The final. Manly v Hornsby
Manly 8-161 (39.1 overs) defeated Hornsby 8-160 (40 overs)
The two best teams of the carnival met again after Hornsby’s strong win over Manly two days before. The sun was out, the outfield was faster and it was the ‘pink stumps day’ in support for the McGrath Foundation. Hornsby wanted to maintain their two match dominance over Manly and Manly wanted to win the one that mattered. If their last match up was an arm wrestle, this one was to be a heavyweight bout with 2 sluggers trading heavy blows. One would attempt to land a knock out blow only for the other would counter with a blow of their own. This was a game due to remembered for a long time.
Hornsby won the eagerly awaited toss and they had no hesitation in electing to bat. Will wasted no time with the new ball removing one of the openers with the second ball crashing into off stump. Harvey was equally as effective and when the other opener attempted to leave one in the fourth over, the ball clipped the top of off, leaving him to slowly walk off with the score at 2/8. Will and Harvey continued to tie the batsmen down, slowly exerting pressure. The bowler of the
carnival, Will, eventually dug one in short to the batsman of the carnival and he unleashed a full-blooded pull short straight to the hands of Lewis at square leg. This was a very, very impressive catch to dispose of Hornsby’s most dangerous batsman. By the end of the opening bowlers’ spell of 8 overs Hornsby were in trouble at 3/15, but they weren’t to be deterred. Rohit and Caden joined the attack, regularly putting the ball on the spot, but the Hornsby batsmen were good enough to put any ball hittable into a gap for a well-run single or to the boundary. Manly were fighting hard in the field, making Hornsby work for every run. This was clear with Darcy diving at full stretch with an excellent stop at cover. Just as it looked Hornsby might kick on, Caden snared one which turned and hit the top of the stumps. Rohit was also justly rewarded a little later with another ball rattling the stumps leaving Hornsby 5/61 in the 15th over.
Louis then joined the attack and bowled his fastest and most accurate spell of the carnival. He was unlucky not to get a wicket. At the other end, Archie, coming off his superb bowling from yesterday, settled into his challenging spell of leg spin while Harvey attempted to break through the Hornsby batting line up which had the ability to keep fighting back and ticking the scoreboard over. Manly needed a wicket and the ball was thrown to Darcy for his first bowl in a couple of matches. The decision was vindicated with his outswingers enticing an edge to the safe hands of ‘keeper Beau (who has been super impressive with six catches) behind the stumps. Hornsby’s top scorer was dismissed for 45 and it was 6/98 in the 24th over and the game had turned again. It was shaping up to be a beauty. But, Hornsby can bat deep. Still they ran singles and hit any loose delivery to the boundary. Harvey was unlucky not to have an LBW decision go his way after numerous shouts, before Will was reintroduced, beating the batsman for pace and hitting the stumps. It was now 7/123 with nine overs to go. Archie had another go before Louis and Angus were given the daunting challenge of bowling the death overs as Hornsby looked to ramp up their scoring rate. Louis also featured in an excellent run out with a clean pick up and throw over the stumps for Beau to whip off the bails. Hornsby scrapped out some runs in the final overs to post a competitive 160. It was a see-sawing innings and all agreed that it was a challenging but very gettable total to chase from a quality Hornsby bowling attack.
After the break, Caden and Rocco made their way to the middle. Caden guided a double through gully and Manly were on their way. With a Caden thick edge over the slips for four and Rocco cutting one to the boundary, the openers were on
their way. They were batting well and began to pick up the scoring rate and some ascendancy in the chase. They saw off the opening bowlers and with the new bowler, Rocco chased a wide one and was caught at cover for 14. Darcy was next man in and was solid, getting off the mark with a well-placed single. The bowling was tight and the scoring rate slowed. On 15, Caden attempted to cut one and only offered an edge for the ‘keeper. Hornsby had wrestled back the advantage. Jacob strode to the wicket with a plan to punish anything on the leg stump. Darcy cut beautifully for a boundary before Jacob matched the boundary and went one further by putting one over the cones for a maximum. Hornsby’s innings had swung back and forth and Manly’s one looked destined to do the same. Darcy was set to be the backbone of the innings, but when the spinner tossed up a full toss, Darcy managed to find the fieldsman at deep backward square. When Jacob skied one in the next over, there was a collective intake of breath. A catch would leave Manly in a very difficult spot, but to our good luck, the catch went down. A sigh of relief was almost audible under the Manly realestate.com.au tents and a prosperous period of play ensued. Lewis clipped an elegant glance to the boundary and Jacob played a classy lofted on drive for four. When a Hornsby quick banged a short one in, Jacob chased it, catching a thick top edge which saw the ball sail over the boundary for 6. Manly had passed 100. Lewis and Jacob were batting intelligently, turning the strike over and finding the boundary. At the drinks break after the 26th over Manly were 3/106 and in control. However, Hornsby were not going to roll over. Jacob was caught at point for an excellent 45 and not long after Lewis was run out chasing a quick single. All of a sudden, Rohit and Angus were fresh to the crease and Hornsby were bowling tightly and madly attempting to build a series of dot balls. Angus played a classical on drive which raced along the turf to the boundary. Manly were going
to fight! But then Angus was beaten by a ball that bowled him and Hornsby were on top with Manly 6/119 off 32. Their quicks had Nate hopping around. Rohit was struggling to find his timing and the gaps and all of a sudden it felt this was
Hornsby’s game. Only 2 runs were added for the next two overs. They were going to strangle Manly out of the game.
Nate had other ideas, savagely cutting one to the boundary and square driving the next delivery for four. It was game on! Rohit also found the boundary and the batsmen began scrambling for quick singles, piling pressure onto the fielding
team. It was almost tip and run and Hornsby were cracking! Run outs were missed and Manly kept edging towards the total. Surely it was Manly’s game now. But there were more twists to come.
Nate was adjudged LBW for a run a ball 13 in the 37th over still 17 short of the win. Will came out and pulled one to the boundary and Rohit (who was in the process of attempting his best impersonation of Michael Bevan) continued to run like a man possessed. Manly were going to do it. Will smacked another to deep backward square to the boundary, but did it go for four? Surely it did! There was confusion but the boys were still running! Hornsby returned to ball to the ‘keeper in time to…run Will out! CONTROVERSY!! Umpires confer and the decision stays, Will must walk! Eight down, eight runs to get and 12 balls to do it. If the running between the wickets was risky before it’s downright manic now. Rohit was then presented a wide one and he cut it wonderfully for four. He got another two and the match was tied at the end of the 39th. Manly were going to do it! On the first ball of the final over, Harvey guided one through the slips area and Rohit (21no) completed the single. The elated Manly boys stormed onto the field in wild celebration and the parents were jubilant. Manly had won! They had won one of the best games of junior cricket one could hope to see. Manly cheered and Hornsby were gracious in defeat, no doubt casting an eye towards the horizon and another chance to play the boys from Manly.
A huge congratulations must be extended to Sean and the Manly coaching team for guiding the boys and allowing them to play at such a high level.