The Western Imperial Razorbacks’ round eight win against RSL was certainly not pretty, but it got the job done.
The Razorbacks’ first XI travelled to Hogan Oval, Narrabri, to contest its final Narrabri District Cricket Association one day first grade competition match of the calendar year on Saturday and secured a two-wicket victory.
The match started an hour late due to rain in Narrabri on Saturday morning, which saw the sides contest a 30-over match.
RSL batted first after losing the toss and made 87 runs in 28.2 overs.
In reply the Razorbacks were in serious danger of losing the match at 8-70 in the 17th over.
While the run rate was never an issue for the Wee Waa-based side, if it lost two more wickets before it reached 88 runs it would have lost the game.
However co-captain Justin Knight and teammate Brandon Couley remained unbeaten, with Knight scoring the final run from the last ball of the 23rd over.
The Razorbacks’ win not only created a two-win gap between itself and last-placed RSL, but it also kept the Wee Waa-based side in the hunt for a first-placed finish.
The Western Imperial men finished first last season which earned them automatic grand final qualification, and they are now in a position to repeat that this season.
The Razorbacks are currently just one win (six points) behind first-placed Tatts and second-placed Civeo with four rounds to go in the one day competition which will all be played next year in February.
On Saturday at Hogan Oval, Western Imperial Razorbacks youngster Dylan Smith took the ball for the first over and delivered almost immediately, trapping RSL opener Jarrett Tough (1) in front to make the score 1-2 after one over.
That left fellow opening batsman Hamish Duncan in the middle with Cooper Brayshaw and the two cousins combined for a 23-run partnership to take RSL past 20.
In the Toby Nancarrow-bowled 11th over Brayshaw (7) was caught by Chris Smith which made the score 2-25.
Luke Barton partnered Duncan in the middle and the pair took RSL into drinks at 2-48.
After laying a platform to go on and reach a defendable total, RSL unravelled after drinks, losing four wickets for just one run.
In the first over after drinks Barton (10) was run out by Ty Baker.
Nancarrow bowled the 17th over and continued the pressure with a maiden before Josh Trindall turned the game on its head with a double-wicket-maiden in the 18th over.
During that over Trindall bowled Cody Kember (0) then dismissed Chris Watkins for a golden duck the next ball to be on a hat-trick.
RSL skipper Mick Dowdell survived the hat-trick ball, but the next over RSL lost another wicket during a Nancarrow wicket-maiden when Duncan (15) exited the same way Watkins did, caught at first slip by Daniel Hamilton.
That made the score 6-49 after RSL was 2-49 just three overs earlier.
In the 22nd over RSL lost its seventh wicket when Dowdell (2) was caught by Smith from the bowling of Trindall.
That made the score 7-54 and left Neil and Jake Brayshaw at the crease together.
Neil reached 13 runs which helped RSL get to 70, however he was run out in the 26th over which made the score 8-70.
That became 9-80 the following over when Jake Brayshaw (6) was stumped by Steve Phelps from the bowling of Knight.
RSL lost its 10th and final wicket in the 29th over when Danny Laws (1) became the third batsman to be caught by Hamilton in the slips as Knight claimed the final wicket.
RSL’s Nathan Trindall remained unbeaten with 12 runs for his side which finished on 87 runs.
Four of the Razorbacks’ five bowlers used on the day took wickets.
Trindall (3-18 from six overs) was the team’s best, while Nancarrow (2-14 from six overs) and Knight (2-17 from 4.2 overs) took two each.
Smith finished with 1-18 from six overs and while his opening bowling partner Jay Hall did not take any wickets, he created pressure with an economical 0-15 from six overs which included two maidens.
RSL’s Nathan Trindall took the ball for the first over of his side’s defence and went for a costly nine runs, before Laws conceded just one at the other end.
Trindall bounced back quickly and his next over was an eye-catching one as he took his team’s first wicket.
With the third ball of the over he struck Razorbacks opener Baker on the shoulder with fierce bouncer, before following that up with a full ball which cleaning up Baker’s stumps and saw the Razorbacks batsman depart for two runs.
That made the score 1-11 after three overs which became 2-24 after seven when Trindall bowled Toby Reynolds (5).
Daniel Hamilton was the next batsman to partner Hadley Sevil for the Razorbacks.
Hamilton added just three runs before he was caught behind by Watkins in the Kember-bowled 11th over.
That made the score 3-39 which became 4-40 in the 12th when Steve Phelps (0) was also caught behind by Watkins but from the bowling of Laws.
The Razorbacks lost their fifth wicket in the 14th over when Sevil (28) was caught behind by Watkins from the bowling of Tough.
The Razorbacks’ score became 5-53 after that wicket, before RSL piled on the pressure with two wickets in the 15th over.
Kember had the ball for that over and bowled Chris Smith (1) and Dylan Smith (0) to put RSL in the driver’s seat at 7-56.
However, Knight and Josh Trindall guided the Razorbacks to 70 to put the Wee Waa-based team back on the front foot.
In the 17th over Trindall (7) was caught and bowled by Nathan Trindall which made the score 8-72 and left both sides in a position to claim victory.
It was the Razorbacks which got the job done as Knight (9*) and Couley (3*) remained unbeaten when the chasing side reached its required total.
The Razorbacks’s innings was boosted by 31 RSL sundries, 24 of which were wides.
The loss saw RSL fall two wins behind the third-placed Razorbacks with just four games remaining.
The first grade one day competition will now break until February while the cricketers play T20 matches and enjoy the holiday break.