Tormenting the opposition

Alex Nooy was in particularly imposing form on Saturday, particularly through and over the leg-side, before opting for one big shot too many and holing out to the ever-reliable Chris O’Hara off Mark Cooper’s bowling. 188038 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Russell Bennett

WGCA PREMIER DIVISION

REVIEW – ROUND 6 (DAY ONE)

We’re rapidly running out of superlatives to describe the quality of Dale Tormey’s batting.

The start to his first WGCA Premier season for the Lions has been nothing short of breathtaking, to the point where just he seems to be taking the proverbial at this point.

That sounds blunt, but there’s just no other way to describe an average of 109 through five innings, for a total of 436 runs so far.

Tormey came into the WGCA with a proven run-scoring track record over a long period of time, and to say that reputation is justified could be the biggest understatement of 2018.

He scored his second century of the season on Saturday against Merinda Park – an unbeaten 177, which included 13 fours and seven sixes.

And while the rebuilding Cobras are undoubtedly struggling this season, that makes Tormey’s effort in a rain-interrupted opening day to Round 6 no less impressive.

He strode to the crease on Saturday at 1/5, which soon became 3/37 as Peter Jessop (2/38) and Mathew Campbell (4/131) struck early to remove Chris Smith (0), Jack Anning (5), and Zac Chaplin (11) in quick succession.

But the former South East Cricket Association star, DDCA and Victorian Premier gun, and leading run-scorer in the 2008/09 under-19 national championships (having scored serious runs against the likes of Australian Test vice-captain Josh Hazlewood, Mitch Starc, James Faulkner, Kane Richardson, Jason Behrendorff and Adam Zampa) then put on a near hundred-run stand with Lions icon Ben Maroney to steady the ship.

“His knock was hugely important and he got the runs when we needed them,” said Lions captain-coach Rob Elston of Tormey’s 177.

“The most pleasing fact was that he batted with absolute patience as Merinda Park had a plan to bowl dry outside off with a packed off side field, but he got through that, picked his ball, and put it away with precise execution.

“The concentration to bat while coming on and off the ground with rain, and not be satisfied with just getting a hundred but making sure that the team was in a very strong position by the end of the innings, was really impressive.”

Elston said that if it wasn’t for the rain-affected outfield, and some stellar fielding from Cobras gun Daniel McCalman, Tormey could have easily passed the 200 mark.

“It got to the point late in his innings where he was cramping in his forearms due to the long innings,” Elston said.

“You know when that’s happening you’ve batted for a long time!”

Pakenham ultimately reached 9/296 from their 80 overs – massive chase for the Cobras on day two, but not necessarily an insurmountable one given they amassed 285 against Devon Meadows in Round 4.

In the only other Premier game of the round to commence on Saturday, Kooweerup has a huge fight on its hands to come away with the points against local rival Cardinia.

Batting first on day one, the Bulls reached 6/224 from their 80 overs with skipper Alex Nooy (63) in particularly ominous form in a clash with plenty of genuine feeling.

Nooy’s half-century from the top of the order included four maximums – including some massive shots over the mid-wicket fence.

Most of the Bulls who strode to the wicket got away to starts, with AJ Walker (33), Brad Reiner (32), and Matt Welsh (34 not out) also key to the 200-plus run total.

In tricky conditions given the wet weather leading right up to the clash, Jess Mathers and Mark Cooper bowled a staggering 67 overs between them. Gun quick Mathers claimed 2/91 from his 31, while his premiership skipper took 4/81 from his 36 overs of spin.

Upper Beaconsfield’s clash with Tooradin, and Clyde’s must-win battle with Devon Meadows will be played this weekend as one-dayers.

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