The 2018 Aboriginal XI squads had mixed results overnight at The Oval as part of their 1868 commemoration tour with the women’s squad going down to Surrey by 36 runs before the men’s squad survived a late fightback to defeat the Surrey XI by five runs.
Sydney Thunder's Hannah Darlington top scored for the Aboriginal XI after Surrey got off to a flyer thanks largely to Bryony Smith who smashed 11 boundaries on her way to 58 off just 32 deliveries.
However, an economical spell from Haylee Hoffmeister combined with two wickets each to captain Ashleigh Gardner and young gun Zoe Fleming kept the game in the balance with Surrey finishing their 20 overs on 6-149.
In reply the loss of Sara Darney and Gardner in the first two overs left the Aboriginal XI with a mountain to climb. Hannah Darlington (32) and Emma Manix-Geeves (21) continued to attack and for a brief period in the middle overs kept their side in the game.
However, once they departed the run rate became too much and they fell short by 36 runs.
Five members of the men's Aboriginal XI had Thunder connections with Smith, Patterson, Lawrence and Liddiard all part of last year's Sydney Thunder Indigenous squad while Jonte Pattison was Thunder's BBL|04 Development Rookie.
After a slow start for the men’s squad, Thunder's BBL|06 Indigenous captain Brendan Smith put on a clinic at one of the world’s most famous venues smashing 61 off just 24 deliveries that included eight 4s and four 6s. His knock was well supported by Dan Christian (29) and Jonte Pattison (37). Ben Patterson also chimed in with an important 20 off 10 balls including launching a ball out of the venue as the Aboriginal XI finished 8-176.
Surrey kept the runs ticking along slowing throughout the chase and despite the required run rate blowing out to over 18 an over they maintained enough wickets in hand for a late surge. That surge came courtesy of Ben McDermott whose 67 off 49 breathed life into the contest. Needing 26 off the last two overs Scott Boland restricted Surrey to just six runs in the second last over allowing Brendon Doggett to close out the match and claim a five-run win.
Tomorrow both sides take on Sussex at the Country Ground, Hove 150 years to the day that the same fixture was played on that ground in 1868.