by Mr Luke McCormack - 1st XI Cricket Coach
Our much-anticipated week of cricket against the three colleges that we hosted last January saw us depart for Melbourne on Sunday 17th January. With the Australian Open tennis about to start, the backpackers in North Melbourne was alive with many nationalities … and it was packed! So on our first night we ventured to a warm Lygon Street for some pizza and pasta delights.
The first game was against Xavier College’s 2nd X1 - and at 6-38 in their innings we were worried that it would be a short match. They recovered to score 127, but the game was not a lot of fun, as victory was never in doubt and they were not putting us under much pressure by their approach in the field. What it did do is give a lot of our bowlers a stint at the crease. A large band of our parents and families emerged from afar to the Kew school - to begin their pilgrimage of supporting our team. That night we enjoyed the final Big Bash roster match - especially as Chris Gayle equalled the fastest ever 50, in only 12 balls.
The last two Wilding Shield matches had been decided on the last ball, including a tie in Launceston. Arriving at St Kevin’s was like an oasis of cricketing pleasure, as out from the mansions of Toorak emerged the most perfectly curated adjacent grounds - with all four schools ready to enjoy the warm conditions. Assistant coach and York Park curator John Kedey was in awe. His son Cooper amazed everyone on tour with his love of the game, his ability to do the scoring and his energy - not bad for a seven year old.
St Kevin’s won the toss and were off to a flyer, 1-84 in only 13 overs! Andrew James started the comeback with an excellent throw for a run-out, followed by a miraculous jumping catch - aka a left-handed pluck from the heavens. They lost 6 for 9 to slump to 7-93! This was mainly due to an outstanding spell of swing bowling from Shae Weedon - netting 5 wickets in his spell and our sustained pressure in the field.
Fast learners! The last wicket partnership of 28 proved to be decisive as we fell short in the chase by 20 runs.
Stan Tyson continued with his confident batting, but when he was dismissed with the score at 115 we fell away disappointingly. Br Bill Wilding - former Principal of both colleges - was there for much of the day and presented the shield to the victors.
Next door, St Virgil’s defeated a young SPC Ballarat side - and then on the bus we jumped, with our cricketing sister school, for the trek up the Western Highway to Ballarat.
They blamed us for bringing the rain - until we told them that it hadn’t really rained for months in Launie! Drizzle that morning caught some by surprise and saw the games start late. We were reduced to a 40 over match in our game against Hobart’s St Virgil’s. This was our chance to swing the batting order around. Luckily a 44 run partnership for the 9th wicket between Jake Williams and Julian James gave us a solid score. A 10 minute ‘power pour’ in the lunch break did nothing but get us soaked as we scrambled in vain to get the covers on - alas the wicket was too soft and unplayable.
In our final and most significant match we won the toss and backed ourselves to set a winning total - on a wicket that was pretty lively. Jake Williams batted superbly, but without support from partners. In a tour trend, it was our final wicket partnership between Jake and this time, Andrew James that gave us some respectability. Overnight Ballarat had their noses in front at 2-63. The forecast for day two was looking ominous - and when David Mohr and myself were doing our early morning walk around Lake Wendouree (famous for what in 1956?) we were pretty happy to randomly run into an old school mate from home at the half way mark - who drove us back to avoid a pending storm!
Humid conditions persisted, in fact 100% for most of the morning. Few thought we would play and even my percentage chance started to decrease to nearly zero when I saw how wet the surrounds were after the rain stopped. But play we did - at 2.30pm the game was underway. A fitting way to end the tour.
Ballarat were cruising at 2-107, but we would not stop trying. Once again it was some brilliance from Shae Weedon with a run out and a few wickets that gave us a chance. They needed 15 runs with 5 wickets in hand. Then 2 runs with 3 wickets. Then 1 run with 2 wickets. Then 1 run with 1 wicket! Then they won and deservedly so as they had been the better-performed team. This was once again a great experience to play against new friends, friends whose families opened their homes in hosting our players.
Special thanks goes to David Mohr, John and Cooper Kedey for being so supportive of the players throughout the tour. Thanks also to our parents for their presence and encouragement. The cricketers were all debutantes on this tour to Victoria and they have well and truly kept the positive culture alive, as they were outstanding ambassadors for St Patrick’s College - on and off the field.
The rain followed us home, as you might have noticed! The first two roster matches were washed out last Friday and Saturday. This Saturday, 6th February, we look forward to kicking off the season against Hutchins in Hobart.
Monday 18th January
v Xavier College
Xavier 127 defeated by SPC 5-129
Stan Tyson 40, Rhyan Mansell 31no, Liam Ryan 2-12,
James Baker 2-13
Tuesday 19th January
v St Kevin’s, for the Wilding Shield
St. Kevin’s 144 defeated SPC 124
Stan Tyson 51, Shae Weedon 5-22, James Baker 2-35
Wednesday 20th January
v St Virgils
SPC 177, game abandoned due to rain
Thursday 21st January and Friday 22nd January
v SPC Ballarat, for the HT Breach Cup
SPC Launceston 164 defeated by SPC Ballarat 9-166
Jake Williams 84, Dominic Barrett 20, Shae Weedon 3-15, James Baker 3-34