FRENCHVILLE are closing the gap to the reigning premiers, the Gracemere Bulls, falling just five runs short in their run chase in the top of the table, round 4 Capricorn Challenge match at Rockhampton Cricket Grounds on Saturday.

Gracemere won the toss and elected to bat, making 175 off their 40 overs for the loss of seven wickets. Top scorer for the Bulls was first drop, David Pezaros, with an impressive 69 off just 66 balls. He was well supported by opener Luke Johnstone with 39 and lower order batsman Stephen Munchow, who was run out for 26.

"It was a hot day and if I had won the toss I would have batted first as well," Frenchville skipper Joe McGahan said.

"For the first 20 overs everything went their way and when they were 1 for 80 at the half way mark we were expecting them to post a huge score.

"But we tightened up considerably in the second 20 and our opening bowlers, Callum Henderson and Charlie Simic, came back on for their second spell and they took wickets and kept the runs down."

Simic was exceptional and finished with 4 for 23 off eight overs.

In reply, Frenchville lost opener Jason Wells cheaply for just seven but then settled with Brent (18) and Lachlan Hartley (34) steadying the innings. But when Brent fell at 2 for 38, they lost the next two wickets quickly, including skipper McGahan for a duck, as they slumped to 4 for 46.

"We lost wickets in a clump and that didn't help," McGahan admitted.

It took a strong partnership between Lachlan Hartley and Lee Watkins to bring them back into the match. Watkins, Frenchville's number six batsman, top scored with an unbeaten 65.

But in the end, Frenchville simply ran out of overs.

"I am happy we got close, we were competitive," McGahan said.

CQ Challenge

Round 4

Gracemere A Grade 7/175 (40 overs) def Frenchville A Grade 7/170 (40)

Rockhamton Brothers 4/135 (25 overs) def Capricorn Coast Parkana 132 all out (40)

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