Gunnedah’s MA Connolly Cup campaign took a blow last Sunday, defeated at home by Gwydir in the North West competition by five wickets.

In a home match at Wolseley Oval, Gunnedah captain Ash White won the toss and elected to bat first but soon saw his side under pressure.

Gunnedah’s top order failed to fire against consistent pressure from the Gwydir attack, losing their first wicket at 10 and shortly after fell to be 3/30 after 10 overs.

As the Gwydir opening bowlers inflicted the early damage, it was spin to completely flaw the Gunnedah batting line up.

Off spinner Stephen Blett was introduced into the attack and began dismantling the Gunnedah middle order.

Emphatically, all five of his wickets were lbw or bowled, as he bowled an eight-over unchanged spell that reaped him 5/17 and hand Gwydir complete control of the match.

From 4/49 in the 15th over, Blett’s five-wicket haul saw Gunnedah bundled out shortly after the 17 over drinks break for 62 in the 21st over, with opener Justin Carter the only batsman to register double figures for the home side with 12 at the top of the order.

On a tricky wicket, Gunnedah needed early wickets and while opener Rhyce Kliendienst kept it tight at one end, Braithen Winsor was causing havoc in tandem at the other.

He picked up two early wickets to give Gunnedah a sniff, reducing Gwydir to 2/24 after six overs.

Gwydir number three Adam McGuirk was proving a thorn in the Gunnedah side, remaining unmoved although Winsor took a third wicket and captain Ash White chimed in with a wicket, leaving the visitors in slight discomfort with the game still in the balance at 4/32 after 10 overs.

However, McGuirk was joined by Tom Groth and their fifth wicket 32-run partnership ensured Gwydir knocked off the bulk of the total required during their vigil.

McGuirk finished with a classy 28 not out while Groth chipped in with 13, in the process handing Gunnedah their second loss of the campaign and in danger of missing the semi finals of the competition in the new year.

Best of the bowlers was Winsor with 3/27 combined with Ash White who took 1/10 as the wicket takers for the Gunnedah side.

Albeit the loss, Gunnedah still remains in the top four of the competition but will need to consolidate wins against Narrabri and Moree in the new year to strengthen their position for semi final action and an opportunity of MA Connolly Cup glory.

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