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Firsts on the verge of drought-breaking win

Posted: 31-Jan-2017 by Cricket Senior

Firsts on the verge of drought-breaking win

Maccabi AJAX’s First XI is strongly placed to register its maiden win of the season, after restricting ladder-leaders South Yarra to 163 in the first innings of their two-day match at Gary Smorgon Oval on Sunday.

After managing just three wickets in the previous nine matches, skipper Benji Jones returned to familiar form claiming figures of 5/29 from 16 overs – his second First XI five-wicket haul.

“Without a doubt that was our best day of cricket for the season but as I said to the boys post game, we should be content with how we went but not satisfied until we win the game next week,” Jones told The AJN.

Albert Park basked in glorious sunshine for the opening day of the Mercantile A-Grade top versus bottom clash and it was the visitors who gained the early upper hand, winning the toss and electing to bat first in perfect conditions.

“Josh Jones opened the bowling and did a terrific job. He bowled with heart and gusto as he usually does,” Benji Jones said.

The fiery quick struck early in his spell, courtesy of a brilliant one-handed catch down the leg side by wicketkeeper Levi Rosenbaum.

The Firsts’ leading wicket taker Dov Paltiel was introduced and had immediate success, removing the dangerous South Yarra captain for ten, this time thanks to a freak one-handed effort by Steven Lustig at short mid-wicket.  

A partnership brewed as the tea break approached, however an inspired bowling change from Jones brought about a key wicket as the Yarras reached the interval at 3/108 after 40 overs.

In the absence of frontline spinner Simon Fisher, Jones stuck with the part-time off-spin of Aaron Fetter and it proved a fruitful exercise.

Fetter, who had previously bowled five overs for the season went onto bowl 20 overs straight and claim economical figures of 2/40.

Jones reaped the benefits at the other end, breaking through regularly on his way to a match-defining five-wicket haul.

Firsts skipper Benji Jones spoke to J-Air Radio's 'On the Ball on Monday night. 

Josh Jones returned for a second spell and did not disappoint, finishing with 2/28 from 14 overs.

The Jackas’ improved effort in the field and constant pressure saw them dismiss the top side for 163.

Openers Steven Lustig and Fetter got through the final seven overs of the day unscathed, leaving the Jackas a further 157 runs for victory next Sunday.


“It’s a really good chance for us to break our duck for the season against the competition’s benchmark,” Jones said.

“Sunday is the Club’s annual Family Day and 2006/07 Premiership Reunion, so it’d be great if we could get the job done in front of all the past players and Club supporters.”

Meanwhile, the Second XI proved too strong for fourth-placed Melbourne Cobras, securing a 14-run win at Fawkner Park.

Batting first, Justin Kramersh marked his Club return with a blistering 72, a knock that included six boundaries, as he helped lift his side’s total to 9/153 after 45 overs.


Clinton Bricker (3/17) and Simon Fisher (3/25) bowled the Jackas to victory, as the Cobras were dismissed for 139 in the 35th over.

The Saturday XI notched their third win in a row, easily accounting for Barnawartha North by 130 runs at Gary Smorgon Oval.

The Jackas piled on the runs, reaching 5/222 at the end of their allotted 45 overs.

Allrounder Reece Israel starred with a classy innings of 90* and then claimed 2/6 with the ball.


Youngsters Bailey Epstein (3/16) and Corey Zielinski (2/21) also impressed as the visitors were rolled for 92.

The Third XI suffered a 64-run loss at home to Toorak Prahran.

The visitors set the Jackas a gettable total of 153, however the Thirds could only muster 9/88 from 40 overs.


Evergreen veteran Barry Kave claimed his best figures of the season (3/25), while youngster Ben Kupshik chipped in with 3/27.

With the bat, opener Zac Aflalo top-scored with 32.

The First XI continues their two-day match at Gary Smorgon Oval this Sunday February 5 from 1pm.