Tuesday night will sit comfortably among Parkinson Oval’s ever-growing collection of memorable tight finishes, thanks very largely to Middlesex keeper-batsman Robbie White taking charge of a sinking ship and singlehandedly steering it home to port to ensure our bowlers’ earlier good work wasn’t all for nought.
Sturt won the toss and batted but surprise opening bowler Alex Ross set an early tone by conceding just three from a tidy first over. As DJ/MC Sully played Tim Minchin’s Taboo (only a ginger can call another ginger ‘ginger’) from the pavilion, Lloyd Pope (4/24) cut a wrong ’un-dominated swathe through Sturt’s top and middle order to have them reeling at 7/60 after 12 overs. The visitors did last the full 20 overs but posted just 9/126, seemingly below par and very gettable both at the break and for much of the chase. Skipper Elliot Opie (2/24) was the other multiple wicket-taker and had rotated his fellow charges to good effect.
In reply, Brown and Hose were both dismissed inside of six overs but showing the right scoring intent to have us 2/46. Even with Ross gone in the 10th, we were 3/63 and well enough on target with Dall scoring at a run a ball and being joined by the capable White. Sturt were tightening the screws by the 16th (5/94) but it was the 18th over when the wheels really started to fall off. Sure, it was a ship earlier in the narrative but let’s not get too bogged down in analogous detail. Spinner Ziggy Kulesza (5/15) took four wickets in that 18th over, all bowled, to be twice on a hat-trick, Lloyd Pope earning relieved home crowd cheers as a defensive block denied the last but we’d lurched dramatically to 9/98 and with still plenty to do for White, at that stage 23 not out off of 19 balls, and Pope… so White, then, or at least so thought the crowd and White was not to disappoint them.
White fearlessly put opener Stuart Claring-Bould’s next delivery away for six over deep square leg, deftly managed a couple of twos and another six before finding the desired single on the over’s last ball, retaining the strike at 9/115 with still 12 to get now off six Kulesza balls. A six off of balls two and four and White (52no off 29) had memorably steered the Browns home with just two balls to spare and one wicket in hand, much to the delight of a home crowd enjoying the Zerella wines and other tasty treats available on the balcony.
With a rescheduled Round 4 win against the SACA Under 19s already in the bag, we’re two from two in the shortest version of the game with another home tie against East Torrens in a fortnight (December 12) before a visit to Uni the following week to secure hopefully one of the eight Qualifying Finals places on offer.