Narrabri District Cricket Association’s MA Connolly Cup side Narrabri Blue travelled to Inverell on Sunday for its semi-final clash, determined to book a spot in the February 21 grand final.

However, the visitors went down by 56 runs at Inverell Sports Arena.

Narrabri Blue placed second on the Namoi Conference ladder, which meant that it faced off against the undefeated Inverell which placed first on the Gwydir Conference table.

Inverell earned the right to host that match, given its higher ranking, and it kept its undefeated run alive.

The hosts batted first after winning the toss and they made 136 before losing their final wicket in the 40th over. In reply, Narrabri Blue stumbled to 80 before losing its final wicket in the 40th over of its innings, falling 57 runs short of victory.

The match started on the front foot for the visitors which took the first wicket of the game in the Jordyn Mowle-bowled fourth over. Mowle trapped Jack Cole (7) in front to make the score 1-13.

Narrabri Blue used five bowlers in the match, all of whom claimed at least one wicket.

Skipper Nick Smart (3-25 from eight overs) was his side’s best with the ball. Mowle (2-22 from 10 overs) and Ryan O’Neill (2-36 from 10 overs) took two each, while Nathan Trindall (1-16 from six overs) and Jade Lees (1-34 from 10 overs) both took one each.

After producing an impressive display with the ball, Narrabri Blue was unable to capitalise with the bat.

The chasing side lost the competition’s leading run-scorer Smart (0) in the second over. That made the score 1-5, which became 2-8 in the fourth over when Matt Conroy (8) also departed.

Both of the Narrabri Blue openers were dismissed by Rodney Blair, who ripped through Narrabri’s top order and went on to take a game-best 5-13 from 10 overs. He took the third wicket in the eighth over when he dismissed Bernard O’Connor (5), then he removed Tim Shields (0) in the 10th over to make the score 4-22.

The chasing side lost Shane Murphy (team-best 20) in the 21st over, then Mowle (3) in the 26th which made the score 6-51.

Lachlan Woolford (18) and Lees (14) provided some resistance in the middle order and combined for a 24-run partnership, which was Narrabri’s largest of the innings.

When Lees was finally dismissed the score became 9-78, then from the last ball of the 40th over, Kaleb Mowle (1) was caught by Blair as Inverell secured the victory.

Inverell will now meet the top-ranked Namoi Conference team, Gunnedah, this Sunday.

Gunnedah played against Moree at Wolseley Park on Sunday and won by 92 runs after making 9-137 then bowling Moree out for just 45.

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