IN FORM: Harwood's Nathan Ensbey scored a third ton.
IN FORM: Harwood's Nathan Ensbey scored a third ton. Caitlan Charles

MACHINE: Ensbey brings up third ton before Christmas

CRICKET: Nathan Ensbey continued to enjoy his best start to a season, notching a third century against a luckless Coutts-Coffs Colts at McKittrick Park on Saturday.

Ensbey (100) showed his intent from early in the innings and joined forces with Brandon Honeybrook (40) in a 103-run third-wicket stand as Harwood finished on 3-248.

Colts were no match for the total, and when young gun Eli Fahey was removed by Mark Valette (3-28 off 8) it only became harder for the home side, who crumbled to 112 all out.

But it was a day that belonged to Ensbey, whose century sees the opener head into the North Coast Premier League mid-season break with 366 runs at an average of 73.20.

While he felt "tired and dehydrated” following the knock, Ensbey was happy to be able to put his Harwood side in a winning position.

"It was a good deck to bat on, but at the same time it did offer a bit to the bowlers who were willing to put in,” he said. "We had to fight our way through the opening stages of the innings, but it definitely started coming out of the middle.

"Having Bear come in at three and play a mature knock also helped ease the pressure and it was good to see Hayden McMahon also among the runs out there. I am not about the personal milestones, for me it's just about doing all I can for the team.”

With the omission of regular top-order stokeplayer Harry Bird, who is holidaying overseas, the opportunity was given to Honeybrook and McMahon to come up the order and Ensbey was glad they "took it with both hands”.

While Valette took a lot of the early wickets for Harwood, Ensbey heaped the praise on fellow opening bowler Doug Harris (1-7 off 8) who tightened the screws on the Colts top order and forced them into playing rash strokes.

Legspinner Jacob McMahon (3-7 off 3) also capitalised late in the innings as Harwood ran through the Colts tail end.