Low run scoring affairs littered both matches of Gunnedah district cricket at the weekend with Albion and Mornington chasing low totals to prevail in tight encounters.

Mornington continued the demise of the Kookaburras’ 2022/23 season, after recording a six-wicket victory at Wolseley Oval to consolidate second place on the ladder.

Batting first, Kookaburras patiently made their way to 97 after being bowled out in the 38th over, formed on the back of opener Tim Kelly top scoring with 38.

Kelly was dogged in defence early as Mornington opening bowlers Nick Millar and Lachie Straney had the new ball on a string, conceding just 10 runs inside the first 10 overs.

That was until the score was on 18 and Millar produced his first and only wicket in a luckless opening spell, claiming 1/10 of eight overs.

Bailey Keeler and Kelly moved the score to 41 by the 18th over until off -spinner Richard Avendano was introduced into the attack and removed Keeler to break the 23-run stand.

Kelly remained defiant and saw four partners come and go during his vigil until he was the seventh man dismissed with the score on 94, ultimately leading to the conclusion of the Kookaburras’ innings.

Wickets were shared by the Mornington bowling attack with spinner Josh Langdon taking 2/4 to clean up the tail and Alisdair Hewitt the other multiple wicket-taker with 2/25.

Medium pacers Millar, Straney and Will Ford all claimed a wicket, as well as spinner Avendano.

Mornington were rarely troubled during their chase which was exemplified by the chanceless opening stand between Marcus Hayne and captain Justin Carter.

Hayne and Carter rotated the strike with ease and put the Kookaburras bowling attack under pressure, and by the 14th over had progressed the total to 68 until Carter, on 36 runs, presented a catch to Bailey Keeler off the bowling of Tim Kelly.

At number three, Richard Avendano joined Hayne at the crease. Hayne scored all round the ground in an array of strokes during their 
run-a-ball, 26-run stand. Such was Hayne’s attacking influence on the partnership, Avendano was able to contribute just four runs in the pair’s batting display.

Kookaburras had a glimmer of hope late in the run chase and as Mornington edged closer to victory. Avendano was dismissed with the score on 91 and Mornington proceeded to lose 4/6 inside three overs.

Hayne remained the linchpin of the Mornington chase and steered his side to victory with a well-compiled 44 not out. 

Gunnedah district cricket competition leaders, Albion, continued their impressive form since the resumption of cricket in the New Year. The side produced a hard-fought, three-wicket victory against Court House at Kitchener Oval.

Winning the toss and electing to bat first, Court House was in early trouble at 4/8 inside the first five overs of their innings.

Opening bowler Cameron Waugh struck the first blow for Albion in his first over and was backed by Andrew Osmond from the other end who made an early dent in the Court House batting line up.

Court House number three, Keaton Walters, was the backbone of the Courthouse innings and for the fifth wicket he was joined by Carter McIlveen to set about resurrecting the flailing Court House innings.

McIlveen counter-punched as Walters rotated the strike for his partner, but McIlveen was caught for a quick-fire 24. By then, half of Court House’s batting line up had been dismissed with the score at 5/46 after 13 overs.

That was soon 6/61 after medium pacer Travis Oakley was introduced into the attack with immediate effect, trapping Jacob Price LBW.

Oakley was instrumental in wrapping up the Court House innings, and took a further three wickets to help Albion close out the Court House innings on 94. He produced the best of the Albion bowling figures with 4/20, coinciding with the previous efforts of fellow pacers Waugh, Osmond and Jono Crowe who all took two wickets.

Albion’s chase of the small target struck an immediate blow due to Court House opening bowler Peter McCormack claiming his first wicket in his first over, and his second wicket in his fifth over to restrict Albion to 2/40 inside the first 10 overs.

Sundries were Court House’s Achilles heel in defending their total, conceding 32 to score more than any Albion batsmen.

Court House did manage to restrict Albion to 5/63 and then 6/73 following two wickets to Braithen Winsor and one to Carter McIlveen, but number four bat James Mack remained defiant in the Court

House pursuit for victory and provided a cool head under pressure. Mack was instrumental to the chase and navigated a tricky period during the innings’ middle overs, steering his side within a single run of victory until he was run out with the scores level for a team-high 24. 

Court House were left to rue their high extras total to gift Albion easy runs as Albion closed out the victory for the loss of seven wickets.

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