Following on from a thrilling and morale-boosting victory against ladder leaders UNSW in the previous round, the Gold team came into round 12 with the wind filling their sails. As an added bonus, we were granted a rare appearance at Petersham Oval. Following on from overnight rain and a bit of softness in the deck early on, the decision to send Blacktown into bat upon winning the toss was a simple one.
While Jackson Dodd (3-12) had the ball swinging around a corner, it was the fire-and-brimstone of Adam Coombs (4-26) that set the running, as he got the opener’s edge, where for the second time in two weeks a sharp catch was taken at second slip – this time Ashish Bhat with the diving effort. Denesh Hewa-Gamage nailed the cheeky number 3 with a direct hit, before Coombsy got the other opener lbw, followed by the Blacktown skipper with his very next ball to have the visitors reeling at 4-14. The hat-trick ball wasn’t successful, and Blacktown mounted a brief comeback. Debutant Talhah Tahir could have had a wicket but a clear caught behind was not given, but justice was eventually served when Coombsy bagged his fourth via a juggled catch at by Ashish Bhat. Denesh chimed in with another wicket before Jackson grabbed a brace of caught behinds to have the score teetering at 8-99. Having played through a fair bit of rain, the weather eventually got its way for an hour over the afternoon. With a wet ball and nothing left in the pitch, Coombsy bowled his heart out but couldn’t find a way through for his fifth, before a rank long-hop from Thanush Gowda broke the frustrating stand and Doddy finished things with the score at 135.
Sent into bat in the wet and dark, conditions finally proved too much and no damage was taken into stumps on the first day. Asif Rasheed (28) once again provided his lighting start, with a rapid 28 and got us to 34. Will Dodd had been playing the perfect foil and was rewarded with a patient 21. John Stewart launched his second ball through midwicket and was primed for a big score until the off-spinner pinned him in front. Jackson Dodd looking in dangerous hitting form, before his unlucky dismissal. At 6-90 and still 45 runs adrift, the game was looking in the balance. Jordan Segal didn’t lose his head and showed exemplary maturity when stuck on 0 for more than 20 balls. He and E-Young ‘Pingu’ Khoo – who is a veteran at the pressure innings by now – took the Gold team to 6-102 at tea. Both with unyielding focus, Jordie blocked out the good balls and punished anything short, while Pingu (19) proved the perfect patient foil. In the end, the pair took the team to 1st innings points remarkably easily. Instructed to up the scoring rate, Jordie brought up his first 50 for Randwick Petersham in only his 5th match (though older brother Josh beat him to the mark in only his 4th match), while Coombsy complemented his wickets with some lusty blows.
With the innings finishing at 175 and 40 runs ahead, the boys were keen to make use of the beautiful surrounds at Petersham and roll the dice to see if there were any more points for the taking. As a captain, it helps when a team is so eager to stay and succeed on the field. Jackson, Ashish and Thanush managed to snag a wicket each with the game petering out after Blacktown made it past the required score with enough wickets in the shed. With two wins on the trot, and two games to go, the Gold team now sit equal 4th. We’ll need at least one more win to be assured of a finals spot, so there is all to play for in the remaining rounds.
Jeremy Jastrzab (C)