A quick look at the Mornington-Albion scorecard tells you there was a stark contrast between the Gunnedah District Cricket Association sides on Saturday in first grade.
In what was supposed to be a two-day match, Albion clinched an outright victory after just 62.3 overs of play.
Albion declared after racking up 4-255 from 33 overs before bowling Mornington out for scores of 24 and 36.
Mornington had already been struggling this season but the alarm bells were really ringing on Saturday with just four regular first graders available.
At first Mornington was going to forfeit first grade and play seconds but association rules stipulated a first grade side must be put on the paddock before lower grades.
Mornington did what was asked but captain Jason Rose didn’t agree with the decision.
“Our team was filled with people not capable of playing first grade,” Rose said.
“We did what the association wanted us to do but I don’t agree with it. We're putting people at risk by putting players from the lower grades up to first grade.”
Albion didn’t think anyone as at risk during the match.
“I don’t agree with that,” Albion quick Brad Jenkinson said.
“When blokes come out with lids on I don’t bowl bouncers let alone if they aren’t wearing a helmet.”
Mornington’s player drain is worrying and Rose believed it came down to his players not wanting to commit to two-day cricket.
“The general consensus is the players aren’t committing because it’s a two day game. They don’t want to be standing out there all day. We’d like to see a one day format for the majority of the season,” Rose said.
Albion captain Andy Mack felt for Mornington, but also said at the end of the day his side went out there to win.
“I sympathise for their club, I really do. Every club’s probably been in that situation where they struggle for ones or twos,” Mack said.
“I have to give them credit. The easy option would be to roll over and say, ‘I’m not doing that’.
He added: “But once you cross the line, it’s just a normal game of cricket – I could be wrong and I’m happy to be wrong.
“I said to the boys ‘It’s pretty easy to take the easy option and go light but ‘how about we play cricket how cricket’s meant to be played’ and respect the game more than anything.”
Jenkinson was at his destructive best as he scored 60 not out and picked up figures of 6-10 and 2-10 while Luke Ryan put in a big all-round effort with three wickets and 43 runs.
Mack (89) and Hayden Baker (44) were also amongst the runs while Will Maggs picked up 4-17 for Albion as he bowled to the Mornington batsmen in their second innings.
For Mornington, Prashanth van Houten grabbed a pair of wickets while youngster Harry Willoughby drew praise from both captains for his efforts out in the middle.
“Harry Willoughby is only about 14 and he’s got a great future ahead of himself,” Rose said.