Tatts Cricket Club scored their fourth win of the 2023/24 Narrabri District Cricket Association first grade one day competition on Saturday when they downed Tourist Hotel by 34 runs in the battle for the outright second position on the ladder.

The two sides went into the match locked on 23 points, but it was Tatts that got the job done to move to 30. They batted first after skipper Jakeb Nipperess won the toss, and piled on their largest total of the season so far as they registered 6-213 in 45 overs before knocking over the chasing Tourist Hotel outfit for 179 runs in 45 overs after taking the final wicket from the last ball of the contest.

The game was the first this season to go the full 90 overs as the two sides combined for 392 runs, which is the most scored in a single match so far during the 2023/24 campaign.

Tatts’ third consecutive win saw the side finish six points behind fellow round six winners RSL, who are on top of the table on 36 points after they scored their fifth victory of the season on Saturday when they beat Western Razorbacks by seven wickets at Leitch Oval. Tourist Hotel (24 points) are now a win behind Tatts, and the Razorbacks (six points) are still last following a winless start to the campaign.

At Collins Park on Saturday, Craig Gleeson opened the batting for Tatts alongside Nipperess and the duo combined for 32 runs before Gleeson (11) was caught at third slip by Luke Meppem as Hamish Duncan made the breakthrough from the final ball of the 10th over.

That saw Josh Campbell arrive at the crease, and he and Nipperess took Tatts into the first drinks break at 1-50 after 15 overs. However, Campbell (5) was dismissed in the 18th over when he was caught by Nick Tomlinson in Mark Page’s third over as the score became 2-54.

The dangerous Tom Craig was next in for Tatts and he produced what was arguably the classiest innings seen in the NDCA first grade competition in recent years as he remained unbeaten on 97 at the completion of 45 overs.

The club’s most recent first grade premiership-winning captain put on a 48-run partnership with current skipper Nipperess (43), who was caught by Harry Pattison during the Josh Trindall-bowled 29th over, and then a 63-run partnership with Sid Harvey (32), who was caught by Duncan from the bowling of Danny Laws in the 40th. That made the score 4-175, and Craig continued to fire during the final five overs with the assistance of short cameos from Ed Currall (3) and Karl Hatfield (3) as he finished three runs short of what would have been the first century in the NDCA first grade competition since Lachlan Cameron scored 101 for Tourist Hotel at Hogan Oval three years earlier on Saturday, November 21, 2020.

Craig hit eight fours and two sixes during his match-winning knock and became Tatts’ leading run-scorer with 167 at an impressive average of 55.7. That left him just 15 runs short of the competition’s leading run-scorer, RSL opener Will Ford, but Craig has played two fewer games.

Laws was Tourist Hotel’s best with the ball with 2-36 from five overs, and his teammates Duncan (1-17 from six overs), Dylan Segundo (1-32 from eight overs), Page (1-36 from nine overs), and Trindall (1-44 from nine overs) all claimed one wicket each.

Jonty Schwager took the new ball to get the second innings underway as the Tatts quick bowled for the first time this season in just his second game of the campaign. He made the early breakthrough to end Tourist Hotel’s first-wicket partnership as he trapped Duncan (18) in front in the seventh over.

Lachlan Woolford then joined Nick Tomlinson at the crease and the club’s two leading run-scorers combined for a 55-run partnership. However, when Woolford was bowled by Craig for a team-high score of 35 in the 22nd over to make the score 2-85, an innings-turning collapse followed for the chasing side as they lost 5-32 to find themselves on 6-117.

Chris Smith (2) was bowled by Craig in the 24th over, and then the side’s leading run-scorer, Tomlinson (34), was caught and bowled by Hatfield during the 27th over. Hatfield struck again in the 31st when he knocked over Matt Conroy (13), who was caught by Gleeson on the boundary, and then Tom Craig claimed his third scalp in the 32nd over when he bowled Trindall (7) to really put Tatts on the front foot.

There was still some hope left for the chasing side at that point, but the writing was on the wall after they lost Segundo (7) in the 37th over when he was bowled by Gleeson, and Meppem (18), who was run out by a brilliant Nipperess direct hit in the 41st. That made the score 8-153 and it then became 9-165 in the 44th over when Nipperess trapped Page (10) in front.

Tourist Hotel had reached 179 runs when Brady Jenkins (13) scored a four from the second last ball of the game, but it was Tatts who finished it all off in style when Jenkins was caught by a brilliant Nipperess catch just inside the boundary from the bowling of Gleeson as the chasing side finished all out, 35 runs short of the required total.

Craig (3-27 from nine overs) backed up his efforts with the bat to claim game-best figures with the ball, while Gleeson (2-32 from seven overs) and Hatfield (2-42 from nine overs) claimed two scalps each, and then Nipperess (1-15 from two overs) and Schwager (1-28 from nine overs) took one each.

Craig earned the three NDCA best and fairest points following what was the most dominant individual effort so far this season as he joined Will Ford at the top of the leaderboard on five points. The other points were split between two captains as Woolford picked up two and Nipperess was awarded one.

Tatts will go in search of their fifth victory of the campaign and their fourth in a row this Saturday when they challenge the Western Razorbacks for the third time this season. That match will be played at Leitch Oval, while RSL and Tourist Hotel go head-to-head at Collins Park.

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