Albion are minor premiers of Gunnedah District cricket, clinching the feat by defeating Kookaburras by 103 runs at Wolseley Oval on the weekend meaning they finish the regular season of round matches on top of the ladder.

The minor premiership ensures Albion will take the short route through to the grand final in a fortnight’s time and is reward for their consistent form throughout the season, having lost just the three fixtures throughout the season.

Batting first in the last round match, Albion compiled a competitive 6/167 off their 40 overs on what was a lush Wolseley Oval.

Kookaburras had made early inroads into the Albion batting, taking three wickets inside the first 20 overs to keep the Albion score in check at 3/62 by the 20-over drinks interval.

Wickets for Kookaburras in the opening exchanges were shared by opener Ateeq Ur-Rahman and first change pacers Alex Seach and Dave Callaghan.

Opener Bailey Lennox was the rock for Albion, keeping the scoreboard ticking over at a steady rate until off-spinner Jayden Winsor trapped him in front for 31, leaving the innings evenly poised at 4/90 in the 28th over.

James Mack came to the crease, and along with brother Andy they took the attack up to the Kookaburras’ bowling in a partnership towards the 10-over period of the innings.

James finished 19 not out and Andy 71 not out in a brisk 77 run partnership, boosting Albion’s total to 4/167 by innings end.

On the back of their batting innings, Albion continued to apply the pressure to Kookaburras in their run chase with opening bowler Cameron Waugh providing the early breakthrough of Tim Kelly, caught behind in his second and Kookaburras’ third over of the innings.

From 1/7, Kookaburras never recovered. Albion’s fielding intensity was highlighted by a stunning one handed catch on the long leg boundary by fellow opening bowler Mark Ewington to dismiss Kookaburras’ opener and linchpin Shayne Riordan.

Waugh was rampant, proceeding to take the next three wickets enroute to claiming a five-wicket haul during his eight-over opening spell to reduce Kookaburras to 5/50 inside 15 overs.

Sundries were Kookaburras’ top score with 22, as Riordan was the only other batsman to reach double figures with 18 in their run chase.

Waugh claimed the figures of 5/19 ensuring Albion claimed the minor premiership for season 2022/23 and booking their place in the grand final.

Mornington and Court House faced off in the other match of the last round, in what was evidently a precursor for their semi-final match upcoming this weekend.

Batting first, Court House were restricted by a rampant Mornington attack and in return their batters put the polish on their five-wicket win to chase down Court House’s 106 at Kitchener Oval.

Mornington opening bowlers Rhyce Kliendienst and Nick Millar made the early inroads, with Kliendienst picking up the first wicket and Miller the next two inside the first five overs of the innings, leaving Courthouse in dire trouble at 3-13.

That was soon 5/26 when Miller took his third and Kliendienst his second wicket in their hostile opening spells, breaking the back of the Courthouse batting line up.

Sam Doubleday at number seven steadied the ship for Courthouse, but the wickets continued as first change pacer Lachie Straney picked up two wickets, as Doubleday and Peter McCormack took Courthouse to the 20-over mid innings drinks interval without further damage albeit in a precarious position at 7/42.

McCormack fell victim to Straney shortly after the break, as Doubleday attempted to attack at the other end but Courthouse were facing an uphill battle for a competitive total to limp to 8/78 in the 25th over.

He finished 49 not out in the total of 106 and due to the damage of the eight-over spell of Straney, Morington mopped the tail of the Courthouse batting.

Straney registered the best figures for Mornington with 4/30 off his eight overs after the early blitz of opening bowlers, Miller (3/26) and Kliendienst (2/10).

In their chase, Mornington lost the early wicket of Justin Carter off the bowling of Braithen Winsor to leave them 1/20 in the sixth over. That brought Miller to the crease to join opener Henry Johns.
Miller and Johns were ultra-aggressive in their partnership and in a matter of overs, began taking the game away from Courthouse.

Their partnership of 63 had the scoring rate ticking over at five-an-over.

It pushed the score to a commanding position for Mornington until on 35, Johns was dismissed by the off-spin of Doubleday in the 16th over but Mornington were still in command at 2/83.
Miller was also dismissed by Doubleday in pursuit of attempting to knock off the remaining 24 runs required for a breezy 43, as Courthouse began to mount a comeback with two quick wickets.

First change pacer Ben Irwin also struck twice in two overs, but the damage of the partnership between Miller and Johns was enough for the remaining Mornington batsmen to complete victory with five wickets to spare.

Doubleday (2/8) was the best of the Courthouse bowlers while Irwin (2/34) was the other multiple wicket taker. 

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