Narrabri RSL Cricket Club are on a roll in the 2023/24 Narrabri District Cricket Association second grade one day competition following their third victory of the season on Saturday at Hogan Oval where they downed Tatts by 50 runs.

RSL batted first in the round five match after skipper Justin Saunders won the toss, and the side scored 197 runs before losing their 10th and final wicket in the 38th over. Tatts then batted out the entire 40 overs during the second innings of the contest but fell 51 runs short of victory after finishing on 9-147.

It was an entertaining match that was dominated by three outstanding veterans, as RSL’s Mick Dodwell and Tatts duo Chris Hartnett and Rod Kirk wound back the clock and produced some sensational cricket to make the contest a memorable one.

Dowdell was ultimately the star of the show as he opened the batting and top-scored with 93 runs before being caught and bowled by Kirk. The RSL gun then backed up that fine knock with a brilliant effort with the ball as he took 4-16 from six overs.

Hartnett was the best with the ball on the day as he took 5-15 off eight overs during the first innings. That spell included a brilliant triple wicket maiden and two more maidens, and he was on a hat-trick twice.

Kirk impressed during both innings, taking 2-18 off 6.2 overs during the first and then scoring a team-best 72 runs during the second before being dismissed by Dowdell.

The round five match came to life in the fifth over of the RSL innings as Hartnett dismissed Max Hunter (4), Matt Tubner (0) and Gabe O’Connor (0) to make the score 3-16, but RSL bounced back during the next over when they scored 19 runs to go from 3-16 to 3-35.

The score after 14 overs was 3-72, but Hartnett had remarkably only conceded 11 of those runs from his seven overs. He bowled his eighth and final over during the 15th of the innings and managed to claim two more scalps as he dismissed Geoff Hunter (23) with the assistance of a catch from his skipper Jesse Packer, before trapping Neil Brayshaw (0) in front with the next ball.

Luke Baker arrived at the crease and saw off the hat-trick ball, and Hartnett eventually finished having taken 5-15 from eight overs.

Baker (6) and Kyle McIlrick (14) chipped in with a combined 20 runs before they were both dismissed by Rhett Myers, but it was Dowdell at the other end doing the bulk of the damage. RSL had reached 174 in the 32nd over and he looked to be on his way to the first century of the season. However, Kirk had other ideas as he knocked over the RSL opener for 93 runs from the final delivery of the over.

Darcy Anderson (21*) rallied late and remained unbeaten at the end of the innings after Jakson Dowdell (2) had been dismissed caught and bowled by Bentley Myers during the 35th over, and Saunders (2) was caught and bowled by Kirk from the second ball of the 38th.

Tatts’ innings started in disastrous fashion during their first over. After Hartnett had scored a two and a four, his opening partner Campbell Hancock, who had not yet faced a ball, was run out for a diamond duck by McIlrick.

It then went from bad to worse during the second over when Baker bowled Hartnett (8) cheaply to make the score 2-8.

The score became 3-22 during the ninth over when Brayshaw bowled Taryn Kirk (3), and then 5-43 during the 12th when Saunders produced back-to-back wickets during his first over of the innings to dismiss Darcy Gleeson (5) and Bentley Myers (0).

That left Packer at the crease with Kirk, and the duo combined for an 89-run partnership that got their side back into the contest. However, with 66 runs still to get during the 30th over of the innings, Kirk (72) became Mick Dowdell’s first victim when he was caught by Geoff Hunter for a team-best score.

Packer (38) then followed during the 35th over when he was stumped from the bowling of Dowdell as the score became 7-145, and then the RSL all-rounder continued to dominate as he took two more wickets in the 39th over when he bowled Emily Hartnett (7) and Ben Redfern (2). That made the score 9-147, which was the way it remained at the end of the 40th over after Nick Stewart (1*) and Rhett Myers (0*) remained not out.

Dowdell (4-16 from six overs) was the victorious RSL team’s best with the ball, Saunders (2-23 from four overs) was the only other multiple wicket-taker, and openers Baker (1-13 from five overs) and Brayshaw (1-25 from six overs) took one each.

Matt Tubner was also impressive with the ball. Although he did not take a wicket, he bowled five overs and finished on 0-4, which included two maidens and a total of 27 dot balls from 30 deliveries, which helped put pressure on the chasing Tatts team.

The three NDCA best and fairest points were deservedly awarded to Dowdell and the other three were distributed among the losing side as Hartnett earned two and Kirk picked up the one.

RSL are now in outright first place on the NDCA second grade one day competition ladder on 29 points, a win clear of Tatts and Tourist Hotel, who both finished round five on 23 points.

The defending champions have the bye this Saturday in round six while Tatts and Tourist Hotel battle it out at Hogan Oval.

Meanwhile, the NDCA’s 2023/24 second grade T20 competition was scheduled to start last Friday night, but the match between Tourist Hotel and RSL at Hogan Oval was washed out and declared a draw. RSL will be in action this Friday night when they meet Tatts at Hogan Oval in what will now be the first short-format fixture of the season.

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