Riddell re-learns lost art

Matthew Darby starred with bat and ball. Picture Damian Visentini

Sometimes cricket is more a mental game than physical, and Riddell is hoping to conquer the mental demons that plagued players in last season’s Gisborne and District Cricket Association McIntyre Cup.

Riddell struggled to chase down totals and was ultimately made to pay with a loss in the first week of finals.

On Saturday, Riddell faced its first test against Sunbury, as a pointer to whether it had overcome its issues.

Sunbury had made 8-171 off its 40 overs, Heath Boffey top-scoring with 47 not out.

Matthew Darby led the Riddell charge, making 59 not out of his side’s 5-172 after taking 2-26.

Riddell coach Heath Wadden was rapt his side had passed the test with flying colours.

“It was one of our best wins for a long time. We were under the pump for the last 20 overs and needed seven to eight runs an over.

“We ended up chasing down 170-odd; we have turned a corner.”

“Matt [Darby] is only training once a week at the moment,” Wadden said. “He’s trying out for the Essendon VFL side and has been training hard for that.”

The coach said that with five new faces on the team he couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season.

“We were mentally beat late last year and couldn’t chase down a lot of totals.

“We got a bit busy picking up blokes who could hold a bat.

“In our line-up, our number seven through to 11 can bat in any order,” Wadden said. “Matt batted at 11 in the first round and we brought him up to five this week.

“Hayden Ross, our standout with the bat in round one, didn’t bat this week.”

CLICK HERE for more pictures and photo sales from this match

Wadden said other new players Cameron Clayton, Michael Treweek and Matthew Shaughnessy had all played their roles.

And Riddell expects to get even stronger.

“The benefit of having these extra players means we have a bit more depth,” Wadden said.

“Players are making runs in the twos. Michael Day, who played a lot in the firsts last season, made 70-odd and put his hand up.

“Jack Baker missed this week and will be back and our best bowler, Cameron Moran, will come back into the team, too.

“It will be tough at selection this week.”

Next up for Riddell is Gisborne, the only other team undefeated after the first two rounds.

On Saturday, Gisborne easily defeated reigning premiers Sunbury United.

Diggers Rest beat Woodend, while Romsey and Bacchus Marsh tied.