Narrabri District Cricket Association representative team Narrabri Gold was one of two teams in its conference to finish round three of the 2020-21 MA Connolly Cup season on a maximum 18 points and more than a win clear of the third-placed side on Sunday afternoon.

Narrabri Gold and Gunnedah entered round three as the two unbeaten Namoi Conference teams and both got the job done with convincing wins.

At Collins Park, the Chris Sargent-captained Narrabri Gold took on Quirindi and won by eight wickets after chasing down the 119-run target, set by the visitors, in 22 overs.

At Chaffey Park in Tamworth, Gunnedah took on Peel Valley and won by nine wickets after bowling out the hosts for just 57 runs in 20 overs before chasing that down in 6.4 overs.

The other match was won by Tamworth which hosted Narrabri Blue at Number One Oval and scored a 73-run win after batting first and making 146 before knocking over Narrabri Blue for 73.

Those results meant that Narrabri Gold and Gunnedah finished round three with three wins from as many games on 18 points at the top of the conference.

Tamworth (12 points) has two wins and a loss, however its loss was a forfeit in round one which meant that it did not receive the point for taking the field.

Consequently, with just two rounds remaining the top two teams are a win and a point ahead of the third-placed Tamworth.

Narrabri Blue is fourth on eight points following a win and two losses, while Peel Valley and Quirindi are both on three points following three losses each. The duo occupies the conference’s bottom two positions.

Narrabri Gold dominated its game from start to finish, much to the delight of Sargent who was impressed by all aspects of the victory.

“It was a great team performance with bat and ball and in the field,” Sargent said.

“We were missing a couple of key players in our opening batsman Lachie Cameron, who is a class above, and also quick Dylan Smith. Both of those guys were away playing for Central North and it was great to see Dylan get four wickets in a win on Saturday.

“What I was most impressed with from our performance was our fielding. It was a very hot day and the boys were great in the field.

“Our bowling was pretty great too. We had Toughy (Jarrett Tough) get three wickets and Cody (Kember) and Tubby (Matt Tubner) get two each, Luke Baker bowled well and got our first then Jay Hall and young Will Ford also bowled well.

“The bowling and fielding effort really set up the victory for us.

“Then with the bat we lost Ty (Baker) early but Hamish (Duncan) and Cooper (Brayshaw) batted well to get through a nine-over period before lunch.

“Then after lunch Cooper batted well and Cody (Kember) came in and did what he does best, he hit the ball hard and long and then finished it off in a bit of style with 26 runs off one over.”

Sargent said that he was pleased with his team’s effort in its round two and three victories and added that the side would be fired up for the December 20 Narrabri bash local derby against Narrabri Blue at Collins Park.

On Sunday, after Quirindi won the toss and batted in the Collins Park round three match, it took the hosts just eight balls to take its first wicket when Baker dismissed one of the visiting team’s openers with his second delivery in the second over of the game.

Narrabri Gold did not take another wicket until the 20th over, but it restricted Quirindi’s run rate to 2.5 an over in that time to create early pressure.

Tough took that wicket to knock over Quirindi’s other opener and make the score 2-52, then the Narrabri vice-captain took his second in the 22nd over followed by a third in the 26th over to make the score 4-67.

Kember took a wicket in the 31st over and the 35th over to make the score 6-94, then Tubner took a wicket in the 36th over to make the score 7-96.

Tubner took the ball for the 42nd over and claimed another wicket to make the score 8-118. Duncan also threw a run out in that over which made the score 9-118, then Sargent took the final wicket with the third ball of the 43rd over as Quirindi fell for 118.

Tough was the side’s best with the ball with 3-23 from 10 overs, while Kember (2-18 from seven overs) and Tubner (2-29 from six overs) took two each. Sargent (1-5 from four overs) and Baker (1-19 from five overs) took one wicket each, and Hall (0-8 from five overs) and Ford (0-13 from six overs) created pressure with economical spells.

Narrabri Gold lost openers Baker (4) in the third over and Duncan (19) in the 13th. The fall of Duncan made the score 2-40 and left Brayshaw at the crease with Kember. The pair combined for an 83-run partnership to guide the hosts to victory.

Brayshaw finished unbeaten on 22 following a patient knock, while at the other end Kember provided the entertainment for the home crowd with an unbeaten 58 which included four sixes and as many fours.

Kember scored 26 of those runs in the 22nd over of the chase which was bowled by Charlie Simkin, who debuted for Tatts in round six of the NDCA first grade season on Saturday, November 21. Kember hit the first ball of that over for a four then followed that up with a six, then a two, then two fours followed by a six to win the match.

Narrabri’s two representative sides now turn their attention to the December 20 Narrabri Showdown which will see Narrabri Gold and Narrabri Blue meet at Collins Park in round four.

In that match, Narrabri Gold can secure a spot in the semi-final with a victory, while Narrabri Blue will be playing to keep its season alive.

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