on a greenish wicket AND CHOSE TO FIELD! - thus depriving Australia a possible 3-1 series win.
As the Leopold Cricket Club celebrates its 70th.anniversary as a club on his round in 1995-96 it smashed its all-time 1st.X1 team record 3/435 against St. Josephs led by Clinton McHenry with a brilliant 189 unconquered.The team Highest scores by current 1st.X1 clubs are:
CLUB SCORE OPPOSITION SEASON
BPH 8/456 Highton 2002-03
East Belmont 2/407 Leopold 2016-17
Grovedale 6/369 St.Josephs 2002-03
Lara 6/383 Grovedale 1999-00
Leopold 8/407 N & C 1964-65
N & C 9/531 Geelong West 1939-40
Murgheboluc 313 Highton 1913-14
North Geelong 403 Glg West 1932-33
St Josephs 8/389 Leopold 1964-65
South Barwon 379 East-Bel 1972-73
After just the one season, Belmont withdrew from the GCA and all matches were played on a “divided time” basis. Under-arm bowler George Smart won the “trundling honours” in this round with 9/40 whilst a combined GCA representative side played a “District X1” of Drysdale whilst the GCA announced it would play the “Half-Holiday Cricket Association” at Kardinia Park on Christmas Day.