Gunnedah’s North West representative MA Connolly Cup round two competition match against Tamworth was cut short by rain last Sunday.

Extraordinarily, Gunnedah forfeited hosting rights to Tamworth due to a glitch in the Kitchener watering system – Kitchener Oval was deemed too wet for any play – meaning the match on Sunday morning was decided and agreed by both sides to be moved to Chaffey Park in Tamworth.

Due to the late change, the match was reduced to a 40-over per side match as opposed to the competition rules of 50 over fixtures.

Albeit the late change, Gunnedah won the toss and elected to bowl on a green and bowler-friendly wicket.

Their openers repaid the faith with skipper Ash White setting the tone for the Gunnedah side.

Left armer Troy Sands picked up the first wicket in his second over but it was Peter McCormack who put the skids on the Tamworth batting.

McCormack claimed three wickets – at one stage was on a hat-trick – and in combination with Sands, had Tamworth in trouble at 4/33 after 10 overs.

That was soon 5/62 after Lachie Straney removed another Tamworth batsman. At the 20-over drinks interval, Gunnedah was well on top.

But dropped chances, including one Tamworth batsman who was dropped a total of five times, and not giving out caught on two other occasions, came back to hurt the Gunnedah side as it struggled to hang on to the early momentum.

Despite the inconsistent fielding effort of his side, Straney plugged away during an unchanged eight-over spell and collected his second victim LBW, while Braithen Winsor and Jaycob Price chipped in with a wicket each as Tamworth batted the allotted 40 overs to finish 9/171.

McCormack was the pick of the bowlers to finish with figures of 3/26 to go with Straney as the other multiple wicket-taker for Gunnedah to claim 2/26, while Sands claimed 1/16 in a tight opening spell as well as Winsor claiming 1/29 and Price 1/11 as the wicket takers for Gunnedah’s bowling effort.

Set 172 for victory, Gunnedah’s chase didn’t start as planned with opener AJ King dismissed caught behind in the first over. Brother Oscar replaced him and blasted a quick 13 that included a four and a six to have Gunnedah in trouble early at 2/26.

Henry Johns came in to join opener Justin Carter, as they put together a chanceless partnership of 46 to keep up with the required run rate and edge themselves just ahead of Tamworth’s innings at the same point after 15 overs. Tamworth removed Johns for 27 though which halted the momentum heading into the halfway 20-over drinks break at 3/76.

Ironically, it was moisture that shifted the match in the first place to Tamworth and it was rain that was to have a significant impact during the afternoon session.

Due to a storm rolling in, Gunnedah faced one over after drinks, finishing 3/81 but crucially were 11 runs behind Tamworth’s score at the same time of the batting innings.

Unfortunately for Gunnedah, 20 overs constituted a match in the event of being washed out, therefore also registered as a loss result.

Without the downpour, the game was well and truly alive and in the balance as opener Carter finished 27 not out and at the other end was Richard Avendano on six not out.

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