Paul Amy, Cranbourne Leader
October 7, 2018
STERLING work from Sperling and his Swans.
Captaining Casey South Melbourne one more time before he hands over to English professional player Luke Wells, Lachie Sperling put down a sturdy plank for a prosperous season with a controlled hand of 69 and two wickets against Frankston Peninsula on Saturday.
It allowed the hosts to reach 6-207 in reply to the Heat’s 7-203 in the Round 1 match.
In pristine conditions at Casey Fields, Sperling and Jordan Wyatt (55) added 107 for the fourth wicket to steer the Swans to the verge of victory.
Both fell before the target had been topped, first Wyatt with the score on 167 and then Sperling when only 14 more were needed.
The skipper-for-the-day faced 83 deliveries and hit 3 sixes and 3 fours. Wyatt scored his runs at a similar clip, receiving 64 balls and striking 6 fours and 1 six.
In the end it was a stroll for the Swans but earlier in the day it was a struggle when Frankston Peninsula second-wicket pair Tom Wood and Liam Tonkin were set.
When they both raised half-centuries it appeared the visitors would get something past 240.
On the first ball of his innings Tonkin had survived a hearty LBW shout from Swans newcomer Josh Dowling, but he was soon away and playing the type of meaty shots that brought him so many runs last season.
The Heat were 1-87 off 25 overs and straight after the break Tonkin had a life when Ryan Eaton dropped a sitter off Nathan Lambden at mid-wicket. The big paceman was rightly unamused.
Englishman Wood was the first to 50, off 101 balls. Tonkin’s came off 61 deliveries and he celebrated by lifting Dowling over mid-wicket for six. But without adding to his score he was caught in the deep off the same bowler.
Wood continued on but wickets kept falling at the other end, the Swans striking and slowing the scoring with steady, sensible bowling.
Right-hander Wood opened up to take 14 off a Lambden over, easing a full-toss over the mid-wicket fence, and entered the 90s with a spanking drive over mid-off for four.
He was on 96 when Lambden bowled the last over of the innings. Fortune followed him when Swan Ryan Quirk dropped him at point. Wood hit the very next delivery to cover but this time Eaton gobbled the chance and he had to go four shy of a Round 1 century. The Derbyshire man’s runs came off 157 deliveries and included 10 fours and 1 six.
Heat No 9 Nick Boland edged the last ball of the dig for four to take his team past 200, a respectable total but short of where Frankston Peninsula thought it could get.
Lambden finished with 3-36 off his 10 overs, finding rewards late in the innings. Medium pacer Dowling collected 2-43 and Sperling 2-33, both off 10. All of the bowlers were supported by wicketkeeper Devin Pollock, who made two pin-sharp stumpings off Sperling’s left-arm slowies and also took a catch.
Dowling was one of four Swans on First XI debut for the club. Busy left-hander Quirk opened the batting and made an assured 20 before missing a straight one from Brodie Symons (3-35 off 10); Jared Maxwell (12), another leftie, also opened and looked an organised player; and his brother James bowled his left-arm medium pace tidily and for a return of 1-35 off 10.