A chance-less knock of 96 by Marc Ford set the scene for St Marys to record an exciting 16-run victory over Cowaramup on Saturday in the highest scoring game of the A-grade cricket season to date.
After being put into bat on a beautifully grassed wicket at the Cowaramup Oval, Saints amassed 8-246 from their 50 overs and then dismissed Cowaramup for 230 in 40.5 overs. The game was a great exhibition of cricket and featured some brilliant batting from both sides.
Ford and Jono Lloyd (42) took St Marys to 0-96 at drinks as they capitalised on the absence of key import Buddhika Sanjeewa, who has had to return to Sri Lanka for personal reasons.
Ford just missed out on what would have been a well-deserved century when Cowaramup skipper Ben Shepherd held a sharp caught-and-bowled chance from a full-toss.
Cowaramup’s fortunes took another blow when Kavy de Silva broke down with a severely strained leg muscle in his sixth over and had to be helped from the field.
De Silva opened the Cowaramup innings with Archer Coates to run for him, and played a great “stand and deliver” innings of 48 in five overs before he was sharply caught by Ryan Lohr at cover.
Another excellent knock by the ever consistent Fraser Oates (91) propelled Cowaramup to an outstanding start of 2-150 in just 20 overs in their reply, as the Bulls looked on course for a great win.
St Marys leggie Joe Lowe (3-21 from 10 overs) then turned the game for his side, starting with a brilliant wrong-un in his first over to bowl Ryan O’Sullivan, as the Bulls spent their fuel too quickly and burned out with nine overs still to play.
At Dunsborough there was another great game of A-grade cricket, with YOBS just getting up to beat the home side in the battle of the top two teams.
Dunsborough took first use of another good strip and seemed well placed at 4-120, with skipper Chris Reagan making a valuable 29, until Max Walsh held a one-handed blinder at square leg for YOBS to dismiss top scorer Matt Jamieson (35). Medium-pacer Jake Grylls then grabbed 5-13 in a purple patch as Dunsborough collapsed to 140 all out.
The game hung in the balance when Dunsborough’s attack reduced YOBS to 7-114 in reply with Ricky Small Boyce (2-23) and Josh Reagan (2-21) both very hard to get away. Teenage wicketkeeper-batsman Connor Luff, taking the place of an injured Ben Clarke, then stepped up with a mature unbeaten 22 in his A-Grade debut. Matty Braid (11 not out) helped Luff get YOBS across the line in the 49th over to end a great game.
In B-grade cricket last Saturday, the closest game of the round saw YOBS (9-176) scrape home with two balls to spare to beat a gallant Vasse (7-175) on the turf at Bovell Park. Aidan Fraser (72) playing his first game of the season for YOBS proved the difference between the sides, while Matt Kammann (54) was Vasse’s highest scorer.
Margaret River Hawks got up to beat Dunsborough on the synthetic wicket at the Dunsborough Playing Fields, where the deteriorating condition of the synthetic wicket provided more problems for the teams.
St Marys (3-173 in just 22.4 overs) made light work of the task to overhaul Cowaramup in the remaining game at the Cowaramup Oval.
B-grade results: Marg River Hawks 6-117 (R. Silva 35no, D. Holmes 32) d Dunsborough 116 (32.1 overs) (B. Dillon 3-10, J. Stanbury 2-16, T. Thomas 2-23) at Dunsborough Synthetic. St Marys 3-173 (22.4 overs) d Cowaramup 172 (42.1 overs) (T. Schofield 48, T. King 23) at Cowaramup Synthetic. YOBS 9-176 (44.4 overs) (A. Fraser 72, A. Logan 24, J. Embry 20, D. Ebert 2-24, J. Albury 2-33, B. Kearney 2-37) d Vasse 7-175 (45 overs) (M. Kammann 54, S. Shepherd 36, J. Albury 21, H. Carter 20no, C. Snow 2-9, K. Spowart 2-20) at Bovell Turf.