by Tom Carden
First Grade rounded out the year on a high note on Saturday with a strong performance to defeat Dee Why RSL and finally return to the winners circle.
In a rare occurrence, the squad was set early in the week and Rob was not forced to scramble up until 1pm for an XI. This was largely thanks to 2nds having a big surplus – Tom Carden, Nick Armstrong and Hugh Brassil (First Grade Debut) moved up to give 1st Grade a strong side.
In a bombshell, the captaincy was passed onto Jeff Porter-Denning for the game. The toss was won and the Plateau were to bat first. In his debut 1st Grade game, Hugh was thrown into open with Rob Minnett. The prospect did not faze him in the slightest, as the two put on 72 for the opening stand. Rob fell LBW to spin for 34. Hugh wasn’t troubled by Dee Why strike bowler Matt De Groot, even hitting him for a great 6.
After drinks Hugh raised his bat for a 50, just before he was out caught. Tragically a recount by the scorers found that he was only on 48, but it was a fantastic innings none-the-less. Lachlan Johnson took over the ascendancy and carved out 45. The flood gates opened as the innings went on and there were plenty of contributers: James Price slapped a handy 28 not out, Steve Albanese hit 27 and Papandrea 20. The Plateau concluded the 35 over innings at a massive 8/249 – a run rate of 7.1.The Dee Why lineup had a few good hitters and they certainly made CPCC fight hard in the field to seal victory. Jeff Porter-Denning was unstoppable again with the ball. Despite Dee Why travelling above the required run rate for a good part of the early innings, Jeff still managed figures of 3/13 off 7 amongst the chaos. However it was Lachlan that drove home a man of the match performance, taking an impressive 6/47 (bonus shearer points!!!). The flow of runs stopped when the Dee Why hitters fell and from there the Plateau cruised to a bonus point victory.
The win keeps Firsts in reaching distance of the top 4, just 5 points adrift albeit in 7th place. A strong showing after Christmas could see the Plateau moving back up the ladder.