With a month’s worth of questionable performances behind them, United found their groove again with the bat against Taree West in Premier League cricket at Chatham Park.
Needing 207 in reply to West’s first innings total, United’s top order methodically combined to chase the winning runs with five overs to spare. United captain Ricky Campbell said it was the most confident his squad has looked with the willow this season.
“It’s probably the first game this season we looked confident with the bat,” Campbell said.
“We’d let ourselves down with the bat in the last five to six weeks.”
Campbell said the side changed up the batting order in search of form.
The change-up paid off, with Matt Collier (70), Zac Sheather (32), Tom Burley (24) and Dean Mills (57 not out) getting the side over the line. Mills proved his worth with the ball too. He was tonked facing big-hitting Josh Meldrum but leaked just 20 runs from his remaining seven overs.
Sam Whitbread (3/39) and Tom Burley (2/28) led the charge with the ball.
Happy with the bowling contingent’s contributions, Campbell said the side will be full strength heading into the semi-finals.
“I’ll be able to pick the best 11 from about 14 players, the rest will go back to second grade,” Ricky said. “It’s a good headache to have.”
It wasn’t doom and gloom at all for Taree West, with captain Josh Meldrum belting 125 runs (see story below).
He said the side was always in the contest but were eventually felled by their Manning counterparts.
“Our batting was on par despite being bowled out with a few overs to spare.
“We dropped a few catches but they were just too good.
“Kris Ball got us off to a good start, Dale Clarke chipped in at the end and I thought Shane Manny was the pick of the bowlers,” Meldrum said.
Further north, Port Macquarie Pirates continued the season woes for Nulla at South Kempsey. The Pirates won the toss and set Nulla 140 to chase down. Nulla was later dismissed for 91 in the 27th over.
The score keeper was kept busy at Oxley Oval as Rovers chased down 230 set by Port City Leagues Magpies for victory.
Tim Harris posted an elegant run-a-ball ton for the Magpies before being dismissed. The man to bring his innings to an end, Jackson Korn, had an extraordinary day with the ball.
He claimed 5/17 from seven overs, which included two maidens. In what would turn out to be the third and largest ton of the weekend, Rovers opener Callan McKiernan built the foundations for the side’s win with 127 not out.