Forbes Machinery claim Under 12s premiership in close grand final

Andrew Glasson, Darby Morris, Mitch Stocks, Mason Hodges, Steve Hodges, Ethan Ray, Steve Wallder (front) Archie Keane, Ned Glasson, Lennox Hurford, Charlie Wallder.
Andrew Glasson, Darby Morris, Mitch Stocks, Mason Hodges, Steve Hodges, Ethan Ray, Steve Wallder (front) Archie Keane, Ned Glasson, Lennox Hurford, Charlie Wallder.

LAST weekend saw the 2021/22 Parkes District Junior Cricket Association (PDJCA) season draw to a close, with Forbes sides claiming the under 12s and 14s competitions respectively, while the dominant Parkes under 17 side took out the crown against Condobolin.

Coming into the Under 12s grand final top-of-the-table Parkes Colts looked the favourites taking on third-placed Forbes Machinery at Keast Oval Parkes on a dewy ground.

But Machinery were on a four-win run including last week's semi-final over Parkes Cats so there was confidence in the Forbes camp.

Parkes won the toss and sent Forbes in to bat, with openers Ned Glasson and Lennox Hurford putting on a good stand of 15 before Glasson retired and man-of-the-match Mason Hodges came to the pitch.

The openers carried on their excellent running between wickets from last week, taking quick singles where for most there was no run and putting pressure on the Parkes fielders, turning singles into twos.

This infectious attitude spread through the team and no doubt the extra 15 to 20 runs gained from good running between wickets was one reason for Forbes' victory.

Hodges (16) joined with Mitch Stocks (15) to take advantage of the good work done by the openers, who saw off Parkes' dangerous opening bowlers.

Hodges and Stocks retired almost together and by this stage Forbes had sailed past 60 runs. At drinks, Forbes were 0/50 off their 10 overs and when Hodges and Stocks retired they were 0/60.

The retirement of Forbes' top four batters would play well into their hands later in the innings.

Archie Keane (6) and Darby Morris (2) continued to move the score along and Charlie Walder and Ethan Ray also kept the foot on the Parkes fielders' throats.

Notably, Forbes was turning the extras over into high-valued runs, and so when the openers returned to the crease they were allowed to swing freely. Glasson added some more runs before Hodges and Stocks hit boundaries in excellent innings.

Forbes' strategy worked to perfection and the boys should be congratulated for their discipline in amassing a total of 84 for the loss of only four wickets.

Still, a lot would depend on Forbes' bowling and fielding.

Forbes was fielding a full-strength side this week, with the exception of the inspirational Jack Schrader who would be missed in the field for his enthusiasm.

Forbes began magnificently, with Glasson (4 overs, 2/7) taking a wicket with his fourth ball and Hurford (4 overs, 2/14) a wicket with his first ball, pumping the side up.

Jack Dunford (25) was Parkes' go-to man and whilst ever he was around, the Colts could quite easily win the grand final through his big hitting.

He was joined by O'Keefe (11) to get Parkes to a respectable 25 before Hodges (3/13 off three) took two wickets in his second over to have Parkes stumbling.

Darby Morris (2/4 off two) has worked hard on his bowling and his first over turned the game in Forbes' favour taking two wickets in two balls.

He was denied his hat-trick, just beating the outside edge of the batsman before both Walder and Ray completed their spells to have Parkes requiring 25 runs in four overs.

Dunford was back at the crease, but Forbes had learnt their lesson and worked out his scoring area, limiting Dunford to singles.

Glasson and Hurford returned to take a wicket each, Parkes down to their last batsman still requiring 20 runs.

Dunford dispatched two boundaries straight down the ground to have the Forbes crowd nervous, but still excited before man-of-the-match Hodges clean bowled the determined Clarke for Forbes to claim victory by 10 runs.

In the past month Forbes has reduced their extras from 35 to 15 and their straight bowling on the weekend was the difference.

Forbes took one catch, one run-out but the remaining eight batsmen were all clean bowled and their bowling and fielding is really where they won the game.

Jack Dunford (25*) was brilliant for the Parkes Colts, but it was the even contributions across the entire Forbes Machinery side that proved the difference - in addition to sundries, which Forbes kept a little lower.

They should be congratulated on their improvement, having won only one game before Christmas, to finish the last season undefeated in their last five and under the tutelage of Steve Hodges and Steve Wallder have come home to be this year's champions.