Moment of Harth magic to seal win
ONE moment of Michael Harth magic ended Brothers Southside hopes of first innings points against Gracemere on Saturday - but it was a close run thing.
Starting play with the last two batsmen at the crease and 26 runs needed, the match at the Rockhampton Cricket ground on Saturday could hardly have been more evenly balanced.
Fourteen overs later Brendan Davy and Lachlan Collins were still at the crease and requiring just a boundary to gain those hard-earned first innings points.
Then the hard-working Harth struck.
“I got one to cut away a little and Lachlan got a bit of an edge,” Harth said.
The wicket was a great reward for the Gracemere captain who led by example in bowling 23.1 overs of the 54.1 overs Gracemere sent down.
Harth’s figures of 5-61, in which he bowled 10 maidens, was a fair reward but the Gracemere captain was full of praise for the last two batsmen.
“They batted very sensibly,” he said.
Tigers had no need to rush as the number of overs bowled was never going to be an issue, but with the score on 145, the little edge from Collins gave wicketkeeper Mark O’Keeffe his fourth catch of the innings and Gracemere those all-important competition points.
Gracemere then had some batting practise but at the start of its innings made hard work of the job, losing its first four wickets for just 52 runs.
However, Gracemere batted down the list with John Miles hitting a well-compiled 67, with Harth and O’Keeffe following their contribution of closing the Tigers innings with handy contributions of 43 not out and 37 respectively.
Harth was excited by the return to form of Miles.
“He has been out of form of late,” he confirmed.
“He steadied the ship getting his runs off 100 balls.”
The Gracemere captain is also happy with what O’Keeffe is producing as he is becoming a very handy wicketkeeper/ batsman.
While Gracemere fought to a victory, rivals Frenchville slumped to its first defeat in the 2009/10 Southern Star Sports Shield.
Set 308 runs for the points, Frenchville captain Todd Wells was quietly confident his team had the batting depth for the win.
Despite losing two wickets last week, Wells argued that a score of 350 runs was achievable on the small ground.
The loss of in-form opener Brent Rothery for 11 when the Frenchville total was 56 didn’t help the chase but then the Falcons middle order took the match to Brothers Southside with each player making a good start.
However, while Adam Matthews went on to knock a big hundred for Brothers last week, the Frenchville scores never reached that height with the champion team falling 30 runs of its target and with 11.2 overs in hand.
Michael Simmers slammed 76 runs at his usual run-a-ball pace and Todd Wells with 46, Trent Kenny 51 and Jason Wells 36 all got runs on the board.
However, when Simmers departed with Frenchville on 249 runs and six wickets down, the chase effectively ended.
The last three Frenchville batsmen surrendered their wickets for the addition of just eight runs to give Tigers a famous victory.
The Tigers hero was Greg Sorrensen who took 5-54 from 16.4 overs and James Parr with 3-44 capturing the match-turning wickets of Rothery, Kenny and Simmers.