On 27th September, the John McGlashan 1st XI Cricket team embarked on a highly anticipated pre-season tour to Melbourne.
During the course of our seven night stay, we would play four one day 50 over fixtures. After arriving on the Sunday evening, we woke up on Monday to fine, warm weather. We then got on the coach and trekked out to the westerly suburb of Point Cook, where we would face up against Caulfield Grammar School on a fully synthetic outfield. Caulfield decided to bat first on the artificial wicket and got off to a steady start whilst our bowlers adapted to the conditions. Caulfield managed to pass the 100 mark before valuable bowling spells from the likes of Peter Sangster and James Baker restricted the flow of runs quite significantly. Caulfield reached 215 after 50 overs and we knew that was a challenging score. Batting on the fully synthetic outfield was completely new for us. Anything of the middle of the bat would gain valuable runs and this proved to be the decisive factor.
Brilliant knocks from Jordan Gain (60) and Josh Preston (58) along with cameo performances from Sam Darling (34*) and Ben Lovelock (26*) were enough for the 215 runs to be chased only five wickets down and with roughly four overs left.
On Tuesday, we headed eastward to Glen Waverley, where we took on Wesley College. We were greeted at the school by absolutely superb facilities; nothing like any Dunedin school would have played on. We elected to bowl first, believing the grass pitch had some offering for our opening bowlers, and that decision proved to be correct as Ness Scully struck with his very first delivery. Wickets at fairly regular intervals from Ryan Whelan, Tom Sinclair and Fergus Keiller really put Wesley under the pump. However a couple of their lower order players chipped in to get Wesley up to 172 after their 50 overs. As the clouds came over and the wind picked up, the run-chase proved to be more difficult than we might have imagined. However another handy knock from Jordan Gain (32) as well as good scores from Charlie Davies (28), Angus Simmers (31) and Lucas Reid (24*) again proved to be enough to get us over the line with around 8 balls remaining.
Wednesday was one of our days off so we spent the morning browsing around South Wharf Outlet Centre and then headed to the MCG for our fully guided tour around the entire stadium as well as the National Sports Museum and Interactive Sports area. It was a pretty amazing experience for the boys and a good way to recover from the previous two days of cricket.
Having won two games out of two so far, we travelled to Melbourne Grammar School feeling confident that we could give them a good contest. Once again we found ourselves at a truly amazing facility with a first-class pitch, fast outfield and a fully electronic scoreboard. Although by the end of Melbourne Grammar’s innings, we didn’t want to look at it for much longer. At one stage we had them at around 50 for 3 and we were on top. However a truly magnificent innings of 140 by their Captain brought them up to 285 after 50 overs. It was going to take something special to win this game. In the end we only fell seven runs short after a blistering 104 from Anjas Bhogal and a handy 42 from Josh Preston, but we lost wickets at crucial times and a few umpiring decisions didn’t go our way.
The narrow loss probably had a slight impact on our performance on the final day against Haileybury College. Batting first we got off to a flying start with a 32 ball 50 from Sam Darling. Even though we then lost a few wickets in succession, a gutsy score of 40 from Ryan Whelan helped us to a score of 190. However, the Melbourne heat got to us in the field and our bowlers unfortunately were unable to find any rhythm, except for Fergus Keiller who worked hard all day and picked up two well-deserved wickets in the latter stages of the innings. Despite this, Haileybury were able to chase down our total with relative ease and it was a shame to end the tour in this fashion.
Overall the tour was extremely successful and I would like to thank our Coach Gully for his wisdom and knowledge, to Craig for being the teacher in charge as well as the parents such as Mark Scully, Jimmy Reid, Phil Sinclair and Adam Gain for organising us and adding to the culture within the group.