Cricket is a game of tradition and the Napa Valley Cricket Club (NVCC) continued their annual tradition this past weekend with their season opening “World Series of Cricket” game, which pits club members against each other based on their country of birth. After a comfortable victory in 2014 the Rest of the World (ROW) team succumbed to a strong Australia / America (AA) team, in what was the closest game yet. The AA team eventually ran out winners by 39 runs.
The game saw the introduction of a number of new members recruited over the winter months and it was one of these new members, Australian John Leake, who had the biggest impact on the game. Leake scored a maiden century on debut for the AA and gracefully retired on the 100 mark to allow others to bat.
Dale Moorehouse and Bijoy Ojha took over pitch preparation responsibilities from head grounds-man Pete Carson and turned out a medium paced, consistent pitch that allowed for a high scoring game. Carson was absent from the proceedings having returned to Australia to spend time with his family after the recent passing of his mother. Both teams wore black armbands for the game and observed a minute’s silence in the morning as a mark of respect to Carson and his family.
The toss was to be key in the game with a new mat laid on the pitch. AA captain Rob Bolch called heads as Calistoga Mayor, Chris Canning, tossed. Bolch’s call was to be in vain however as tails it was and ROW captain Bill Nancarrow choose to bowl first. Nancarrow’s decision looked inspired as the swing bowling of Bernie Peacock was responsible for both AA openers in the fifth over with Michael Rule going for 5 runs off only 11 balls, while NVCC President Phil Bourke went for 3 runs off 16 balls. A long period of attritional cricket followed as the AA batsmen Nick Withers and John Leake dug in for what would turn out to be the game winning partnership. The pair notched a total of 136 runs in their third wicket stand with Withers eventually falling to the bowling of Nancarrow for 41 off 53 balls.
Leake continued his assault on the ROW bowlers and he took a particular liking to the slow loopy bowling of Irishman Andrew Healy who went for 32 runs in just two overs including a procession of boundaries. Leake retired on reaching his century and that allowed Tom Donegan and Captain Bolch to bat through their 35 overs and end with a score of 234 runs, an average of 6.6 per over and a formidable target.
The lunch break provided an opportunity for spectators and kids to venture to the middle of the field for a demonstration of batting and bowling, part of the clubs community efforts. Activities for the children included a jumpy house, potato sack races, three legged races, relays, soccer, t-ball, fabulous face paintings, and an Arts and Crafts area and of course kids cricket supervised by members of the Boys & Girls Club of Calistoga.
After the lunch break the ROW team started the chase solidly despite the loss of Moorhouse for a first-ball “golden” duck as Amritpal Singh hit a quick-fire 25 from 21 balls. An assertive innings from Moe Masood of 48 off 33 balls was the foundation for the ROW middle order as he , Bijoy Ojha and captain Nancarrow took the game to the AA team. The ROW team were undone by great line and length bowling from AA captain Bolch and Tom Donegan who took three wickets each. They were backed up on the field by excellent fielding from American and Napa native, Brett Weis, whose stunning catch to dismiss Ojha, one of two catches he took for the day, was the best catch ever seen at the Fairgrounds. The ROW team ultimately ran out of both time and wickets in the chase and ended up 39 runs short.
The traditional Clos du Val “Man of the Match” Award went to John Leake of the AA team for his great performance with the bat.
“The game was played at a really high standard, the best game we’ve seen in the four years of the World Series so far.” said AA team captain Bolch “There were some great individual performance on both sides, with the bat from John and Moe, catching from Brett and Jake (Radloff) and some pretty tight bowling from both sides. Given that this is our first game of the season that’s all the more impressive” continued Bolch “I’m honored to have captained the AA team and I think that Bill did a great job of ROW captain making a real game of it. The game could have gone either way with a couple of chances that were dropped by both teams and the total of 429 runs in 70 overs shows that as a club we’ve made big strides in our short history”
“I’m obviously disappointed with the result” said ROW captain Nancarrow “but proud of the ROW team performance and happy that we got to be part of such a great game. There were some great performances from some of the ROW team in particular Bernie with the ball and Moe with the bat. We had them on the back foot very early on but John and Nick put on a great stand and ultimately that was the difference. It was a great start to our season and with 14 games ahead of us over the next few months the club looks stronger than ever on the field. On top of that the support that we got today from the 150 or so spectators who came out to watch is great and we look forward to seeing these folks again at one, or more, of our home games this coming season.”
“It’s been a great day for the club” said NVCC President Phil Bourke “as we open our fourth season with another great day of cricket and family fun. A lot of people did a lot of work to put the day on today and I want to express my thanks to them. That includes some of our sponsors who contributed products or services on the day – Clos du Val, Domaine Chandon, Anchor Steam Brewery, Rebel Dog and Napa Valley Body Connect. Without them the day wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it is. We have a great season of games lined up for 2015 with visiting teams from Honolulu, Philadelphia and for the first time a team from Twitter coming to play us. Folks can find all of the details for these games on the calendar page of our website, NapaCricket.com”
Score Summary – Full Scorecard Here
NVCC America / Australia 234 / 4 beat NVCC Rest of the World 195 / AO by 39 runs. (35 over game / 12 batting)
America / Australia Batting – John Leake 100 (retired) off 74 balls (5 x 4, 9 x 6), Tom Donegan 42 off 24 (2 x 4, 4 x 6), Nick Withers 41 off 53 (2 x 4, 1 x 6). Rest of the World Bowling – Bernie Peacock 2 wickets for 13 runs off 5 overs incl 2 maidens, Amritpal Bhatal 1 for 17 off 5.
Rest of the World Batting – Moe Masood 48 off 33 balls (3 x 4, 4 x 6), Bill Nancarrow 37 off 31 (1 x 4, 4 x 6), Amritpal Bhatal 25 off 21 (5 x 4), Bijoy Ojha 24 of 57 (3 x 4). America / Australia Bowling – Rob Bolch 3 wickets for 20 runs off 5 overs, Tom Donegan 3 for 34 off 5, Tim Irwin 1 for 19 off 4 incl 1 maiden.
The Napa Valley Cricket Club wishes to acknowledge the assistance of the following sponsors
Clos du Val, Silverado Resort, Compadres Rio Grille, Tonnellerie Saint Martin, Penfolds, St. Helena Optometry, First Priority Financial, Anchor Steam Brewing, Amcor, Joseph Cellars, Ciatti & Co., Rebel Dog Hot Dogs, Stone Universe, Lyve Systems Inc., Calistoga Roastery, TricorBraun WinePak, 3 rock marketing, Napa Gourmet Foods, Napa Valley Body Connect.
Sunday 3rd May 2014 at The Fairgrounds in Calistoga vs. SF Seals from 10.30am.