Midland-Guildford on the rise

Midland-Guildford first grade cricket captain Stewart Walters.
Midland-Guildford first grade cricket captain Stewart Walters.

Frustratingly, rain hampered the rising team’s chances of catapulting into the top six last weekend.

After dominating on the first day, compiling a mammoth 3-394, Midland-Guildford disappointingly came away with a draw against a struggling Scarborough side.

The same thing happened last December against Fremantle, when the club compiled a large total, only for rain to force the draw.

The “Monkey-towners” are the in-form team of the district cricket competition with just one loss in their last eight games, including back-to-back wins over top six contenders Joondalup and Melville.

The club’s first top-six position in almost a decade is suddenly in sight, and there is a feeling of an emerging renaissance in the 113-year-old club.

Captain Stewart Walters is confident his team can win the last three games of the season to make finals.

Walters (32) has led the way this season with a run tally of 820 at an inflated average of 164 thanks to three unbeaten centuries.

The team has also been incubating young talent like Hayden Cobley (19), who scored his maiden first-grade century against Scarborough last match, marked by an overtly expressive celebration.

Walters said Cobley was a shining example of one of the passionate young clubmen emerging as the rising club’s future.

Cobley is one of seven of the club’s regular first-grade players to be recently promoted from the club’s colts team.“He was brought into the side because of his passion for the club and I think that’s going to rub off on a lot of players,” Walters said.

There is also a partnership with Surrey County Cricket Club, where rising English cricket prospects like batsman Dominic Sibley (20) are sent down under for the English winter to adapt to Australian cricket conditions.

Junior talent is evident, with the colts team top of its group ladder and the fourth grade team sitting in second.

It was only a little over a year ago that Midland-Guildford Cricket Club wasthrashed at home by Premier Cricket powerhouse Joondalup.

The Midland-Guildford team was bowled out for 44 by the reigning premiers – a day that remains etched in captain Walters’ mind as the most embarrassing in his cricket career.

So when Midland-Guildford faced Joondalup again at home last month, he was keen to make amends for the past embarrassment.

Joondalup won the toss and bowled first, amassing 296 from their 50 overs – a daunting total for the away team to chase.

After losing two quick wickets, Walters and all-rounder Tim Armstrong compiled a 230-run partnership to win the game with three overs to spare.

The remarkable turnaround was satisfying for captain Walters, but not surprising.

“I think we’ve been building up to it for a while,” he said.

“We’ve got good Midland-Guildford kids and those are the ones who will get us through in the end and hopefully I’ll play a final with them.”

Walters said a premiership would realistically take a few more years of hard work, but the elusive fifth premiership remained a motivation – the club’s last first-grade premiership was more than 20 seasons ago.

The last finals entry in 2006-07 was followed by several years at the bottom of the table.

This year, momentum is with the Monkey-towners.