Conditions were absolutely perfect for Dice Cricket at the virtual Wagga Wagga Cricket Ground with Riding Mill hoping to bounce back after a narrow loss to Dubbo CYMS during the week.
Aly Hall who was incredible for the visitors in Dubbo took over the captaincy having immediate success winning the toss and sending the home side in.
When the score raced to 0-78 after four overs, things were looking bleak for Riding Mill and they desperately needed to remove Ethan Perry who was looking indestructible on 47, or Neil Morton who was also in sublime touch on 31.
Skipper Hall needed to roll the dice and call upon tour new comer Joel Marks who had not had a happy start to the tour, with figures of 0-21 and a golden duck in his first appearance. In what proved to be an incredible turn around, Marks was able to have an immediate impact with Dave Cox taking a smart catch to dismiss Ethan Perry three short of his half century on the first ball of the over. Wagga Wagga wicket keeper Todd Henderson went next ball trapped in front for 0 and all of a sudden Riding Mill were back in the contest and Marks was on a hat trick. Hall brought the field in for the hat trick ball and when Cooper Henderson was struck on the pads first ball it looked like we may have our second hat trick of the tour. It was adjudged not out but two balls later Steve Kent had the bails off in a flash and Neil Morton was stumped for 31 off twelve balls.
There was a period of consolidation with Cooper Henderson and Shaun Perry putting together a partnership before Steve Kent was again in the action taking a sharp catch off the skipper’s bowling to send Henderson back to the virtual pavilion for 22 off 8.
Dave Cox had an immediate impact in the 8th over bowling Shaun Perry with a yorker with Bulldogs skipper Sam Perry getting a feather on one that carried through to Steve Kent behind the stumps who was having another good day with the gloves. The hat trick ball was negotiated but two balls later, Kent had another catch as Fletcher Morton was on his way for 1.
With the score at 7-130, the feeling was that the Bulldogs were still on track for a big score and despite wickets in each of the last two overs, the final score of 9-168 still looked to be enough. Earlier in the tour, against the highly fancied Cricket Library Podcast XI Riding Mill had posted 6-169 so they knew it was possible but would still require some clean striking to get them over the line.
This total looked even more imposing when danger man Scott Dickson was bowled by Will Morton on the final ball of the first over to have the visitors 1-13. Enter Dave Cox, a Kiwi import & new signing from Clara Vale to the crease dispatching 5 sixes from the first nine deliveries he faced.
The Bulldogs had no answers until skipper Sam Perry brought himself into the attack luring Rob Burns down the track and Todd Henderson completing a sharp stumping chance to send Burns on his way for 34 off 13.
Riding Mill skipper Aly Hall made his way to the middle joining in the fun with Cox in a 49 run stand before he fell LBW to Cooper Henderson. Meanwhile, Cox had raced past 50 and despite Iain Longstaff being caught behind for 6 off two deliveries, Riding Mill were still well on track for victory.
Joel Marks looked like a completely new man after his first ball duck in Dubbo, smashing 15 off just four deliveries including a towering six off Neil Morton’s bowling to win the game for Riding Mill.
Dave Cox finished unbeaten with a magnificent 74 from just 20 balls to go with his 3-6 with the ball earning the Kiwi player of the match honours.
Riding Mill team manager Brian Watson has been absolutely thrilled with the way the team has been performing on the tour so far saying,
“If you take out the narrow defeat to Dubbo CYMS we’ve had a great tour so far, we’ve rotated the playing staff and everyone’s stepped up to the plate, proud of the lads tonight.”
Next stop on the tour is virtual Auluba Oval in Sydney for a game against the Kissing Point Cricket Club followed by the picturesque virtual North Sydney Oval for the highly anticipated clash with the North Sydney Cricket Club team of the decade.