Albion remain undefeated through the first phase of Gunnedah District cricket competition, defeating Court House at Kitchener at the weekend.
Meanwhile, in the other match of the round, Mornington also maintained second spot on the ladder, following victory over Kookaburras at Longmuir.
With the competition to head into the Christmas and New Year break, Albion took on Court House where Court House won the toss and elected to bat.
Albion’s opening bowling duo of Curtis Ellis and Andrew Osmond had Court House in early trouble, with Ellis snaring two wickets from his four-over spell, while Osmond also chipped in with a wicket, leaving Court House in slight trouble at 3/17 after eight overs.
In his return match from a broken ankle sustained during the football season, Keaton Walters dropped anchor batting at number four, steadying the innings for Court House.
Joined by Ben Irwin, the pair formed a partnership that was the backbone of the Court House innings and combined to bat for the majority of the middle overs for a 62-run stand.
That was broken when Ash White, bowling off spin, trapped Walters in front for a patient and well-compiled 20 runs.
Irwin remained though, albeit losing wickets around him, as Court House’s innings begin to fall in tatters. The side registered three ducks to go from 4-79 to 6-79 in the space of two overs.
Irwin was the key but, boosting Court House’s total in the final over by blasting a four and two sixes off the final three balls.
In the process, he dragged the Court House innings total into triple figures, while also completing his own personal milestone in registering a half century, as he remained unbeaten on 59 by innings’ end and Court House compiling a competitive 6/100.
Best of the bowling effort was White with 3/19 to go with Ellis as the other multiple wicket-taker with 2/7 for Albion.
Albion started their innings in brisk fashion, as opener Cam Waugh took the attack to the Court House opening bowlers.
He blasted a quick 21 before Peter McCormack knocked him over, bowled. McCormack’s opening partner Jaycob Price also chimed in with a wicket, dragging Court House back into the match after Waugh’s early onslaught.
The run rate was not an issue for Albion, but they lost wickets at crucial intervals, one courtesy of a run out and then first change medium pace bowler Braithen Winsor took a wicket, as Court House looked like the side on top in the match, with Albion 4/59 after 10 overs and requiring a further 42 for victory.
Fresh off taking three wickets during the bowling innings, White then turned his hand to the batting department, anchoring the run chase for Albion who despite losing a fifth wicket at 5/81, were guided to safety by White.
White finished with a polished 24 not out and Jakob Vearing scored 9 not out at the end to complete the five-wicket victory for the undefeated Albion side.
In the other match of the round at Longmuir, Kookaburras took on Mornington and put together one of their more complete batting efforts of the season.
Having won the toss and electing to bat first, Koobaburras’ Jayden Winsor continued his run of recent form, patiently keeping the side’s innings intact despite losing four wickets around him.
At 4/40 after 10 overs, Prasanth Van Houten was proving the destroyer with his medium pace, taking three wickets, combined with opening bowler Nick Herring who took a solitary wicket early.
Off-spin from Josh Langdon brought about the dismissal of Winsor for 18 and the Kookaburras innings looked in danger of folding quickly, as Langdon’s wicket-maiden suffocated Kookaburras to 5/40.
Callum Urquhart and Sansinghe put on a quick partnership of 24 to reinvigorate the Kookaburras innings, before Sansinghe was run out.
That made the score 6/64, which then became 7/76 upon Justin Carter bowling Urquhart for 14 but there was life yet at the tail end of the Kookaburras’ innings.
For their eighth wicket, Harry Paul and Alex Seach joined forces and with six overs remaining, Paul was a perfect foil in rotating the strike to the more aggressive Seach.
Their partnership of 28 was vital to Kookaburras posting a competitive total, as Seach fell in the last over, stumped off the bowling of Henry Johns for a team-high 21 while Paul remained unbeaten on five. Batting out the 20 overs, Kookaburras compiled 8/107.
Van Houten was the only multiple wicket-taker for Mornington with 3/11 off three overs, while Herring, Langdon, Carter and Johns all contributed a wicket each.
In pursuit of the Kookaburras total, Mornington lost two early wickets of Henry Johns and Josh Langdon – Johns first with the score on 16 and then Langdon with the score at 32, both off the bowling of Kookaburras opening bowler Ateeq Ur-Rahman.
Mornington opener Andrew Johns formed the backbone of the innings and while the early wickets fell round him, remained solid for his side as he put on a third wicket partnership of 35 with Sandy Friend.
Friend contributed eight of that partnership, as Johns was the main aggressor until their partnership was broken with the score on 66.
Kookaburras spinner Josh Canham produced the breakthrough, bowling Friend but the key for Mornigton was that Johns remained.
He continued in his aggressive approach, racing to 46 to all but seal victory for Mornington, until with the finish line in sight and the score on 96, he was bowled by Jayden Windsor.
Johns had done the damage though in all but shepperding his side home as Justin Carter and Van Houten chipped off the remaining 12 runs to seal victory inside 13 overs of the innings.
The six-wicket victory by Mornington solidifies their second spot on the competition ladder.To order photos from this page click here