Harden’s Jeff Brown lets one fly.
Following another fall of overnight rain, local Cricket once again was forced down to Murrumburrah’s Roberts Park from the turf of Doolan Oval on January 13 last. Murrumbateman were the visitors on that occasion to take on the fifth placed Harden Hornets, who were hoping to move past their opponents and claim fourth position on the ladder. Winning the toss of the coin Murrumbateman sent Harden in to bat. The outfield was emerald green and lush, and possibly ready to accept a low scoring encounter. Kai Steele and Mitch Brown were ready to bat for our Hornets and sauntered out to the centre.
Scoring was extremely slow under the heavy conditions. And after facing 20 deliveries Brown was caught behind for 3 by Mitch Quinn, off the bowling of Brad Jones with the score on 12. Harden Captain Steele batted on and was reaching top form. He hit 2 booming fours and looked likely to go on to better things. When out of the blue, he hit a savage square cut into the gully, where Andy Clarke accepted a pearler of a catch, and Kai was on his way still in shock out for 14 runs.
Harden at this stage were 2 for 22. This left Paul Potts and Daniel Pumpa together to redeem the Hornets team. The pair advanced the tally to 83 with a solid partnership. Then Potts finally skied one from Ryan Furlong and was out caught for 25 off 50 balls. This not before Pottsy had entertained everyone with his antics. Which included 6 reverse sweeps, 2 switch hits and a couple of swallow dives—on maybe that should be belly flops. Inform cricketer Daniel Pumpa followed soon after for 30 runs and the Harden Hornets were struggling at 4 for 83.
James Woodhead one of Harden’s rising Stars added another valuable 13 runs to the total, until he was dismissed. But when they needed that final burst our tail-end offered only token assistance ,and the Hornets concluded at 9 wickets for 114 runs. Best with the ball for Murrumbateman was Terry Tillyard with 4 scalps for just 5 runs. Facing a bit of an uphill task, although it was deemed a heavy outfield, opening bowlers for Harden– Dan Pumper and Jeff Brown began the defence of their score. Murrumbateman as in previous encounters against Harden included an array of about three batsman who always played in TWENTY20 style from the outset. This being Brendon Johnson and Wayne McIlhatton who continued in fine style on this occasion.
Their score raced to 39, before Harden received a bit of a reprieve. A great throw from deep in the outfield by Paul Potts found Wayne McIllhatton short of his ground, run out for 15 runs. But the opening pair had hit up 39 ,chasing only 114. Andy Clarke came in to join the big hitting Johnson and the tally escalated to be 3 for 83 at the 20 over mark . Brendon Johnson was dismissed by James Woodhead for 44. And at drinks (including the Hornets speciality of sausage sandwiches) Murrumbateman had set fire to the overnight rain. And with only 31 runs needed for victory the visitors win seemed a foregone conclusion. Murrumbateman reached their target of 115 with the help of Andy Clarkes 32 not out, and the loss of only three wickets.
HARDEN HORNETS this season are a young side who will learn from this experience. They played most of their shots defensibly along the ground on the slow outfield, scoring singles. Whereas their opponents used the long handle lofting the ball deep into the outfield hitting 8 boundaries and quite a few others that went deep where they ran 2’s. Best bowler for Harden was James Woodhead with 2 wickets for 14 from his 6 overs. The next match is against Yass Aussie Pirates at Tim Doolan Oval on Feb 3.