Having had a strong start to the softball season the Thornbury Lightning faced their third game of the season, away to Stapleton CC, with the added pressure of continuing our winning streak. Captain, Gail Curtis, won the toss and elected to bat.
It was a blustery evening and the instructions from Coach Harry to the opening pair was to set a steady target remembering that a game can’t be won in the opening overs, but it can be lost!
Between Gaenor and Hazel they capitalised on a nervous bowling start from Stapleton and the runs started to creep up with wides and great running between the wickets from a few missfields. Gaenor tried to find the boundary from a lofty delivery but despite making a great connection was unluckily caught on the boundary with a great grab from Stapleton. Hazel made great calls to keep the pair running and both kept their cool and the innings was finished with a safe straight drive from Gaenor to the boundary to finish on 29-1.
Next in were our speedy pairing of Gail and Becs. An impressive performance by both batters making boundaries and running between nearly every delivery; the runs were really starting to climb! As spectators we were really able to get behind them both including a superb shot by Gail past fine leg for four. Despite all the running the pair delivered a super safe over with no outs. The innings finished on 63-1.
Camilla and Hayley were up next as an experienced pairing from last week’s game. Stapleton had really set their field by this stage of the game and were making some fabulous stops against some superbly hit balls from both Camilla and Hayley. Neither were put off by the strong fielding and were running well between the wickets to grab plenty of runs for the team. Camilla was so enthusiastic after one great strike she tripped on thin air and almost had to crawl to the crease! We are pleased to say Camilla easily made it in to her crease despite her fall and walked away with minimal bruises. It was an entertaining innings by both batters finishing on 94-1.
So it was now time to have some fun. Emma was finding the boundary around the whole park and Olivia, despite facing continued strong fielding from Stapleton, kept pushing for sneaky twos when the opposition were able to stop her strong hitting from reaching the boundary. Both batters played strong but sensible cricket keeping the ball along the ground to finish TCC’s innings on 139-1, our highest total of the season yet.
We were back out to field and Gail set our field to defend the favoured leg side shots, in particular the pull shot!
This tactic worked a treat and the runs were kept to a minimum. An early wicket, from a sharp throw from Becs straight into wicker keeper Gaenor’s hands, saw an easy run out. Stapleton were now flustered and faced an ever demanding run rate after the first pair finished on 18-1.
The bowling was going well as wide and no balls were being kept to a minimum by TCC; however, we were faced with a talented batting pair who were scoring runs. A few byes and slight misfields helped this middle batting pair for Stapleton but there was still some fantastic commitment in the field from TCC. Becs made a leap at the boundary to bat down an otherwise sure six back into the field forcing Stapleton to run for a mere single. This was quickly followed, just a few balls later, by Gail making the same leap of commitment to bat another sure six down with her left hand. After eight overs Stapleton were on 48-1.
Not wanting to make life too easy for ourselves, the TCC ladies, in subconscious unison, decided to have a Looney Tunes ten minutes! The third batting pair were in and suddenly our usual clinical fielding took a turn for the comical! The ball was bouncing through various wild arms and legs, triple misfields off a single ball, run out opportunities missed and two fielders who thought they were starring in Bend it like Beckham as they both tried to kick the ball in from the boundary. It wasn’t until Emma took a super running catch that the whole team recomposed themselves; thank you Emma! We quickly finished off this crazy section of the match with another run out from a lightning throw from Olivia into WK.
Stapleton were now on 74-3 with the final batting pair walking onto the field. TCC were focused again and we needed to be as the field had to be switched between RH and LH batters. This didn’t phase Hayley at mid-wicket who made some of her staple dives to stop many balls and save lots of runs. A third run out was taken to secure our fourth wicket and the season’s first maiden over from Olivia, quickly followed another maiden over from Emma (final economy an astonishing 0.5) secured a healthy win for the Lightnings.
Stapleton finished on 89-4 giving TCC a win by 65 runs.