RSL keep the Birdcage winless

The RSL clenched the Duck Street Shield after their tight win over the Birdcage.

The Longreach Showgrounds hosted the highly anticipated Duck Street Shield last Friday 1 December, with the Birdcage and RSL cricket teams facing off in what was a highly anticipated battle amongst the players.

It’s a fixture that the respective captains highlight at the beginning of every season, as friendships and in this case, family, are on the line in the pursuit of victory and ultimate bragging rights.

As part of the Longreach Cricket Competition, the Birdcage side came into the match still winless on the year, after not being able to carry their preseason form across to the big stage, while a win for the RSL would secure their place at the top of the table before a mid-season break.

The RSL has been on the charge this season in the aftermath of a change in captaincy which saw Tom McLellan thrown the torch, and with fresh faces around the camp, they have certainly moved away from being the ‘cellar dwellers’ of cricket in the Central West.

The Birdcage loss the toss and were asked to bat first, with John Christensen and Steven Hunt tasked with opening for their side, with the RSL bowling cartel of Callum Jackson and Simon White providing plenty of early intrigue.

Steven Hunt fell to the bowling of Simon White for eight in the fourth over, while first drop Chathura Jayasinghe was caught by Ben Williams from the bowling of youngster Jack Marshall for six, leaving the Birdcage at 2/37 after seven.

James Walker tried his hand at steadying the ship with the bat throughout the middle overs for his side but was undone by the brilliance of Joe Ryan, who went on to take the wicket of Jameson Allen for naught off the very next ball.

John Christensen was a shining light for his side, finding the boundary 9 times along with two sixes to finish retired with 51 to his name

Matt Machin was the next man to provide damage with the ball, claiming the wicket of Cameron Simmons for a duck to leave the Birdcage at 5/90 with just over five overs remaining.

William Ringrose was amongst the wicket-takers after tempting Ben Horsley into a false stroke, before picking up the wicket of Dominic Morgan for a globe in his next over.

Dan Fyfe provided some resistance with the bat in his nine runs but was undone by the bowling of Tom Boyle, while Phil Deane and Shane Jones both finished not out with three and six runs respectively.

Joe Ryan was the pick of the Birdcage bowlers, finishing with 2/7 off his two overs, closely followed by Will Ringrose who went for 10 runs in his two-wicket cameo.

Callum Jackson remained alert in the field, taking three catches and a stumping, while also going for just eight runs off his two overs.

In reply, Ben Williams and Tom McLellan opened the batting, getting into their work quickly before Steven Hunt picked up the wicket of McLellan for one in the second over of the innings.

Callum Jackson transferred his fielding form into his batting, knocking balls into gaps for singles and twos before Ben Williams fell off the bowling of James Walker for a run-a-ball eight.

Jackson got to 19 off 23 balls before being dismissed by Jameson Allen, who then went on to take the wicket of Hamish King in his next over for naught, leaving the Birdcage with work still to be done at 4/45 after nine.

Needing players to stand up, Simon White and Matt Machin did just that, with the batters seemingly playing the role of World Cup heroes Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne, as White blasted runs all over the park while Machin was steadier in his approach.

Simon White’s 13-ball cameo included four boundaries and a six before being dismissed for 25 after a good catch by Chathura Jayasinghe off the bowling of John Christensen.

Extras began to kill the Birdcage’s hopes of an upset, with White’s fall of wicket leaving the RSL needing 34 with just eight overs left in play.

Dominic Morgan picked up the wickets of Dan Walker and Jack Marshall in consecutive balls, but the late-night heaves over mid-wicket from Archie Crisp secured what was ultimately a comfortable win for the RSL, chasing down 114 with still 14 balls remaining.

Crisp finished with 16 off just 11 balls, while Matt Machin’s 19 off 36 was instrumental in guiding his side to victory.

Jameson Allen was the pick of the bowlers for birdcage, with figures of 2/6 off two overs, while Steven Hunt finished with 1/1 off 1/3 before being subbed off due to injury.

This was the last match of the year in the Longreach Cricket Competition, with a break over Christmas before action resumes at the start of February.

As for cricket around the region, a Stonehenge will be travelling to town to face Longreach at the Showgrounds this Saturday 9 December, with action starting at midday.

It promises to be a great day of cricket in the Central West and is the first match-up against these two since the beginning of the year.