Six weeks of pre-season, countless balls thrown, caught and hit, new gear purchased and packed and whites washed, pressed and proudly worn – cricket finally started!
First game of the season saw the Kensington B Grade team take on Glenelg. And what a location; Gliderol Stadium at the Bay was a brilliant opportunity for our team to play on one of the most significant pitches in Adelaide; a great honour and one appreciated by all the players (and the coach!). Adelaide turned on a beautiful spring day, with a light sea breeze and a cloudless sky perfect for cricket.
The B Grade T20 playing conditions have been changed for this season. While we play 9 in a team, we can now select 11; all of whom can bowl and field (although we can only have 9 on the field at once). Only 9 of the players can bat in the innings. We decided to take advantage of this and selected 11 players; due to some availability issues that meant we picked five junior academy girls who all played their first senior club match for the club!
Glenelg won the toss and elected to bat. An early wicket from first gamer Ruby Smith, an Academy girl aged 11 who opened the bowling in her first game for the club and finished with 4 overs, 1/26. Congratulations Ruby; many more wickets to come! From 1/8, Glenelg kicked away with the second wicket falling to another Academy girl in her first game, Indira Panelli with the score at 109 in the 16th over.
Super spell from Maeve Edwards coming back into the attack to take two late wickets and finishing with 2/24 from her four overs. A wicket also to Olivia Mulvany, 1/39 from 4 saw Glenelg reach an imposing 5/148 from their 20 overs. A total of 30 bowling extras across the innings saw us not only give up too many free runs but also meant that we bowled, in effect, 25 overs in a T20 match. Something we’ll all be working at in training over the next few weeks.
The Glenelg girls are a great bunch, having re-entered the competition last year, and are well led by their skipper Kate Weger. A big thanks to Kate for being so welcoming and supporting of our girls, particularly with so many little ones in our group. We all spent some time over tea enjoying each other’s company before the Kensi girls went out to try and chase a large total.
Good opening stand from Olivia Mulvany (10) and Maeve Edwards (top score with 20) set up the chase and despite good knocks chasing an escalating run-rate from skipper Jess Murray (17) and Jacquie Manning (11) we finished short, with Ayisha Salah undefeated on 5 and Ruby Smith undefeated on 4.
Speical mention to Jacquie Manning who kept wickets for the first time in her career and did a fine job, with only a single bye on her card. Long-term keeper uncovered and will help the B Grade team chase wins for the rest of the season. Also the matches skipper Jess Murray, who did a fine job in managing extra fielders and many youngsters (who she hadn’t seen play) across the Glenelg innings. Energy was great and the chat amongst the group during the game was especially pleasing; well-done Jess!
Also to be mentioned is young Matilda Stone, age 9, playing senior cricket in her first game for the club and who bowled a creditable over, 0/9. Elodie de Wit, another of our Academy girls, was great in the field and made a good start to her club career. The final youngster, Lexie Mulvany, is worth a mention as well; hit flush in the face by a full-blooded hook from 3 metres away during training on the Friday evening; spent three hours in hospital on Friday night, two hours of emergency dental on Saturday and still insisted on pulling on the Brown’s shirt for her first senior game on Sunday. Well done Lex; the sort of attitude we love to see at Kensi!
From the coaches’ perspective, despite the result, a really good day for our club. These young girls will be the backbone of our playing group over the next ten or more years and it’s really exciting to be involved with cricketers as they begin their journey in our great game. With only 3 players over 14 in the 11, a good fight and the girls kept going for every ball all through the game.
With more players available over the next few weeks I’d expect B Grade to challenge most teams in our competition and hope to be in the finals come the pointy end of the T20 competition. Next week sees us travelling to the deep south to take on Southern Districts at Christies Beach High School.