Trafalgar Cricket Club has enjoyed its time on the field in recent weeks, with some good performance across the board.
A Grade action saw an improbable win against Morwell, making up for loss to Mirboo North the previous week.
In the game against Morwell, while the scoreboard says Traf won by nine wickets, the full story is this game looked all but certain to end in a draw for 95 per cent of the day.
Making the trip to Keegan Street Reserve, the Ships decided to bowl first after winning the toss.
Jackson Noonan struck in his first over, and had another not long after.
Morwell was reduced to 3/23 following the worst run out in local cricket history, before the middle order got a partnership going.
Play was stopped twice during the innings. The first for around 20 minutes, and the second after 43 overs when umpires raised concerns over the run-ups.
At that stage, Morwell declared, players had tea, and waited, and waited and waited.
In what was surely the latest start time to a second innings ever, Trafalgar started batting at 5pm.
The rulebook was given a good going over, and the total required for the Ships set to 104 off 20 overs to win on Duckworth-Lewis.
Rhys Holdsworth was sent out to open with Aiden George, and the two played their shots to see the side to 50 in no time.
Noonan was put up to three to pinch-hit, and played the support role superbly, as he and Holdsworth saw the visitors over the line with 14 balls to spare.
A good contest against Moe followed, with Trafalgar helped out by their friends at Toongabbie Cricket Club, who loaned left arm orthodox Matt Barry for the day.
Another close game followed, although this was butchered in circumstances you wouldn’t believe against Centrals.
Needing to stabilise, the Ships did just that with victory over Traralgon West.
In a game eerily similar to the 2019/20 semi, Traf won with two wickets in hand, with the winning runs coming from the number 10 via a flick fine.
And just like that semi, captain Aydan Connolly getting run out made for a closer game than perhaps it should have been.
Traf bowled first and restricted their opponents to 148.
The chase was in cruise control for most of the first two sessions, before a direct hit saw Connolly short of his ground.
From there, the Ships lost a few wickets on the run home, but were able to scratch out the required runs with a handful of overs remaining.
Trafalgar collected a bonus point with a fairly bruise-free win over CATS the next week.
The Ships defeated CATS by eight wickets, in a match that became a ‘let’s get this over with’ affair.
Playing at Moe Racecourse, CATS actually travelled further to play a home game than their opponents.
The home side batted first, but could only manage 71, as Trafalgar’s bowlers all came to the party.
Noonan took 2/21 with the new ball and Zack Brown’s hamstring made a miraculous recovery after he grabbed an early wicket, finishing with 3/23.
Connolly mopped up, playing the role of vulture to perfection in his 3/16.
With not many to get, and with Trafalgar scorer Lindsay George threatening not to return in 2023 if the Ships lost, the visitors were in a bit of trouble at 2/11, but from there, were able to get to the target comfortably.
Connolly played well for an unbeaten 40, partnering with Liam White in a 64-run stand.
Trafalgar moved into two-dayers after Christmas, picking up their season from there.
The Seconds got their season underway at Northern Reserve, Morwell, playing Churchill.
Some fireworks from Blake Zimora down the order saw him make a counterattacking 30.
Zima sent a ball over the fence, adding to his bomb tally from last season.
A rescue effort from Burgess and Brendan Dawson saw Trafalgar to a total of 146 batting first in the next game against Latrobe.
The pair put on 93 for the fourth wicket, picking up the pieces following some early carnage.
A captain’s knock of 59 from Coop and 46 from Dawson enabled the score to stretch out as close to 150 as possible.
Youngster James Pace then set a strong tone, taking a wicket in the first over, and was ably backed up by those who followed.
Darren Brown was miserly, returning figures of 1/24 off nine with two maidens.
Some tense moments came late in the piece, but Burgess’ heroics followed his batting, taking a five-fa to ensure the Ships stayed ahead of the game.
Mark Smith got the side off the park and into the winner’s circle.
Smithy, with ice in his veins coming back for his second spell, grabbed the last two wickets, ending with figures of 2/11 off five overs.
Trafalgar put up a 200-plus score the following week against Churchill (again), which proved to be enough batting at Northern Reserve.
A 45-run partnership between Christian Burgess and Billy Claridge motored the score along, with the latter striking at more than 100.
Burgess Senior showed no signs of rust, on the day at least, scoring a fine 82 opening the batting.
He combined with Zack Brown, who made a captain’s knock of 40 in an 80-run partnership.
All three top-scorers hit sixes in their effort.
The bowlers then came to the party, and reduced Churchill to 4/23, from which time there was little recovery.
Brent Claridge took three of the first four wickets to fall, while it must have been Burgess’ day, claiming a wicket with a ball that hit the base of leg stump on the second bounce.
Traf lost the next game, although a score of 62 to Billy Claridge made for some positives.
The Ships turned around the result seven days later, posting a huge score up at Willow Grove.
It was tee-off time as Traf sent the ball to all parts of Willow Grove Rec Reserve.
The Ships put up a huge total close to 250, as the middle order feasted on the opposition bowling.
Billy Claridge’s 46 came off just 23 balls and included six sixes, while Connor Dastey played a swashbuckling cameo of 35 off 21 with three sixes.
We are told one of those sixes would have kept going to Traf if it wasn’t for the coaches box intercepting it.
The Burgess’ played little more within themselves, with Cooper making 61 and Christian 45
The Ships then made it an early day, bowling their opponents out cheaply.
James Pace did the damage up top, before Claridge came on and got what we are sure was a five-fa he worked hard for.
A nice moment came with Mitch Claridge taking a catch off his older brother as he got one for the mantle and did his average no harm with 5/1 off 5.2 overs.
C Grade has enjoyed the chance to get on the park when they can.
Their first match was a rain-soaked affair in the Callignee mountains, so much so it was decided not to even waste a new ball.
The game against Yallourn North ended up being quite bizarre.
Traf was 6/11, but then Anthony Faltum and young Will Mills combined for a great 98-run partnership for the seventh wicket, taking the score up to a defendable 109.
The Ships were able to defend just that, rolling their opponents for 71.
Falts was brilliant, scoring 59 not out in a rescue effort batting at number eight, while Mills showed maturity to score 24 not out.
Wickets then went to Zak Larkin and Liam Smith.
More unusual things happened in the game against Boolarra.
Batting first up at Boolarra No 2, the Ships were skittled for just 82.
Extras top scored on 20, while only three players managed double figures.
Despite this, an inspired effort with the ball led to a Trafalgar victory.
Victory appeared a long shot when Jeeralang-Boolarra was 3/50, but a wicket to Smith Junior swung momentum dramatically.
From there, the Ships were able to strike at regular intervals, and win by 19 runs.
Traf took 7/12 to complete the win.
The bowers showcased good accuracy, getting six wickets bowled and another lbw among them.
Youngster Zak Larkin took the winning wicket, to go with three for the game.
Seniors Brent Claridge and Steve Asmussen were miserly, taking 2/6 and 2/9 respectively.
Bowling saved the day again against Mirboo North.
The Ships gave themselves something to defend, scratching out triple figures at home.
Brent Claridge made 23 up top and Memphis McQualter 19 down the order to help the cause.
Traf was able to strike early with the ball, and just kept striking.
The first wicket fell with the score on three, and the third with the score on nine.
A little while later, it was 5/35, and before too long, all out for 60.
Darren Brown was the pick of the seamers, ending with amazing figures of 2/13 off eight with five maidens.
Young Zak Larkin also gave little away, taking 2/16 off eight with three maidens.
Other wicket-takers were Claridge, Smithy Senior, Olly White, Shane Lanham, and Adam Carlson, while Craig White conceded just five runs in four overs.
- Trafalgar players celebrate a wicket in a one-day match.
- The time-hounored tradition of afternoon tea has made a welcome return this season. Trafalgar’s reputation for providing one of the best spreads in the competition continues to be upheld.