#13: KRIS McMULLIN – 67 VS St Francis. 2nd XI VTCA Grand Final. 2012/13.

Sure, I’ve seen K Mac make bigger and better scores, but this knock is my favourite and most memorable. By his own admission, Budge had a poor 2011/12 GF vs Laverton. Scores of 0 & 8 didn’t sit well with the Hammersley Maestro. He vowed he would seek redemption next season. And that he did.

We enter the 2012/13 GF as favourites. We have a bowling attack of Drums, Harro, Tuddy and Rashid. I can’t recall a more potent 2nds bowling attack.

St Francis win the toss & bat. They have some dangerous bats but we limit the damage to 171 after a sloppy start. A freak catch by Tuddy off his shoe in close gets us going. Tyno is HUGE behind the stumps taking 3 top shelf catches, despite vomiting between overs wearing his new mouthguard.

The GF becomes a rain-effected game. We have to negotiate an awkward 30 over session. Budge and Frankie open the batting. The bowling is high quality, and just to make things a little more interesting, footy training on the neighbouring ground has finished – we now have 50-60 vocal St Francis fans to deal with.

We lose Frank with the score on 34, and now its Tim’s turn to face the music with Budge. It is a real TENSE session of cricket. I have that sick feeling in the guts. With his best cricket arguably behind him, this innings from Budge is full of grit and determination. He is getting beaten outside off stump, with what seems to be every 2nd ball. The opposition are letting him know all about it. The StF fans are boisterous and not holding back either. It’s the perfect storm for a Lakers collapse. But Budge is hanging tough despite not being in great form – this is his chance for redemption. My concern was Budge had developed a shot we referred to as “The Woolly Woosh” which actually became the topic of a serious chat we had during the season. It’s a wild swing at a full ball just outside off stump trying to hit the ball back over the bowlers head. It had crept into Budgie’s game over the preceding few seasons and tended to rear its head when he was getting tied down. But thankfully, not today. Budge and Tim weather the storm until we lose Tim with the score on 64 just before stumps. Budge is still there at stumps & I am super proud of his effort. I make sure his effort is acknowledged as he departs the ground. Cricket, like any sport, is easy when you’re confident and flying, but it’s how you cope and adapt when things aren’t going your way, that really defines you. Budge has been a leviathan today.

Him and Shags (AKA – The Inclusion – as he came in to the team to replace the injured Disco) take the game away from StF the following day. Budge bats with fluency and all the shots are back. He is dismissed for 67 with the score on 138. He has steered the ship into calmer waters. Shags plays a majestic innings of 49*, and along with Rash, gets us to the finish line. BANG!!!



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