An inspired 74-run innings from Mitch Winter-Irving was not enough as Mooroopna edged out Tatura by six runs in a thrilling Cricket Shepparton Twenty20 match at Howley Oval on Thursday afternoon.
With Tatura needing 20 runs off the final over, Englishman Will Hale closed out emphatically for the Cats, bowling two of the last three overs to back up his impressive performance with the bat.
After making the short trip down the Midland Hwy, the visitors won the toss and elected to bat first as they set a total of 9-178 for Tatura to chase.
Hale set the tone early on for the Cats, knocking a team best 41 runs, including five fours and one six.
Captain Paul Marshall and Brodie McDonald were next best with the willow, scoring 25 and 24 respectively.
But it was Winter-Irving’s performance with the bat that got the locals excited. Coming in at number three, the dominant figure tore through Mooroopna’s bowling attack on his way to 74 runs, smashing seven fours and four sixes.
Unfortunately for Tatura, who was also without captain Tim Kelly, it seemed a one-man show out in the middle, despite help from Matthew Cornwall, who struck four fours before being dismissed for 34.
Marshall was full of praise for the round performance from his English import. ‘‘Hale was brilliant with the bat and ball. He got us off to a flyer when batting and then was able to close out when we needed him most,’’ Marshall said.
The victory sees Mooroopna claim back-to-back wins in the Twenty20 and Marshall is hoping its form would roll into the Haisman Shield.
‘‘We play Tatura again this week in the Shield so hopefully the win on Thursday night has placed us in a good position,’’ Marshall said. In the Western division’s other fixture, Katandra successfully chased down a travelling Kyabram side, thanks to the help of Ben Clurey.
Clurey was the standout performer for the Eagles, taking one of two wickets but also dominating with the bat, hitting six fours and four sixes on his way to 64.
Fellow batsman Raymond Ireland was also impressive, finishing with an unbeaten 39.
Mooroopna leads the division after round two.