Report card time in the TDCA

Marvellous Magpies: Glengarry are leading the chasing pack behind high-flyers Ex Students in the TDCA A Grade competition. file photograph

Staff Writers

THE TDCA has completed six rounds so far in the 2021/22 season with a further eight to go until finals.
The reports are in for the league’s seven clubs so lets have a deep look at the report cards.
Ex Students (Ladder Positions – A Grade 1st, B Grade 2nd, C Grade 1st)
THE Sharks are tracking nicely and will be confident of featuring in all three grades for finals again this season.
A rumour which was swirling around about Jackson McMahon leaving the region at the Christmas break for a move to sunny Queensland seems to be a truthful one which not only hurts Ex Students chances of winning the premiership but also the TDCA’s representative premiership aspirations as well.
A returning Rob Voss has the team buoyed and after Lee Stockdale was unavailable last match due to work he should return and pick up right where he left off … in devastating form.
Ex Students has been able to blood a few younger players as well to full effect with Zachary Bastin and Nathan Thomson both getting their chance at the highest level.
It looks like the Sharks are focusing on bringing some young players through with their top three wicket takers in B Grade all being under the age of 18 and three out of their top five wicket takers in C Grade being under the age of 16, so to be able to develop players while still maintaining their position on top of the ladder is fantastic.
Prediction: It’s hard to see the Sharks slipping down the ladder too far and they will be looking to atone for last season’s grand final losses in all three grades so this will be when they start putting their foot down and getting primed for a big finals campaign.
One to watch: Mitch Harris is having an outstanding season but seems to be flying under the radar a bit. The star all-rounder is averaging 47.5 with the big whomping willow he uses and his aggressive quick bowling has netted him eight wickets at 13.5 so far this season.
Overall Mark: A. Hard to give them anything other than an A as they just do things
incredibly well.
Stat Leaders: A Grade: Batting – Lee Stockdale 182 runs @ 91.00 Bowling – Andrew Matthews 8 wickets @ 11.00, B Grade: Batting – Adam Jaensch 131 runs @ 26.20 Bowling – Nathan Thomson 6 wickets @ 9.33, C Grade: Batting – Paul Richards 98 runs @ 49.00 Bowling – Trevor Kosterman 6 wickets @ 13.17.
Glengarry (Ladder Positions – A Grade 2nd, B Grade 6th, C Grade 5th)
THE Magpies A Grade side has match-winners everywhere and it just seems whoever stands up on the day will get the job done.
The most consistent player though is Frank Marks, who is having a stellar season having already made 190 runs at an average of 63.33 with two 50s under his belt.
For those who have played out at Glengarry this season it’s quite a scary thought to go out and be bowling to such a deep and devastating batting line up as the wicket is an absolute batting paradise with pace and the truest bounce of any wicket in the league this season, not to mention an outfield which is lightning quick as well.
It means the likes of Frank Marks, Nat Freitag and Al Jenkin all have a great chance to pile on runs after Christmas and fill their boots as they head into finals.
Glengarry’s bowling attack is getting the job done as well.
Freitag is leading the charge with nine wickets and he continues to bowl very quickly as debate rages on across the league on who is quicker, Nat Freitag or Toongabbie’s Keenan Hughes?
Hopefully this question is answered come finals time in March, but for now the debate can continue on.
Glengarry’s lower grades aren’t faring quite as well as the A Grade but there’s plenty of positives still. James Porter is back bowling well and young gun Gareth Waack Hawkins continues to improve each season.
Prediction: Although they sit second at the moment after dropping a game to Toongabbie, Glengarry still look like the team to beat this season. They have all bases covered and have some massive star power as well which has proven to hold up on the big stage.
One To Watch: Brandon Mayberry is a player on the rise and certainly someone to watch for. He’s picked up a yard in pace with his bowling and his fielding is electric so he will have a big part to play at the pointy end of the season.
Overall Mark: B. The club is doing everything right off field and their A Grade are almost perfect. The lower grades seem to be struggling which is why they get a lower mark than an A.
Stat Leaders: A Grade: Batting – Frank Marks 190 runs @ 63.33 Bowling – Nathan Freitag 9 wickets @ 10.0; B Grade: Batting – Peter Marks 125 runs @ 31.25 Bowling –James Porter 5 wickets @ 27.20; C Grade: Batting – Ashleigh Hodson 141 runs @ 47.0 Bowling – Ashleigh Hodson 5 wickets @ 16.0
Gormandale (Ladder Positions – A Grade 7th, B Grade 1st, C Grade 6th)
TO say the Tigers have had a rocky season is an understatement as their A Grade side struggled right from Round 1.
After coming off a season where all the luck went their way in 20/21, the cricketing gods are equalling things up a little bit and the Tigers haven’t been able to respond.
There are plenty of positives so far this season for Gormandale as they have been in every game they’ve played, but they just haven’t been able to land a killer blow when needed.
Nat Campbell would be easily the Tigers best player this season as he leads the runs for the Gormandale A Grade.
His hard-hitting approach has been exciting to watch, but he needs the likes of Matt Hibbs and Chris Lehner to build big scores around him.
It’s been a complete turn around for the Tigers B Grade though who have struggled to win a game in the last few years and now find themselves undefeated on top of the ladder while the C Grade after copping a pounding at the hands of Imperials, bounced back and are enjoying playing cricket regardless.
Some genuine player development is also taking shape for the Tigers this season as Campbell Peavey is enjoying a good time with the ball and Hayden Richards has settled into the A Grade team nicely.
Prediction: A strong second half of the season is needed for the A Grade to play finals but it’s not out of the realms of possibility. Five wins will get a team in the top four this year and although current form may not suggest it the Christmas break might just be the thing to turn it all around.
One to watch: When the wickets get flatter and ground become quicker after Christmas the top batsmen start to really get going so watch Matt Hibbs find his form from last season and make some big runs in the second-half of the season.
Overall Mark: C-. This can be changed quickly with a few wins on the board but at this stage the Tigers get a C- for the fact their B Grade is the only team doing some damage this season.
Stat Leaders: A Grade: Batting – Nathanael Campbell 86 runs @ 21.50 Bowling – Luke
Henderson 7 wickets @ 14.57; B Grade: Batting – Brendan Peavey 89 runs @ 22.25 Bowling – Amit Jindal 9 wickets @ 8.00; C Grade: Batting – Jamie Kendall 64 runs @ 32.00 Bowling – Ben Gafa 6 wickets @ 11.83
Imperials (Ladder Positions – A Grade 5th, B Grade 5th, C Grade 2nd)
RYAN Morley has taken this team and turned it completely around as Imperials A Grade, who many believed wouldn’t win a match for the entire season, currently have two wins under their belt and sit only two points out of fourth position.
With player availability having a big impact on the club with players such as Joel Randall and Mitch Bulmer only available every so often they’ve still been able to identify their strengths, play to them and give themselves every chance to win the game.
Old timers such as Brad Sizeland and Ross Williams have relished in their roles and have become middle over masters while new players such as Sam Morey and Tuan Abdeen have added to the team with bat, ball and in the field.
Morley still has plenty of pressure on his young shoulders as he is by far Imperials best batsman and if he goes out cheaply it can have a massive effect on the rest of the team so hopefully he can get his early season form back where he made 90 runs in his first two innings and continue to shock the competition.
After gaining statewide fame, Imperials C Grade look to be aiming for back-to-back premiership honours with some superb individual efforts being played out, and as players go up and down the grades it will not only help out A Grade, but their B Grade as well.
Prediction: Imps have proved many wrong this season and in doing so have adopted the mantra “why not us?”. So why not indeed? Can they make finals this season? On paper probably not, but considering they’re playing with passion and have a bit to prove who knows?
One to watch: Left-arm quick Sam Morey has enough pace and ability to get some big bags of wickets. Once he adjusts to turf lengths he could be a genuine handful and mustn’t be taken lightly.
Overall Mark: B. From where the club was at the start of the season, Imperials have done everything right. The club’s new executive have been hard working from the get go and it looks as if all the players are working hard on improving every time they play.
Stat Leaders: A Grade: Batting – Ryan Morley 105 runs @ 21.00 Bowling – Brad Sizeland 9 wickets @ 7.67; B Grade: Batting – Joshua Jennings 104 runs @ 104.00 Bowling – Michael McNulty 5 wickets @ 11.60; C Grade: Batting – Johnathon Downs 187 runs @ 62.33 Bowling – Daniel Morris 9 wickets @ 2.44.
Rovers (Ladder Positions – A Grade 6th, B Grade 4th, C Grade 7th)
A SLOW start to the season has meant Rovers will need a strong finish to feature in the finals again, but the young team has been able to get themselves into the season slowly, showing plenty of fight against teams like Glengarry and Ex Students before defeating Yarram
& District.
Dougal Williams has enjoyed the freedom of not having to coach during the week which has meant he can focus more on his own game which has had him score the only A Grade century in the TDCA to date.
Williams has been willing to experiment a bit with the batting order trying a few different opening partnerships, but with himself at four and brother Ewan at three they certainly have the makings of a potent top-order for years to come.
Rovers B Grade are a game clear of fourth, but after winning the minor premiership in C Grade last season they are yet to win a match so as a club there is still plenty to do to ensure they get some success this season.
Prediction: It’s hard to see them make finals after the slow start to the season, but they certainly have the ability to take it to any team on their day. They will miss finals this season in A Grade, but with two of the best young batsmen in the TDCA batting at three and four for them they will no doubt continue to push teams no matter their position on the ladder.
One to watch: Tyler Pearce at the top of the order has been able to set good platforms and be a stable opening bat who won’t give his wicket away. Now that he has his first A Grade 50 under his belt watch his confidence lift as he starts to make more runs.
Overall Mark: C. Not being able to bank early wins in A Grade has hurt, but they should have at least their B Grade feature in finals this season. Off field Rovers are a well run and with all the youthful exuberance the club has in its playing group this C mark will be improved upon by the end of the season.
Stat Leaders: A Grade: Batting – Dougal Williams 215 runs @ 71.67 Bowling – Simon Duff 10 wickets @ 14.10; B Grade:Batting – Alex Rathbone 94 runs @ 23.50 Bowling – Ricky Martin 15 wickets @ 5.60; C Grade: Batting – Nathan Nikodemski 72 runs @ 18.00 Bowling – Nathan Nikodemski 6 wickets @ 21.50.
Toongabbie (Ladder Positions – A Grade 3rd, B Grade 7th, C Grade 3rd)
TOONGABBIE are a team flying under the radar a little bit as they find themselves in third spot at the Christmas break.
The Rams fly under the radar because they don’t have the big name batsmen who smash runs for fun like what Ex Students or Glengarry do, yet they have a team full of contributors with bat and ball who have played with each other long enough now to understand their own strengths and weaknesses and just get the job done time and time again.
If there was an award for Most Improved in the TDCA, James Chalmers would be hot favourite to take it out this season as he’s gone from an honest battler to a devastating striker of the ball willing to take on any bowling attack as witnessed against Ex Students when he made a superb 45 from just 50 balls.
Chalmers has found his spot at six and has made it his own and as the wickets get flatter we could see him become even more devastating as the season progresses.
Toongabbie has some good young players coming through their lower grades at the moment and are getting plenty of opportunity to develop as well which will put some pressure on the A Graders as the finals near.
Prediction: Lock the Rams in for finals and watch them make a few teams nervous.
One to watch: Matt Barry has been great this season as the young spinner has improved out of sight and nearly has more wickets this season at the halfway point compared to his full season stats from last year. As he improves so will the team so keep an eye out as spin will be needed in the lead-up to finals for Toongabbie.
Overall Mark: B-. Lost some credibility after nearly coughing up an easy win over Imps, but then gained it back knocking off Glengarry. Both their wicket and ground have improved massively over the season and as a club are looking very well-poised for the remainder of the season.
Stat Leaders: A Grade: Batting – James Chalmers 88 runs @ 29.33 Bowling – Matt Barry 7 wickets @ 12.86; B Grade: Batting – Gerard Mcilroy 104 runs @ 34.67 Bowling – Nathan Farley 7 wickets @ 11.43; C Grade: Batting – Matthew Stoddart 126 runs @ 126.0 Bowling – Peter Anton 6 wickets @ 5.33.
Yarram & District (Ladder Positions – A Grade 4th, B Grade 3rd, C Grade 4th)
THE Pelicans started off the season in blistering form as they notched up big wins over Gormandale and Imperials but just started to wobble coming into Christmas losing to Ex Students and Rovers.
The Pelicans batsmen play with absolutely no fear and look to score quickly all the time.
This can have its downfalls though as it probably cost them the win against Rovers as they left lots of runs out on the field that match.
Ant Scott has been at his brutal best and Daniel O’Keefe has been superb in his support of Scott, but the worrying thing for the rest of the competition is the sleeping giants of Dylan Rash and Jack Moore haven’t hit their full stride yet.
Jeremy Babb has played some B Grade matches recently and will be returning to the A Grade soon which will certainly help Yarram as their attack can be a little one-dimensional at times. If Babb can get the ball spinning then Yarram will build into March action nicely.
Some big names from the footballing world have been cleared to play for Yarram’s lower grades so keep an eye out for that and although the Pelicans B Grade premiership defence isn’t going as strongly as they would like there is no doubt they will be there again come the pointy end of the regular season.
Prediction: Yarram still have the ability to lose matches they should win, but they will win enough matches in the next eight rounds to secure a finals berth for the first time in their A Grade club history. From there they could do anything so watch this space.
One to watch: Anthony Scott could go absolutely berserk after Christmas and considering his form before the break there’s no reason as to why he can lift the tempo even more.
Overall Mark: B. The only other club apart from Ex Students to have all teams in the top four at the moment. They are working tirelessly getting their wicket and ground right for next season and are bringing a unique and exciting style of cricket to the TDCA which is fantastic to watch (but not be on the receiving end of).
Stat Leaders: A Grade: Batting – Anthony Scott 223 runs @ 55.75 Bowling – Jarryd Swift 7 wickets @ 10.43; B Grade: Batting – Damien Quigley 39 runs @ 39.00 Bowling – Ashley Taylor 8 wickets @ 6.75; C Grade: Batting – Josh Dunkley 136 runs @ 136.0 Bowling  – Mathew Earles 6 wickets @ 14.17
THE Traralgon District Cricket Association resumes this weekend.
Glengarry hosts Yarram & District in the match of the round at Fred King Oval.
Rovers will look to build on the momentum generated before the Christmas break at home against Toongabbie.
League leaders Ex Students are warm favourites for the clash with Gormandale at Traralgon Recreation Reserve.
Imperials has the bye.