On a delightful Sydney afternoon, the IZingari Australia team arrived at the picturesque Birchgrove Oval to play against the Primary Club. Arrival was timed as close to the start of play as possible, as it would be assumed that many players had to organise external client meetings which were unfortunately cancelled on route due to unforeseen circumstances.
After a perfectly balanced coin toss, an incorrect guess from the Primary Club captain allowed the IZ’s skipper to elect to bat. A steady start in the first couple of overs got the game underway until a shot at the stumps from short fine leg had the non-striker and IZ guest Steve Fearnside well short and on his way leaving the IZ team at 1/13. 'Strongy' Michael Strong (15) joined Mark Lovell (24) and the two built a good platform before both were dismissed in the space of 3 balls, putting the innings at risk of collapse. Charlie Booth(36) brought a combination of lusty blows and classy paddle sweeps to his partnership with the elegant stroke play of Dre Dré Less (24no) to move the total close to 100 in the 16th over. The remainder of the IZ batsmen batted unselfishly to achieve a competitive 7/119 from 20 overs.
The Primary Club showed the type of bowling required to restrict the scoring on what is always an excellent pitch. The new ball was given to youngster Tom Hodge (1/13) and Brett Banning. After 3 overs the pressure had already begun to mount with only 10 runs on the board. Some unconventional batting brought the run-rate back up to par in the fourth over, but the initial breakthrough came with a rising delivery from Tom Hodge taking the edge through to keeper Iain Crossing. The first bowling change saw the wily fox Craig Hambleton 'Wisden' use all the guile and expertise of his 600 wickets to take the other opening batsmen in the sixth over and number three a short time later. Wis took 2 for 19 from his well-delivered four over spell. Tim Stewart, better known as the Dubbo Flash to his Camden compatriots, in his long awaited return to bowling, had three economic overs in partnership with Wis tying up the opposition. With six overs to go, the Primary Club required 48. Some clever off spin from Steve Fearnside (3/23), boring line and length from 'Strongy' Michael Strong(4/18) and Tom Hodge’s final over never gave the Primary Club the opportunity to reach the 120 required. The final score 10/107 in the 20th over.
As is always the case in any IZ fixture the fielding was exemplary, with all catches taken throughout the match. A special mention goes to Andre Leslie who constantly found himself in the game taking four excellent catches. He was well supported in the field by Mark Lovell, whose boundary fielding saved plenty of runs and kept the opposition guessing on taking the extra run with his powerful throws. Both men picked up the player points for the round.At the conclusion of the match, Charlie Booth was congratulated for his batting by the opposition captain and Michael Strong 'Strongy' was awarded the man of the match for his all-round performance for the second year in a row. Both were awarded Primary club caps and ‘rewards’ were enjoyed by many at the Cricketers Arms Hotel later in the evening.
Everyone involved had a great day and evening, as is the IZ tradition.