A much anticipated fixture began as Quinton lost the toss and we were sent in to bat. Big Dan Eckstein and Ram opened up with a mixture of exciting strokeplay and skillfull negation. Both batsmen made use of anything too full or wide as they laid a solid platform, bringing up the 100 partnership before Dan was dismissed for a brutal 57. Whilst Ram held the fort, we were unable to capitalise on the glowing start and lost 4 wickets for not many. When Ram was dismissed for 40, VCC was staring down the barrell of a sub par total. But just when we needed it, Captain Quinton (32) and Dan Stevenson (16) combined to produce a brilliant counterattack, hitting the gaps, running hard, and also smashing the odd boundary. After our 40 overs, VCC managed a very defendable 197.
Despite putting up a decent total we knew we would have to not just bowl and field well, but also produce a little bit of magic were we to win this game against a much vaunted ACCW batting line up. That magic was provided by seasoned campaigner Mark Surridge when he held onto an absolute rain maker, the result of Dan Eckstein (1-38) inducing a rash shot from the ACCW opener. The grind continued, our backs right up against it as the opposition batsmen settled in. Some great pressure created in the field led to 2 more wickets just as the ACCW batsmen were looking to go up a gear. With the match firmly in the balance, enter the beguiling AB (3-34). With just the right blend of accuracy and clever variations, he managed to dry up the runs and extract 3 crucial wickets in the spell that turned the game. Our noses just in front for the first time in the match, Wali (2-33) was brought back into the attack to really drive home the advantage. And that he did, taking 2 wickets in two balls, the second of which was virtually unplayable. A few nervous overs and a couple of easy run outs later and ACCW were all out for 163, sending VCC through to the big dance!
By Michael Henry