Gunnedah’s MA Connolly Cup campaign took a major blow last weekend.

The team was thoroughly outplayed by a youthful Central North Colts XI at Wolseley Oval to lose by a comprehensive 133 runs.

CN Colts won the toss and elected to make first use of the strip and bat first, posting 250.

In reply the Gunnedah side lost wickets at regular intervals and failed to make a dent in the run chase to be bundled out for 117 in reply.

Gunnedah was on top early in the contest as new ball bowlers Ash White and Troy Sands had a stranglehold on the opening batsmen.

Their combined pressure resulted in early inroads, as Sands picked up the first wicket in the eighth over thanks to a smart catch in the slips by Justin Carter.

Three overs later, White chimed in with his opening partner Sands.

He was rewarded for an impressive opening spell when he extracted a false drive to complete an impressive caught-and-bowled opportunity. At 2/32 after 12 overs, Gunnedah had made the early inroads needed.

Captain Rhyce Kliendienst introduced himself into the attack and bowled without luck early. On several occasions the batsmen played and missed as he moved the ball off the wicket and through the air to pose a dangerous threat.

CN Colts weathered the threat though and by the mandatory 17-over drinks break, the innings was evenly poised at 2/56.

In the next period, Gunnedah continued to push for wickets and Kliendienst was rewarded for his efforts.

Braithen Winsor took a sharp catch at point which broke the CN Colts third wicket partnership of 50, but the dangerman of CN Colts number three bat Joey Hancock remained at the crease. Kliendienst took another wicket after he drew a false shot in the 27th over, but from there Hancock took the innings by the scruff of the neck.

Hancock found a willing ally in number six bat Harry Lewington, and their tip-and-run style of running between the wickets was a key highlight of their partnership of 102, established either side of the 34-over drinks break.

Hancock continued to pierce the field at will, pouncing on anything loose from the Gunnedah bowlers and along with Lewington, they took the innings and in hindsight the game away from Gunnedah.

Hancock fell with the score on 204, agonisingly short of what would have been a well-deserved century for 99 off the bowling of Gunnedah junior AJ King.

Hancock was King’s first and he proceeded to pick up two more wickets at the innings’ end, finishing with Gunnedah’s best figures of 3/30 from his six-over spell.

Late runs were blasted by the lower order of the CN Colts and although Gunnedah stuck to their guns and bowled their opposition out, the damage done by Hancock was evident as his 99 formed the crux of their imposing total of 250. Gunnedah’s chase failed to garner any impetus toward the target, collapsing to 5/37 inside the first 10 overs.

Bailey Lennox and Sam Doubleday put together a 44-run partnership for the sixth wicket before Doubleday was dismissed caught on the stroke of the 17-over drinks break for 26.

At 6/76, the game was all but gone and although Kliendienst made a team high 27 not out, the rest of the batting petered out.

Lennox and Henry Johns were the only other double digit scorers for Gunnedah with 13 and 16 respectively.

Thorougly outplayed by a slick CN Colts side, the home side was eventually bowled out for 117 in the 24th over and defeated to the tune of 133 runs.

Gunnedah’s next match will see them host Quirindi as they will endeavour to resurrect their early defeat of the competition and put them back in the frame for a push towards the semi-final stage of the competition.

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