04 March, 2021
It was a scaled down affair due to some pandemic or other, but the ancient tradition of writers and actors battling with bats (and balls) continued for a 40th year on Sunday 28 February at Princes Park, with the MEAA team comfortably retaining The Credit, but with the AWG putting up a strong fight and battling right til the end.
It was a picture-perfect day for cricketing, and MEAA skipper Andrew Gilbert won the toss and chose to bowl first. Unfortunately the undermanned writers took off on the wrong foot and lost five wickets (each worth five runs to the actors) in the opening pair, with Ray Tiernan (3/8) on a hat-trick at one stage. From there, the writers did recover somewhat, with Darcy Yuile (11) and Zac Gillam (12) batting very well as the second pair, and again when they returned for a second knock at the end (Darcy 12, Zac 10). As well as an early wicket, Dushan Philips took a couple of outstanding reflex catches at silly mid-off, and Simon Todman picked up 2/11.
After their 24 overs, the AWG wound up with 115 runs, and MEAA had claimed 13 scalps, giving them 65 to start with. It was clear the Writers were going to have to do some furious redrafting. The last two balls of the opening over by Greg Erdstein (2/13) delivered some promise with stumps flying, but the actors then consolidated with Tim Page scoring 21, Simon Todman 15, Casey Filips 15 and Adam Hetherington 13 in the top order making things tough.
Zac Gillam (2/30) picked up a couple of wickets early in the final quarter, with the writers holding onto some tough catches, but Ray Tiernan (14) and Dushan Philips (13) helped the actors to a batting score of 162, with a total of eight wickets lost. With batting and bowling tallies added up, the final scores were MEAA 227 defeated AWG 155.
One unfortunate note: as we approached the half-way point of the Actors' innings, tragedy struck when Andrew Gilbert took off for a sharp single and we think landed awkwardly on the edge of the pitch, falling to the ground with what wound up being a torn hamstring. After having done so much to organise this year's game, and many matches over the years, it was a very sad turn of events, and everyone involved with the game hopes you heal quickly Andy. Thanks so much for your efforts.
Dushan took out best on ground for his all-round effort for the actors, while Darcy picked up the bottle for best AWG player.
Thanks also for helping organise to MEAA's Jenna Schroder and Mardi O'Connor, Clare Pickering from the VABT, and Kate Hanley for being sterling support as the AWG co-captain.
We look forward to 2022, when hopefully the game can return to being combined with a fun social event for the industry.
- Warwick Holt, AWG co-captain