Last Saturday saw the commencement of the 2017-18 WDCA season with the Yarrawonga Mulwala Lakers A-grade team taking on an undermanned but valiant Wangaratta Magpies at Lakers HQ, Stan Hargreaves Oval.
Returning skipper, Matt Knight, got off to a great start winning the toss and electing to bat first on the pristine Vic Park wicket.
Star recruit Josh Lawrence opened the batting with returning young gun Ben Welsh and the two lads got the Lakers off to a very solid start. Lawrence showed the class that had propelled him to be recognised as one of the premier batsman of the Shepparton competition over the last few years, dispatching any loose bowling to the fence with ease on the lightning quick outfield. Welsh also batted brilliantly, rotating the strike and keeping the pressure on the Maggies bowlers.
Over eleven saw a change in the bowling and Lawrence licking his lips, deciding it was time to up the ante smacking 18 runs off four consecutive deliveries including a hard hit flat six to mid wicket. With 20 off the over, the Maggies were reeling and Lawrence looked set for a huge score to start his YMCC career. Unfortunately he was out shortly after, flicking a leg side delivery down to fine leg and picking out the fielder who held the catch. An impressive 47 to start the season for Josh leaving the club excited for what is to come.
With the score now 1/78 after 14 overs, Matt Casey joined Welsh at the crease and the two young lads continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Welsh was brutal on anything short whilst Casey found the gaps with ease, continually accumulating runs.
Welsh was the next to fall, attempting to lift the run rate in the 28th over, out to a good catch at mid-on for a well compiled 40.
With the Lakers now 2/124, skipper Knight strode to the middle looking to finish the job. Again, any loose bowling was dealt with severely as the boys piled on the runs. With only a few overs remaining, Casey fell, lbw, for a game high and well made 48. 3/174 after 36 quickly became 4/175 after 37 when Zach Moore was run out for 1 in the chase for quick runs.
Brock McCabe joined Knight at the crease and they saw out the 40 overs to see the Lakers compile 4/199 with Knight finishing on 38 no and McCabe 13 no.
With a good score on the board, the boys were keen to get off to an equally good start with the ball. The dynamic left arm duo of Jim Irvine and Angus McMillan opened the bowling and it didn’t take long for Irvine to have the Maggies under pressure, disturbing the castle of the batsman in the third over to see the score 1/7.
Some solid batting followed before McMillan struck, finding the edge to see skipper Knight accept the chance and the Maggies were now 2/34 after 8 overs.
Brock McCabe was introduced into the attack, and although going wicketless, kept the pressure on at one end while McMillan quickly grabbed another wicket, sending the bails flying.
With the Maggies now 3/40, a resolute stand was required and this came via opener Bowden and new batsman Nunn. The two took the score to 80 in the 20th over and were looking comfortable, however, with Matt McCabe and young tyro Will Sharp introduced to the attack, things would quickly change.
It was Sharp, making his A-grade debut, who snuck one past the opener to see the bails fly once more and the Maggies in big strife at 4/80. Worse was to follow for the visitors as Sharp bowled three consecutive wicket maidens to rip the heart out of the middle order as they fell to 6/93 after 24 overs. Two overs later, a brilliant run out by Ben Welsh saw the Maggies tumble to 7/96.
Corey McIntosh was introduced into the attack and after having a catch dropped off his first delivery, he got his revenge when Matt McCabe took a terrific running catch to see the score now 8/100 after 27. Sharp claimed his fourth wicket in his sixth and final over to finish with the impressive debut figures of 4/14.
In what speaks volumes for the immense talent of our YMCC juniors and our development programs, Will is the second 15yr old in the last two years to claim 4 wickets in their A-grade bowling debut, congratulations Will.
With the Maggies now 9/104 after 28, Matt McCabe came back into the attack and finished off the innings grabbing his first scalp for the year. The Maggies were all out for 104 in the 30th over and the Lakers had secured a very impressive victory to start the new season.
Next week, A-grade are again at home against a strong Rovers United Bruck outfit whilst A-reserve, B-grade and the juniors all kick off their campaigns.