The cricketing actors of the MEAA claimed back The Credit from the AWG’s writers in a hard-fought match at Fawkner Park on Sunday.
The small boundaries of the North-Eastern oval made for some big hitting with plenty of shots reaching or clearing the boundary. In the end a valiant and hugely entertaining display by Justin Nelson and Dan Connell, batting last for the Writers, fell 23 runs short of the required total. Final scores were MEAA 249 to AWG 226.
Batting first, the actors came out swinging but also preserving their wickets. When drinks were taken after 12 overs, 3 pairs had batted, and the score was 99 for the loss of just one wicket. Simon Todman made 28 and Chris Nelson (donated by the AWG to even out numbers) made 23. Unfortunately Holly Hargreaves copped a blow to the palm of her hand and sat out the rest of the game.
The writers did a little better after the break, picking up three wickets in the first couple of overs. Runs still continued to flow freely though, with Ray Tiernan crunching three 6s in an over on his way to 28, Nat Dean scoring 15 and Ezra Bix 14. 199 off the bat in 26 overs was an imposing total, though the 8 wickets meant the AWG went to the innings break with 40 runs credit.
Wickets went to Warwick Holt, John Pace, Michael Harvey, Justin Nelson, Haydn Growden and Shane O’Neill, with a couple of run outs.
The AWG innings commenced slowly, with uneven bounce outside off stump foxing your correspondent and leading to Casey Filips’ sledge of the day: “Writers can’t make cuts.”
But a couple of big blows from Shane O’Neill got him to 16, and the writers were off. Josh Samuels and Kate Hanley then went out with neither wearing helmets. But after Kate’s first ball struck her on the upper arm she called for one – and Josh soon realised he should have followed her lead when he top-edged the ball into his right cheek, leaving him with a bit of a cherry and retiring hurt with a chunk of ice.
Kate went on to score 11, and Michael Harvey 13, but unfortunately a few wickets fell, and when lunch was taken, the AWG was 4 wickets down for 71 runs off the bat.
A delicious BBQ lunch was provided courtesy of the MEAA, and the sport continued. Egg and spoon, sack and wheelbarrow races were fiercely competitive, and alongside the raffle meant that plenty of those in attendance went home with a prize. Just over $200 was raised for the Actors Benevolent Trust.
For the final chapter of the battle of willow and leather, the AWG were facing a steep but not impossible run chase. Greg Erdstein’s big hitting 18 helped make it seem achievable, but wickets fell all too regularly. Justin and Dan went in with around 90 runs to get in 6 overs if they didn’t lose any wickets, and nearly got there – Dan scoring 30 and Justin smacking four huge 6s on the way to a stunning 43. Sadly for the Writers, it wasn’t enough, with 10 wickets total boosting the MEAA score by another 50.
Chris Nelson claimed three wickets for the MEAA, with other wickets going to Nat Dean, Dasana Smyth, Clare Pickering, Adam Heatherington and Ezra Bix.
Just as the AWG were brimming with team spirit in last year’s victory, this year it seemed to be the Actors who were huddling and high-5ing their way to claim the newly-refurbished trophy, which now has room for engraving for centuries to come.
Thanks to Clare Pickering, Jana Wilkes, Ruthi Hambling and MEAA captain Andrew S. Gilbert for all their assistance in organising what was a day that will live long in AWG-MEAA history.