Lower bludgeons its way to decider
REP CRICKET: "Win at all costs.”
It was the one thought running through Lower Clarence representative captain Ben McMahon's mind as he attempted to slash every bad ball to the boundary fence at Harwood Oval on Sunday.
Despite missing players, injured batsmen and several rain delays, McMahon's makeshift representative side plundered the Nambucca Valley attack on its way to victory.
But it was the way in which it secured the win, bludgeoning 17 boundaries to chase down a revised total of 140, five wickets down in the the 28th over, knocking Nambucca out of the finals hunt on run rate.
"We always knew we had to win, and we had to win well, and we were lucky enough to do it,” McMahon said.
"But I never expected to knock Nambucca off the top of the ladder.”
Each of Nambucca Valley, Coffs Harbour District and Lower Clarence finished the round games with two wins, leaving the decision to be made on run rate.
What also helped Lower Clarence knock off the North Coast giants was ensuring it took all 10 wickets in the first innings, utilising eight bowlers in short spells to disrupt the batting side.
"It was a bit of a wet deck, and while it took the guys a couple of balls to realise the right length, as soon as they did, they rarely strayed to far from it,” McMahon said.
"We also bowled well in the back end of the innings, taking their last five wickets for only 22 runs to restrict them to a low total.”
Jason Allen in his opening spell took three wickets for 17 runs off seven overs.
Lower originally had 38 overs to chase down 153 after the match started at 1pm, but a second rain delay inside the first 10 overs had the total reduced to 140 off 31 overs.
Mark Ensbey went for 22 soon after play resumed from the break, before McMahon (36) joined wicket- keeper Jarrad Moran (28) for a quick-fire 52-run stand.
When Moran was out cutting a lofted shot to gully, a familiar Matt Young (23*) made his return to the representative crease to compile a match-winning 51-run partnership with his captain.
"We are down on numbers but it was great to see everyone who turned up to help out really stand up for us,” McMahon said.
"Jarrad and Dickie really set the tone for us early on, and I guess I am seeing them alright at the moment.
"It was a great job by the curators to get a deck up and running despite the rain to give us a chance.
"We will have a full team on deck, so bring it on.”
LOWER CLARENCE v
At Harwood Oval
Nambucca 1st Innings
Batting card unavailable
Extras (nb 1, w 12, b 0, lb 2) 15
ALL-OUT for 153
Bowling: J Allen 7-3-17-3, J Causley 5-1-23-1, BG McMahon 5.4-0-22-1, D Harris 5-1-20-1, G Clarke 5-0-23-1, JT McMahon 3-0-21-0, J Lane 2-0-19-1, MJ Farrell 2-1-6-1
Lower Clarence 1st Innings
MA Ensbey c Saker b Bartlett 22
B Honeybrook b Grace 11
J Moran c M Beaumont b Stuart 28
D Harris c Saker b Ireland 1
BG McMahon lbw b Bartlett 36
MN Young not out 23
J Lane not out 3
Extras (nb 1, w 10, b 0, lb 6) 17
FIVE wickets for 141
FoW: 14(Honeybrook) 48(Ensbey) 49(Harris) 81(Moran) 132(B McMahon)
Sunday, February 11
1st Grade: Coffs v Lower at Fitzroy Oval
Over 40s: Clarence v Nambucca at Ellem Oval
Under 12s: Nambucca v Coffs at Macksville
Under 14's - Lower v Nambucca at Barry Watts
Under 16's - Coffs v Clarence at Sawtell