06.03.2011 - Vienna CC retain Winter Cup title
Vienna Cricket Club retain Winter Cup title for the first time The tournament had it all. Controversy, upsets and camaraderie. In the build up to the tournament Vienna CC clinched a nail biting final in Graz against their old rivals Lords, who were back to avenge their loss. The organisers (Tesar, Foster, Schipporeit, Bailey and Co.) did a fabulous job and things ran as smoothly as they could have. VCC, United Cricket Club Seebarn (UCCS), Five and Heronians (F&H), Failand and Portbury, Power Play Cricket (PPC), Ajax, Lords and Pakistan CC (PCC Vienna) participated in the tournament, for the most part. PCC, not being able to reach the semi final after losing their first two matches, decided not to bother turning up for their last group match against F&P, without mentioning their intentions of non-participation upon leaving the hall the day before. How this influences their participation in future tournaments remains to be seen. The actual cricket was scintillating. Starting off proceedings, VCC took on debutants Power Play and scored a solid 164/1 of 10 (Loader 41*, Grasinger 31*). A moment of brilliance highlighted this game as PPC’s Maslin launched himself to snaffle a Simpson-Parker tracer bullet heading for the back wall with one hand at an altitude of around 5 feet. In reply, PPC lost early wickets and never recovered as they reached 110/5 (Grasinger 3/21). Then Seebarn gave a good account of themselves against F&P. UCCS started well with Tesar and Nedoma going steady at the top of the order, until that hamsting popped up again. This unsettled Seebarn a little, however they managed to accumulate 102/5. In a brave effort in the field one or two early 50-50 situations did not go UCCS way and F&P glided home by 4 wickets. UCCS followed up their effort with a stunning game against Pakistan CC. PCC had lost to Lords in a thriller earlier and were now fired up to demolish Seebarn. Were they to loose, last year’s finalists would be out of the running for a place in the semi finals. But UCCS had other plans. With Matt Thurstan leading the way with an unbeaten knock, UCCS compiled 121. Then it became the Helmuth Zikuda show. You could not keep him out of the action. The man from Kirling took 2 solid catches, kicked a ball onto the stumps to effect a run out (“two hands for beginners” I heard him think out loud) and took the last wicket without conceding a run. PCC slumped to 66 all out. In their last group game UCCS fronted up to the much-fancied Lords team. With Thurstan (46*) and Celeghin (35) batting with fever, and really loud calling when running, pulled their team up to 130/5, to the delight of the vocal supporters. Lords stayed ahead of the rate as golden Australian locks flew at them, but they lost wickets as Zikuda, Tesar and Thurstan chipped away. When the last over came, the tension rose. And the crowd of about 50 groaned as two golden run out chances went a begging, which saw UCC snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. This meant, that if PCC were to beat F&P in the last match, UCCS could still reach the semi finals. Pakistan CC did not bother to even turn up at the hall, offered no explanation for their absence and Seebarn’s hopes of a huge upset were finally dashed. Meanwhile, VCC had had a case of the hic-ups. Looking like a bunch pensioners in their game against the tournament favourites F&H, they were completely out-classed. After being scuttled for their lowest ever total in Winter Cup history, F&H sent them packing in 4 overs. The first teamers were ruthlessly abused by their loving fans. Consequently, their next opponents felt the brunt of their wrath. VCC scored 174/0 in 10 overs, with every batsmen retiring. Ajax managed 35, with one Tim Simpson picking up 2/15 and Loader and Foster bagged a wicket apiece. This meant semi finals. F&H eased pas F&P before VCC took on Lords. VCC batted first and scored 150/2 with Grasinger (36*) once again leading the way. Foster, Rogers and Simpson all retired and Vienna was well placed at the break. Foster (2/16) and Simpson (1/10) bowled tightly, but it was the sharp fielding that caught the eye. Lords never had a chance (79/5). Which meant VCC had a score to settle with Five and Heronians. F&H won the toss and decided to bat first in front of a packed gallery humming with support for the home side. As Vienna took the field, the tension and expectation rose to fever pitch. Hannah’s words echoed through the hall: “Daddy, could you play a bit better this time, please”. Such a polite young lady… The Vienna boys did just that. They played out of their skins and were lightning in all departments. Benji ran out Ballard from extra cover, Geoff bowled Britton for a duck and as Benji got his second run out off the wall as Apps was dismissed for 13. The crowd went berserk F&H at 22/3. Chalky White provided stubborn resistance with a well-played 28, but was very lucky not to be given out lbw of Tim, who bowled a magic spell of 2 overs for 7 runs. Benji bowled Knapman for 5 and Tim ran out the number 6 while sprawled on the ground. F&H 86/5. As Erwin and Benji came out to chase, there wasn’t a smile to be seen with a 100m radius. F&H charged in at the Vienna batsmen adding that little extra pace to their efforts. The openers weathered the onslaught and put on 58 of 4.1 as Benji retired with a straight drive for 4. Erwin followed shortly after and it was left to Luke and Tim to steer the home side to their first successful defence of their title in the 25th tournament. Thank you to everybody who helped, donated, played or worked. But a big thank you to all the support on Sunday. It was a fantastic feeling to play in front of so many friends, families and loved ones. And I am ecstatic that the team could make you proud. “Daddy, you did play better this time!” Benj