#7: PAUL THOMAS – 6/41 vs Buckley Pk. NWCA 1st XI. Semi Final. 2006/07.

We finish on top after the H&A season, only losing 1 game. The only game we lost however, was to Buckley Park. Concerningly, Gooch didn’t have a great game with the ball that day – 2/42 off 8 overs. Gooch leaking over 5 runs per over was unheard of. Other than that blemish, Gooch, and the team, had been dominant all season.

Playing at Lionheart, we win the toss and bat first. Mad Dog opens and makes a superb 52, but other than that, we just don’t get going. D Harris for Buckley Park is bowling magnificently. He is a good pace, has good control & moves the ball – he is a real handful. He tears through our top shelf middle order of Gooch, Tuddy, Shane-O and Chops for a combined total of 9 runs. Those four bats make up arguably the best middle-order the club has ever seen, but today is not their day. And then Harris dismisses the dangerous Justy. We’re on our knees at 6/66. This season looks cooked. We just need to post something half decent to give us a chance. We do have Gooch I remind myself.

We still have some batting to come. Ratta & Tyno chime in with invaluable 20’s and we somehow limp to 136. We’ve lasted a meagre 42 overs. A far cry from what we had hoped for, but at least it’s something to defend. Harris has bowled one of the best spells I’ve ever seen from an opposition bowler – 7/60 off 16.

We have to be flawless from here on to win this one. Gooch is bowling with his usual zip & accuracy, with Scotty V playing his part from the other end. BP are reeling at 5/35 but Paul Mills is still at the crease. He is dangerous. We’ve seen it first hand several times over the years. Macca joins him at the crease and they weather the storm. 5/35 has become 5/110 and its now Lakes gasping for air. It’s time for some Chopper leg-spin magic. He starts off with his customary half-tracker, but soon takes the prized scalp of Mills. We’re right back in this.

6/110. One habit I’ve always had in my cricket career is thinking, “who’s position would I rather be in?” At this stage, it’s BP’s – 27 runs to get with 4 wickets in hand. But I know that can change quickly. A wicket here, and I’d rather be in our shoes, particularly as Gooch is hammering the top of off-stump with military precision. We take the remaining 4 wickets for just 3 runs!!! It’s an electric atmosphere as we know we’ve dodged a bullet. It’s moments like these why I play cricket. It’s a huge rush.

Gooch has steered us into our first A Grade GF in 8 years. 6/41 off 30 overs. Again, I don’t recall him bowling a bad ball.

Grand Final – here we come.



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