Hawks off to a flyer
The Hurlingham Hawks will be very happy with the first weekend of cricket action, with both teams winning their opening league fixtures, against respective defending champions as well. However, there's a long way to go, and cricket as we know is the strangest of games.
Still, the Hawks will be content with the start of their Championship campaign after beating the once invincible St.Albans Sharks by 64 runs at Hurlingham on Sunday, and will no doubt enjoy sitting atop the table at least for the first week of the season. The warning bell will surely be that their respectable 209 all out, after being put in to bat, was largely thanks to an innings of 72 from National Coach Grant Dugmore, with no other meaningful contributions, and one should not overlook the fact that he should have been out at least on three occasions before he had even reached double figures.
In his own words to me, he described his effort as an ordeal, obviously rusty from months of inactivity, and the Sharks surely travelled back to Lomas regretting the one that got away.
Lucas Paterlini bagged an impressive haul of 6 wickets, but still displayed far too much inconcistency for an international opening bowler, while Hernan Pereyra, surely Argentina's premier bowler at the moment, deserved far better than already impressive figures of 2 for 20 in his 10 overs.
In their reply, St.Albans lost the crucial wicket of Matias Paterlini early on, to the enthusiastic Hugh Elliot, whose 2 for 26 showed that he will be a force with the new ball this summer. Hurlingham skipper Murray Davis showed what controlled bowling is needed in one-day cricket, returning a miserly 2 for 13 in his 10 overs. Roger Wallbank claimed four victims with his medium pacers, while only Tommy Francis amongst the Sharks showed the necesary class and temperament by scoring 51 to counter the freshly determined Hawks line-up.
Rain had the last laugh at Lomas, causing an evenly poised game to be abandoned early. Belgrano had rattled up a challenging 248 for the Lomas Eagles to chase, who were 13 without loss when play was suspended.
The National Selectors will be pleased to see a half-century from Donny Forrester, as well as useful contributions from Kirschbaum, Ale Ferguson and Arizaga, although at this level and in this form of cricket, 20's and 30`s should be converted into bigger scores. Dutchman Marc Nota showed the way with 62, and as predicted, his all-round ability is going to be crucial to Belgrano's Championship aspirations.
Gary Savage and Diego Lord both claimed 3 wickets apiece, and the run-chase would have been interesting to say the least. My money is on Lomas this summer, as I am of the opinion they have the best balanced side in terms of batters, bowlers and especially all-rounders, for one-day cricket. What remains to be seen is whether they can produce the consistency of performance required.
The Second Division kicked off with wins for Hurlingham 2nds and Belgrano A respectively.
At Hurlingham on Saturday, the 119 of Lomas C was not enough, as Hurlingham knocked off the runs for the loss of six wickets, thanks to contributions from Bryans, Ulivi and Culley especially. Monasterio was the best Lomas bowler with 3 for 21. At Polverines, a similar result in that the 125 compiled by Dragons, including 52 from Hopkirk, was not enough to challenge Belgrano A, who romped home by six wickets, thanks to 35 not out from Villamil and 34 not out from Paul Ferguson. Earlier, Coppini and Milligan had each claimed 3 wickets for Belgrano, while the efforts of Hartwell and Cole, in bagging two wickets each, was not enough to stop the Belgrano chase.
In the Third Division, first day honours went to Lomas B, St.Albans 2nds and Belgrano B respectively. At Lomas, the home team's total of 169 all out proved too much for St.George's College Quilmes, who were all out for 71 in reply.
For Lomas, MacDermott top-scored with 49, with valuable assistance coming from Redruello (22) and Mauro (25).
For the schoolboys, Matias Sakweth returned the excellent figures of 5 for 19. Cavernelis weighed in with 21, but Diego Ameijeiras made sure the Lomas total was never threatened with 4 for 5.
At Corimayo, in a closely fought match, St.Albans 2nd beat St.George's College North by 29 runs. St.Albans made 119 with Fuertes and Prince the best batters, and St.George's North replied with 90 for 9. This was St.George's North's first venture into senior cricket, thanks largely to many hours in the nets courtesy of Marc Roberts, and a good showing on their debut will see them in good stead for their remainder of the season.
At Belgrano, where Rosario made their most welcome return to Argentine cricket, their inexperience showed in a 141 run loss to Belgrano B. Rosario were all out for 76 in reply to Belgrano's imposing 217 for 7. Julian Villarino with 57 and Carlos Geddes with 61 were largely responsible for the big total, with good bowling efforts coming from Longarini and Restves. Good bowling on the Belgrano side came from Patricio Canevari and Steven Nino. Rosario will improve, and it's great to have them back.
In the only Junior League game of the day, and historically significant as the first of its kind in the ACA Development Program, Lomas beat St.George's College Quilmes. St.George's made 34 for 2 and 42 for 3 (total 76) in their respective 10 over innings', to which Lomas replied with 49 for 0 and 30 for 0 (total 79).
Hagans and Duggan shone for St.George's, while the young Lomas stars were Redruello, Birba and Bruno.