Competition leaders Albion continued their winning ways in Gunnedah District Cricket at the weekend, accounting for Kookaburras by three wickets at Kitchener Oval.

Meanwhile, Court House maintained their position in second on the ladder, defeating third placed Mornington by 54 runs at Wolseley Oval.

Batting first, Court House put together a competitive 172 on the back of number three batsman Oscar King scoring a match-high 66.

After losing the toss and forced to bowl first, Mornington’s opening attack of Rhyce Kliendienst and Nick Millar were tight in their opening spells, but the introduction of off-spinner Richard Avendano struck the first blow in removing opener Keaton Walters – Avendano was to have a significant impact on the innings.

That brought King to the crease to join other Court House opener Dom Barnes and as the second wicket pair set about accumulating the Court House total, they progressed their side’s score to 45 inside the first 10 overs.

Barnes was dismissed to give Avendano his second victim, and by the 20 over drinks interval Court House had briskly moved their way to 2/82 on the back of King landing some lusty blows.

Mornington made a further break through after the drinks interval – that of Sam Doubleday falling victim to Nick Herring which brought Jye Hicks to the crease to join Court House’s mainstay, King.

Together they batted the majority of the second 20-over stanza of the innings, putting together a well-compiled 65-run stand until broken by Avendano who claimed his third wicket.

Astonishingly, Avendano went on to claim a five-wicket haul and register figures of 7/29 off his eight overs as the last four Court House wickets were snared by Avendano.

Through Avendano’s off-spinning efforts, Mornington was able to close out the Court House innings on 172 as the Court House remaining batsmen failed to add any impetus to the innings by losing their last six wickets for six runs.

Court House immediately put the Mornington run chase under pressure, dismissing opening batsmen Justin Carter and Nick Millar inside the first five overs. 

Mornington’s chase was held together thanks to Henry Johns at number three. He top scored with 51 for his side but Johns was unable to find a willing ally in the pursuit of the target.

Aaron Condrick scored 11 and Marcus Hayne, 20, in conjunction with Johns but they were the only other batsman to register double figures for Mornington during the run chase.

Off spinner Sam Doubleday reaped the spoils for Court House to claim 4/31, while the combination of Braithen Winsor (2/14) and Jonah Cameron mopped the tail, taking a stunning 2/0 off three balls in his first over to be the other multiple wicket takers and complete the impressive win for Court House.

Albion was made to work hard for a victory over the gallant Kookaburras as Albion made the bold decision to send Kookaburras in to bat first.

Kookaburras posted a competitive 158 in response and quickly had the game in their grasp following quick wickets during the Albion run chase.

Opener Tim Kelly nearly carried his bat for all but the entirety of the innings and top scored with 54 in his side’s total of 158.

Fellow opener Bailey Keeler set the tone early for Kookaburras, pouncing on anything short as he carved two boundaries and a six in his brief innings of 18.

Keeler was one of three victims to fall to Albion opening bowler Jono Crowe, who at times was luckless in his eight-over opening spell.

By the 20-over drinks interval, Kookaburras had put themselves in a commanding position at 3/85.

Kelly remained the rock for Kookaburras, as captain Chris Holliday joined Kelly after the drinks break, immediately taking the attack to the Albion bowlers.

He struck a breezy 26 that included four boundaries and a six, boosting his side’s total towards the 150 mark and his lower order obliged in adding late runs to set Albion a competitive 159 for victory.

Albion’s chase started in dismal fashion on the back of opening bowler Shayne Riordan as Kookaburras had the Albion line up in tatters at 4/31 inside the first 12 overs.

Number four bat Daniel Head proved the difference, as he and James Mack set about resurrecting the run chase.

Head and Mack took the Albion score to 95 before Mack was dismissed for 19, and Head departed for a well-made 49 to leave the score and the game in the balance at 6/125 in the 29th over.

Opening bowler Crowe was able to steer Albion home though, completing a fine all-round performance to finish 21 not out having previously taken 3/24 for Albion and maintain their top position on the leaderboard.

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