11 September 2017
CHK Dragons opened their account for the 2017/2018 season as they beat HKCC Optimists by 3 wickets with 7 balls to stare, after rain on Saturday and early on Sunday morning had delayed the start until 10.30am with HKCC Optimits winning the toss and electing to bat with the match reduced to 42 overs per side.
Dragons struck almost immediately as Travis Smithson was caught by skipper Damien Yee off Siegfried Wai, despite this early upset Optimists kept the score ticking along at a decent tempo after losing Santosh Lyer with the score 33, caught at slip by Richard Waite off off Henry Siu before David Jacquier (47) and Courtney Kruger (74) added 69 for the third wicket before Jacquier was trapped LBW by orthodox left arm spinner Ka U Lynn. Optimists through Kruger and Hamish Dickie moved on to 147 in the 21st over before Kruger fell coaught by Anthony Marrin coming in on the Long On boundary off the bowling of Lynn. At this point Optimists would have been expecting a score somewhere in excess of 250 as the Dragons bowlers were showing signs of wilting under the intense sun, but a 3 over burst from Nigel Sun (4 for 19) was the catalyst for a late innnings surge by the Dragons bowlers that saw them knock over the last 6 Optimists wickets for just 77 runs with Sun's first 3 over spell seeing him take 2 for 8, including being on a hat trick. Sun's momentum changing spell was also supported by Siegfried Wai who return to continue on from his opening spell and Danny Lee who picked up one himself, caught by keeper Bobby Chan and also deflected a return drive on to the stumps to run out the unfortunate David Marriott. Sun then wrapped up the Optimists innings as Eddy Ang caught a top edged pulled with Optimists all out for 224 with 33 balls still to bat.
Dragons reply got off to a slightly less dramtic start but Optimists did make inroads as they reduced Dragons to 50 for in 14th over before Richard Waite (138) and Anthony Marrin (16) put 88 on for the 4th wicket, before Marrin was bowled by Brenton McDonald with the score on 138 for 4 in the 29th over. Further partnerships of 26 with Eddy Ang and 43 with Henry Siu (18) saw Waite pass his 100 and edge the Dragons closer to their target of 225 in 42 overs. The dismissal of Waite in the 40th over caught and bowled by Santosh Lyer with the score on 217 for 7 saw the Dragons needing 8 to win from 14 balls with first innings hero Nigel Sun at the crease with Keeper Bobby Chan, the pair edged Dragons ever closer before with 7 balls to spare Sun flicked one off his legs to bring the points home and secure Dragons first win of the season.
Dragons Head Coach, Chris Pickett said, "after getting our first win last season at this level and having several matches where we felt we had let winning position slip through a combination of inexperience and just not handling the pressure, the guys were determined this year to get an early win and also beat one of the teams we felt we had let a win to. Myself and skipper Damien Yee look through some of the stats for last season and saw that our batters were just not giving themselves a chance to get in with a high percentage of dismissals from less than 10 balls faced. We challenged the guys to target when the got to the crease batting beyond 10 balls. It seems an obvious point but it is clear already that this has helped the guys focus themselves and as a result we have had only a couple of our dismissals under 10 balls faced, this has seen has bat right through our innings in both matches and also helped us recover from a mid innings collapse in match one and today take the game all the way for a win.
Of course Richard Waite's knock was important and as the guys commented afterwards for them to bat with him with his experience really helps them in the middle to build their innings. With the ball it was great to see everyone contribute but I was particularly happy for Nigel Sun, who has been somewhat on the fringe for the last year but over the last few months has really put the time in to develop his bowling to the point where he is really confident with his gameplan and where he needs to put the ball which he showed today as he bowled a momentum changing spell to help us fight back from a period when the Optimist batters were getting on top".
Dragons next match is a return fixture against HKCC Optimists at HKCC on Sunday 5th November.