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Monday, 26 February 2001
Page: 24337

Mr BILLSON (1:52 PM) —A balmy Sunday in Canberra yesterday provided the closeness and atmosphere appropriate for a great annual sporting challenge—the annual coalition versus the press gallery cricket match. With athleticism and performances as varied as the bounce and grass cover on the patchy wicket, the press gallery prevailed for the second year running—a sad but true reflection of the simple fact that they scored 28 runs more than we did from the 40 overs available. After reeling at 4-29, Andrew Probyn from the Herald Sun and Nigel Blunden from the Nine Network combined for a 98-run partnership to rescue the gallery and sink our prospects. Probyn finished not out for 60. Blunden stood on his own stumps to be out for 40. The 22 from Channel Nine's Jeff Martin and the 24 from Ben Haslem from the Australian contributed to a greatly challenging yet do-able score for the gallery of all out for 200.

Without a tremendous bowling spell from Steve Galilee from Minister Abbott's office with a bowling activity statement of 5.1 overs, one maiden, 5-11, and pollster Simon Berger's 3-25 off five overs, great fielding from Matt Brown from Minister Hill's office and Sue Brough, spouse of Minister Mal Brough, the coalition's run chase would have been much tougher. After hitting the gloves hard with his pace bowling, Brough's 14 helped get us off to a good start. Senator Chapman's 51 not out was a highlight of the coalition innings. Simon Berger's 35 was sensational and very much needed. Senator McGauran and the member for Page, Ian Causley, were solid defenders of their wicket but rotten scorers with no prolific runs anywhere to be seen while they were at the wicket. So, 8-172 off 40 overs was simply not enough. Our total was frustrated by Mark Ludlow from News Limited with for 2-14 and good bowling from Steven Lewis. (Time expired)