After a lengthy off season, Nyngan High resumed its campaign in the Alan Davidson Shield Open Boys cricket, facing Dubbo College last Wednesday.
The lads knew Dubbo would be a formidable side, boasting a number of first graders and state representatives. Nonetheless, vibe around the camp was strong and the boys were keen to buoy each other.
Dubbo won the toss and sent Nyngan in at Owen Payne oval, where the deck was looking immaculate. Unfortunately, mechanical issues meant the town's roller could not be removed from the pitch square and the game was moved to Number Two.
Dubbo's confidence was palpable; electing to bowl first in school cricket errs on arrogance, but the Nyngan lads were up for a fight. And fight they did.
Opening sticks Rory Quarmby and Max Hoare blunted the Dubbo openers, with a delicate blend of good running between wickets and power hitting. What was most impressive however, was the students' willingness to get in behind the ball with a stoic defence.
After 10 overs, we were none down and Rory and Max had done what had been required of them.
Max was run out soon after for twenty odd and Rory was joined by his elder brother at the crease in a scene reminiscent of the Waugh brothers batting together during Australian cricket's golden period.
At drinks Nyngan was 53, but crucially had 9 wickets left in the shed.
Bill lost his wicket looking to up the ante not long after drinks and Trae Smith arrived at the crease.
Lacking the power of some of his bigger teammates, Trae manipulates the field by running hard and deflects the ball very cleverly.
He and Rory put on a few before some (perhaps over-) aggressive running saw Nyngan's second run out.
The Black brothers, batting 5 and 6, showing power that belies their small frames, sent a few lovely pull shots to the massive boundary.
Trae, recognising their natural abilities, continued to turn the strike over beautifully.
When they went, the skipper Tyler Martin joined Smith for the last couple of overs and the two put on twenty in no time to budge the total up to 5/154 off the allotted 40 overs with Trae finishing with an influential 25 not out.
It was an incredibly mature batting performance from a young top order against a good attack.
Dubbo sent out some hitters to open their innings, but they were frustrated by the tight line and length offered by Martin and Brett Moon.
Moon, whilst new to cricket, has all the attributes to be a fine quick bowler, most notably a desire to learn and improve.
The first wicket to go was caught Black, bowled Black as Cooper was sure to hold onto a chance off the bowling of his older sibling. Could have been messy. Moments later, Kyle Hall pulled off an outstanding bit of fielding that would have made Andrew Symonds proud.
Fielding at point, he dove to stop a well hit cut shot, picked the ball up whilst on the ground and with his non-throwing hand fired it in to the keeper, Rory, who removed the bails before the Dubbo batsman's bat was grounded.
It typified the effort of the Nyngan boys in the field. Cody and Naite chased the ball hard. Trae and Rory had great chat and Digby, despite the presence of a fierce and bright sun, has a lovely pair of hands.
In the end, the Dubbo batsmen were too experienced and punished anything loose, to reach the total in the 26th over.
Cheers to Tristan Dal Forno who scored and organised and goes above and beyond when it comes to anything Nyngan High sport.
Thanks to the boys, who were an absolute pleasure to coach this year and will come back strong again in February.