Spin twins seal tight win

February 12, 2018

Defiant: Katandra young gun Lachlan Ash faced almost 100 deliveries for his 22 runs against Numurkah, but could not get his side over the line.

Numurkah spun a web around Katandra’s batting line-up to secure a stirring victory on Saturday.

All 10 Eagles wickets fell to slow bowlers as they attempted to chase a low Blues total of 118, eventually falling just 11 runs short.

After Katandra captain Jedd Wright had spun his side towards ascendancy on day one of play with 5-18, Numurkah’s spin twins Shaun Downie (3-28) and captain Liam Gledhill (6-37) piled on the pressure in order to stifle the away side’s innings.

The duo bowled 38 maidens between them from 67 overs, with import and fellow tweaker Michael Eckard (1-14) claiming the final wicket of the match.

‘‘It was a great effort, a really good team performance,’’ Gledhill said.

‘‘We understood that it was a really important game for both clubs, so to really put in a good performance against the top side was a really good confidence boost.

‘‘It was a funny sort of Numurkah track, it probably took a little bit more spin than we were thinking.

‘‘We were able to build pressure and bowl really disciplined areas, which forced them to make mistakes.’’

The Eagles lost regular wickets during the chase, but a defiant ninth-wicket partnership between Corey Hickford (12 from 61 deliveries) and Lachlan Ash (22 from 96) loomed as decisive when tea was called with just 19 runs remaining for victory.

The pair could not reset though, adding just four runs after the break to take their stand to 31 before they too lost their wickets.

‘‘They were always one partnership away from getting the runs, but we felt we were in control for most of the day,’’ Gledhill said.

‘‘They started to get away from us just before tea, but we were able to take the last two wickets in the four or five overs after it, so the break came at a good time for us.’’

Wright was impressed with his tail for fighting it out to the end, but wanted more from his top order in the small chase.

‘‘It was a good effort to get as close as we did, but disappointing to not get the result,’’ he said.

‘‘I was very impressed (with Hickford and Ash) for sure, it was good to see them not give up and fight it out, and they nearly got us over the line.

‘‘It was a pretty hard pitch to bat on, but once we got in we needed to take the responsibility of going on with it.’’

The Blues are a game clear of Katandra on top of the table ahead of their final-round clash against Mooroopna, while the Eagles will face Old Students.

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