Court House tasted defeat for the first time in season 2022/23 of Gunnedah district cricket, defeated by five wickets at the hands of Albion at Kitchener Oval last Saturday.
In a gripping contest with multiple momentum swings for either side, Court House held the early advantage winning the toss and electing to bat against Albion.
Scoring was made to look easy early on by Court House openers Kyle Gallen and Jye Hicks, ticking the scoreboard over at a rate of five runs an over to take the score to 25 without loss inside the first five overs of the innings.
That was until Albion opening bowler Andrew Osmond was able to find a faint edge behind from key batsman Gallen and dismiss the opener for a brisk 17.
At the fall of the first wicket, Hicks was joined by junior representative Keaton Walters and together they consolidated the early stages of the innings, unperturbed until the 18th over.
First change pacer Mark Ewington entered the fray and had Hicks adjudged LBW for a well compiled 22, leaving the score in the balance by the 20 over drinks interval at 2/70, as Walters was joined by Sam Doubleday.
Walters intended to up the scoring rate after the break, but a mistimed lofted shot handed Ewington his second wicket and the innings precariously placed at 3/71 with Doubleday joined at the crease by Jacob Price.
Although watchful early in his innings, Doubleday exploded into a flurry of attacking strokes once the Albion spinners came on.
Doubleday blasted 26 off one particular over consisting of four fours and two sixes to advance the Court House score past 100.
Of particular delight during Doubleday’s innings were his strokes through and over the off side, but immediately after registering his quick-fire half century, he was bowled by off-spinner Mitch Herden for an even and well-made 50 runs.
Price also whacked a six in his innings of 11, but the re-introduction of opening bowler Ash White saw three quick wickets fall and a mid-innings Court House collapse, losing 3/7 in the space of four overs.
Braithen Winsor and Ken Walters dug in though, ensuring Court House batted the allotted 40 overs.
Winsor blasted a four off the last ball of the innings, taking the team total above the par 160 score and finishing 7/163 with Winsor a handy 18 not out while Walters senior finished nine not out.
In pursuit of the 164 target needed for victory, Albion took a steady approach to start their innings, with Bailey Lennox and Al Hillard navigating their way through a testing new ball period.
They took the score to 27 until, in the 11th over, opening bowler Winsor struck with a double wicket maiden during his sixth over, sending a shockwave through the Albion batting.
James Mack and Hillard consolidated after the mini collapse, with Mack the aggressor hitting five fours in a cameo 25 before dismissed caught via a classic outfield catch by Hicks on the long leg boundary off the bowling of first change medium pacer Trent Winsor.
At the 20 over drinks interval, the run chase and match was in the balance with Albion 3/66.
Daniel Head joined Hillard at the crease after the break, but Hillard’s tenure was over for 15 when struck in front LBW by Trent Winsor.
Jakob Vearing joined Head for the fifth wicket, facing an uphill battle as the required run rate reached six per over.
Head and Vearing struck some lusty blows to counterpunch the tight Court House bowling, in particular against the spinners, rotating the strike as their partnership blossomed and in the process have Albion within touching distance of victory.
Court House had one last crack at dismissing Albion and gained the momentum upon breaking the 58 run partnership of Head and Vearing, firstly with the wicket of Vearing for 27 caught off the bowling via the off-spin of Gallen.
Immediately after Vearing’s departure, Head followed for A team high 38 in the same fashion but off the bowling of medium pace Jacob Price to leave the score in the balance – Albion needing 30 runs with three wickets in hand.
On the back of opening bowler Osmond hitting five boundaries – four of which were consecutive in one over – the game was wrapped up as Albion cruised to victory, reaching their target with five overs and three wickets to spare thanks to Osmonds’ innings.To order photos from this page click here