Michael sets the course
A SECOND five wicket haul of the season for Gracemere captain Michael Harth has set his team up to collect the points from the two-day match with Norths Tigers.
The impressive Harth bowled unchanged to take 7-47 from an 18 over spell that included six maiden overs.
The Tigers stated, before the Southern Star Sports Shield game at Rockhampton Cricket Ground, the key to being in a strong position during the match was to win the toss and build a big total with the bat.
Unfortunately stand-in captain Jon Harris, deputizing for the absent Eddie Doherty, did half the job by winning the toss but then on a friendly batting strip watched as the Tigers innings ended for just 139 all out.
“That was probably 30 runs too many,” Harth confessed.
Despite doing well and knocking over the top order, the Gracemere effort got a little sloppy as a couple of catches were grounded and then the middle and lower order of Troy Hogan, Justin Peacock and Terry Wreghitt gave the Tigers total a little bit of respectability.
Hogan top scored with 39 while Peacock had a useful contribution of 25 runs.
“We didn't have a bad day, we had them at 5-28 at one stage,” Harth said.
While Harth did the donkey work for Gracemere with the ball he was given assistance by Bob McQuire 2-12 and Ben Milne 1-29 who each sent down nine overs.
The pitch remained in good condition but Harth said the atmospheric conditions suited his style of bowling.
“I managed to get the ball to swing both ways,” he said.
“I'm not overly fast and so I have to trick them somehow.”
Unfortunately Harth was not able to follow up with an inspirational knock with the bat as Gracemere looked to be falling into the same hole that Tigers had found themselves in.
Harth, Mark O'Keeffe and Milne, who fell to a first ball duck, went as Tigers got the start that was needed to get back into the game.
However, with Gracemere in a spot of bother at 3-15 Calvin Murray and Ray Doherty came together at the crease.
They were still there at close of play with Murray compiling an innings of 35 runs
“Calvin is batting really well,” Harth said.
Late in his innings Doherty started to open his shoulders to be on 71, which included three 4s in one Peacock over, to end the first day's play at 3-135.
Harth said he was very impressed with the Tigers opening pace attack with Hogan getting 1-15 from his nine overs and left-arm pace man Joe Wright claiming 2-11 from six overs.