For the third consecutive year and for the fourth time in the past five seasons the Tatts Cricket Club’s first XI was crowned the Narrabri District Cricket Association first grade champions on Saturday.

After winning the toss and batting first in the match played at Narrabri’s premier cricket field Collins Park the top-ranked side on the regular season ladder made 108 runs in 42 overs.

The team’s opponents, the third-placed Western Imperial Razorbacks, then fell for 82 runs which saw the Tatts men win by 26 runs.

One of the club’s former first XI skippers Craig Gleeson starred on the day, top scoring with 28 runs to help his side get to triple figures before taking a team-best 3-16 from six overs with the ball which saw him named the player-of-the-match.

Gleeson was one of five Tatts bowlers who stood up on the day in the absence of the competition’s top bowler Michael Cain.

Ryan O’Neill (2-15 from nine overs), Brock Schwager (2-15 from nine overs), Jonty Schwager (2-25 from nine overs) and Tom Craig (1-9 from 3.1 overs) all took at least one wicket and were all economical.

Craig, the champion team’s captain, commended his side’s bowling and fielding efforts and said that he was happy with the side’s batting total.

“We thought 100 was pretty defendable,” Craig said.

“I think 108 translates to about 160 on a wicket before Christmas.

“Our bowling and fielding was really good, everyone was switched on, having a big crowd down there really pushed people on and got them excited to be in the game.

“I think everyone bowled really well, we knew we had to bowl on a good length and let them play their shots and take our chances as they came and we were able to take the game away that way.”

Craig also said that the team was motivated by playing in front of many Tatts old boys, including ex-captains, who were in the crowd on the day.

While Tatts was the winner on the day it was the Razorbacks which started the day on top.

In the third over of the match Razorbacks opening bowler Dylan Smith bowled Tatts opening batsman Luke Morgan for a duck to make the score 1-5.

That saw Gleeson join Daniel Kahl in the middle and the pair put on a 30-run partnership which was broken in the 17th over when Kahl (12) was caught by Josh Trindall from the bowling of Tim Cameron.

The next wicket fell in the Justin Knight-bowled 21st over when Craig (11) was caught by Razorbacks wicketkeeper Hadley Sevil.

That made the score 3-52 and left Gleeson at the crease with Alistair Hillard. Those two Tatts batsmen combined for a 27-run partnership which saw Tatts enter the 30-over drinks break on 3-74.

Five more runs were added to the score before Knight produced a double wicket maiden in the 32nd over, bowling Gleeson (28) before catching Jacob Nichols (0) from his own bowling.

Two more quick wickets fell when Hillard (11) was caught by Smith in the Trindall-bowled 35th over before Knight claimed his fourth scalp in the 36th over, bowling Eben Botha for a duck to make the score 7-85.

The next partnership saw Tatts duo Jakeb Nipperess and Waldo Botha take the batting side past 100 in the 40th over.

In the Smith-bowled 41st over two more wickets fell during another double wicket maiden when Nipperess (14) was caught by Ty Baker and Botha (3) was bowled.

Those wickets made the score 9-104, and then the last wicket fell in the 42nd over when Toby Nancarrow bowled O’Neill (1) as Tatts fell for 108.

The Razorbacks’ best with the ball was Knight who took a match-best 4-19 from nine overs, while Smith (3-9 from nine overs), Cameron (1-15 from six overs), Nancarrow (1-20 from seven overs) and Trindall (1-21 from nine overs) all claimed wickets.

Tatts’ O’Neill took the ball for the first over of the Razorbacks’ innings and Baker opened the batting and faced the first delivery.

Baker scored two runs from the fourth ball of the over but with the sixth and final ball O’Neill struck, taking the first wicket of the innings when he trapped Baker (2) in front to make the score 1-2.

The next wicket fell in the Jonty Schwager-bowled sixth over when Baker’s opening partner Sevil (4) was caught behind by Tatts wicketkeeper Jacob Nichols which made the score 2-13.

In the eighth over that became 3-14 when Schwager and Nichols combined again to dismiss Knight (4) in the same fashion.

Those wickets left Trindall in the middle with Toby Reynolds who combined for a 20-run partnership which was broken in the 15th over when Trindall (7) was caught and bowled by Gleeson.

Gleeson then claimed the next two wickets as he dismissed Razorbacks youngsters Angus Galagher (1) and Zack Doring (5) in quick succession.

Those two batsmen were both caught by Kahl in the 17th and 21st overs respectively.

Doring’s dismissal made the score 6-51 and brought Steve Phelps to the crease to partner Reynolds, but their partnership was just five runs old when Reynolds departed in the 22nd over, done for pace by a brilliant Brock Schwager yorker to be trapped in front for a team-best score of 13.

Reynolds’ replacement was Smith who joined Phelps in an attempt to save the Razorbacks’ grand final victory hopes.

The pair were on the right track as they put on a 20-run partnership to take their team from 7-56 to 7-76.

However that quickly became 9-77 after both of those batsmen were dismissed.

In the 32nd over Brock Schwager claimed his second wicket when he removed Smith (9) who was caught by Hillard, then in the 33rd over Phelps (7) became O’Neill’s second victim when he was caught behind by Nichols.

Those wickets left Brendon Smith and Tim Cameron together in the middle who needed to put on a 32-run partnership for a Razorbacks win.

They were only able to manage five of those runs before Tatts’ skipper Craig introduced himself back into the bowling attack in the 37th over and needed just one ball to dismiss Smith who was bowled for four runs as Tatts’ celebrations began.

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