Ray James claims five-for as Crusaders cruise home against Blues in opening round fixture

LETHAL LEFTIE: Seamer Ray James (centre) bagged five-wickets for the home side in their opening fixture for 2017/2018. Picture: Kelly Manwaring
LETHAL LEFTIE: Seamer Ray James (centre) bagged five-wickets for the home side in their opening fixture for 2017/2018. Picture: Kelly Manwaring

The Come Alive Fitness Crusaders have proved far too good for the S & C Blues in the opening round of the Delta Agribusiness Division One match played at Albert Park on Saturday.

Come Alive Fitness Crusaders won by nine wickets, 1/50 defeating S & C Blues 8/48.

The Young-based Blues – making their debut in the SWSCL after playing the last three seasons in the Cowra competition – were way understrength and compounded their woes after arriving with only nine players.  

The visitors elected to bat after winning the toss and were bowled out in 22.5 overs finishing with 8/48.

16-year-old Jacob Lucas was the only Blues batsman to show any resistance, top-scoring with 18 from 47 deliveries, which was twice as many balls as any of his teammates.

40-year-old left arm seamer Ray James tore through the Blues batting line up to finish with 5/21 from seven overs.

The veteran was ecstatic with his haul, only his third five-wicket haul in a long and distinguished career.

TOSS UP: Crusaders skipper Mark Elia gets the match underway at Albert Park. Picture: Kelly Manwaring

TOSS UP: Crusaders skipper Mark Elia gets the match underway at Albert Park. Picture: Kelly Manwaring

The Blues had trouble scoring from tall speedster David Garness, who bowled superb line and length to finish with seven maidens and a tidy 1/10 from 10 overs.

Garness delivered 54 dot balls in his spell, including four consecutive maiden overs to conclude his tenure at the crease.

It was a case of if you can’t score of Garness, score off James and the left armer happily reaped the reward.    

The Come Alive Fitness Crusaders took just 7.1 overs to secure victory finishing with 1/50.

Matt Berkrey finished with 27 not out while Phil Gay remained 12 not out, the pair adding 46 runs in just 35 balls.

Umpire Dennis Elphick officiating on debut acquitted himself well and looks forward to the remainder of the season.

Aside from the scintillating home side, two things happened that caught the eye of the cricketers.

Mid-way through the match, spectators witnessed a kangaroo bounding around the outside of the fence before heading south down Hovell Street.

FOCUS: Matt Berkrey (left) behind the stumps before adding 29 runs with the willow. Picture: Kelly Manwaring

FOCUS: Matt Berkrey (left) behind the stumps before adding 29 runs with the willow. Picture: Kelly Manwaring

The local police also seemed enjoyed themselves beside the fence as they booked speeding motorists at will down Hovell Street.

Finally, Come Alive Fitness Crusaders’ skipper Mark Elia is thinking of asking Dulux for sponsorship with four of his players being painters. Ray James, David Garness, Matt Berkrey and James Smith. 

Very disappointing for the opening round that the replay of last season’s final between the Coyotes and Mimosa did not go ahead as the Coyotes forfeited.    

 Next Saturday, Come Alive Fitness Crusaders have the bye, while the Blues host last season’s premiers the Coyotes at Gus Smith 2.