Occasionals celebrate victory
OCCASIONALS passed up the opportunity to push for an outright result against Sports in favour of some much needed batting practice on Saturday.
It was the first game back since mid-December but you wouldn’t have known it to watch Deanne Lawrie bat or Melinda Park bowl.
“We hadn’t played for a while so didn’t mind batting a bit longer,” Park said.
Occasionals made 102 and 55, with Lawrie top scoring in both innings with 54 and 22.
“It was beautiful to watch from the sidelines,” Park said.
“Her technique is extremely impressive.”
Park herself is no slouch with the ball either, despite a technical change.
She took 4-25 in Sports’ first innings of 63 and, with only 15 minutes for Sports to survive their second innings, claimed a hat-trick in her 3-6.
Park put it down to an improved bowling arm, which is enabling her to bowl with more pace, mixed in with her traditional spin.
An elbow ligament injury years ago meant Park had not been able to bowl fast regularly since.
“I switched styles to accommodate that,” she said.
“But I’ve done a little bit of work on the arm, done some swimming.
“I had a bit of a rethink and I’ve changed my bowling style back to a bit quicker. Before I was regularly bowling spin with a quick ball now and then.
“Now I can handle either.”
It was an impressive display given the time off since she last bowled a ball in anger.
“I’ve played for so long it’s just what I do,” Park said. “It’s literally second nature for me.”
Occasionals’ win has taken them to 33 points, five behind leaders Sports and three behind second-placed Wildcats.
“It keeps it exciting,” Park said of the closeness at the top of the ladder.
“You know walking out there that it is what you can bring on the day that counts.”
Park is not worried to be giving her team’s main rivals a start heading into the second half of the season.
“We always go stronger after Christmas,” she said.
“The first part of the season is spent catching up on good times after six months off.
“After Christmas we realise ‘hang on, there’s something to aim for now’.”
In Saturday’s other Division One match, Wildcats (121) beat City Slicker (63) on the first innings.
Wildcats all-rounder Alyce Jeffries was the star with both bat and ball, hitting 31 and taking 3-12.
City Slickers 21