The McDonald’s ACT Premier Cricket Douglas Cup grand final sits on a knife’s edge at stumps on day one after a day dominated by the ball at Chisholm No 1 Oval. Creek will resume tomorrow morning at 7/119, earlier bundling Tuggeranong out for 136 in 62 overs on a wicket offering assistance to the bowlers.
Right-arm quick Harry Medhurst was the pick of Creek’s attack, completing the day with 4/36 off 18 overs. Steaming in with dense white zinc splotched all over his nose and cheeks, the 26-year-old sent one fizzing past the edge on the opening ball of the day to set the precedent for the remainder of his opening 11-over spell. Among his four wickets was an absolute Jaffa to remove wicketkeeper batsman Tom Vane-Tempest, a missile of a delivery that uprooted the off-stump from the ground.
During the second session of play, Tuggeranong first-drop Michael Barrington-Smith said Medhurst had been “really impressive” with the ball.
“He’s bowled really well,” Barrington-Smith said.
“A bit of heat, a bit of pace. The thing’s that been really impressive is they’ve just really suffocated us. They haven’t given us much. So credit to them for putting it in the right areas.”
Opening quick Djali Bloomfield made the first breakthrough, sending the leg-stump of Tim Floros flying.
First-drop Barrington-Smith then joined opening batsman Kevin Chapman in the middle as pair steadied the ship. Barrington-Smith looked intent on playing his typical innings, backing his defence while finding quick singles and sending the loose balls for four. He played a cover drive for four early in his innings pulled right from the textbook, top elbow high and transferred forward as the Kookaburra hurtled across outfield.
Barrington-Smith said his innings became easier throughout.
“It gets easier the longer you spend out there,” Barrington-Smith said.
“You’ve just got to have solid plans when you go out there – play straight and back your defence.”
His growing stand with Chapman was brought to a close when a Corey Ryan short-ball caught the top edge of Chapman’s bat, the skied ball falling into the hands of Creek captain John Rogers as the right-hander departed for 17.
Tuggeranong then fell from 2/42 to 4/45 when Medhurst’s obliteration of the off-stump to remove Vane-Tempest for one was followed by the right-armer trapping captain Shane Devoy LBW for one.
The rampage continued when a rising Medhurst delivery feathered the edge of Eric Witheridge to dismiss the semi-finals centurion for seven.
Four quick wickets had seen the hosts plummet to 5/53. Left-hander Justin Haywood then joined Barrington-Smith in the middle as the two battened down the hatches to reach lunch at 5/72.
The storm had only calmed for a short while, though, Rogers striking early in the second session to remove Haywood for 12 after a defiant 44-ball knock.
Buoyed by the refreshments served at lunch, Creek struck twice in the final two overs before drinks before paying another well-deserved visit to the Gatorade tub.
The first wicket saw Benji Floros’ edge tickle a steep Medhurst ball through to gloveman Jono Dean before the visitors pocketed the crucial wicket of Barrington-Smith. The innings of the iCollege ACT Comets batsman was brought to an end on 37 when he chased a leg-side ball, brushing it through to Dean behind the stumps.
Tailender Adam Ritchard then took stance before combining for a 38-run wag of the tail with number nine batsman Johnathan Whiteoak, who finished unbeaten on 17. Ritchard plundered three fours en route 23, a critical boost to Tuggeranong’s total.
Medhurst said it was always the plan to elect to bowl and was pleased with the side’s performance with the ball.
“We thought having a bowl first would be good and we executed well.”
Before Tuggeranong headed out to bowl, Barrington-Smith said the hosts will need to be disciplined after succumbing to a low innings total.
“We’ve just got to put it in the right areas, take our chances and be nice and patient.”
Spearheaded by the towering Benji Floros (3/20), the Vikings did just that. The right-armer made inroads in the first over of the innings, removing Robert Trickett and Ben Izzard for ducks to find himself on a hat-trick. Rogers safely prodded the hat-trick ball to cover, but the onslaught had not subsided. Floros soon removed the Comets captain for four to put Creek in a perilous position at 3/4.
Dean met opening batsman Josh Myburgh in the middle, the pair combining for a 32-run partnership in vital period of consolidation. Ritchard’s probing line and length then brought the Big Bash League batsman undone for 15, triggering another collapse.
On the first ball of Devoy’s spell, the left-arm orthodox bowler trapped Myburgh LBW for 20, before Southern/ACT captain Mark Bennett departed for 10 to hand Ritchard second scalp.
Shortly after, Creek’s situation nearly took another wrong turn, Medhurst surviving a dropped catch at first-slip off the bowling of Devoy. Medhurst (23) and Sam Taylor rubbed salt in the wound, combining forces for a 50-run partnership. Medhurst’s entertaining cameo came to an end when Devoy claimed his second wicket. This did not halt Taylor, the right-hander striking seven fours, as well as a six in the final over of play, to reach stumps on 41 not out.
Creek will recommence its innings at 11:00AM tomorrow with Taylor and Ryan (three) at the crease.