Comben slick as Towns win Geraldton cricket league
Towns are Geraldton Bendigo Bank Cricket League premiers after a tense win over Sportsmans at Wonthella last Saturday.
The game ebbed and flowed.
Sportsmans, batting after Ben O’Brien won the toss, were 0-51 and then lost 8-51. They ended at 8-126 which, on a deck where bowlers ruled, was passable.
Much of Towns’ chase was iffy, aside from a 39-run second-wicket stand between Vijil Varghese and Jay Comben.
Towns sagged to 6-89, but again, fortunes turned.
A flag was unlikely at the start of the season, but captain Sam Crouch explained the ingredients were there.
“Our young fellas now have experience, plus we had Jai Russell and Daniel Lennard for a full year, and top recruits in Ringo McKenna and Brady Collins,” Crouch said.
“We could have had Sportsmans out for under 110 but for a few runs at the end, so something defendable on that pitch.
“We were confident we’d get there; we don’t rely on one person to make runs because aside from Russell, we’re inconsistent with the bat. Everyone chipped in, which is what we do, and at the end Kurt Crudeli and Callum Marquis were composed and got us home.”
In Sportsmans’ innings, Aaron McAuliffe (33) took his season tally to 895 runs, the third-highest on record.
He had support from fellow opener Riley Barham (18), with late runs from Jarrod Jupp (18no) and Graeme Barndon (13no).
Crouch (2-29) made the breakthroughs Towns needed, with both openers caught by Ethan Johnson.
Russell (3-23) also shone, as did McKenna, Tom Forsyth and Collins who, though wicketless, bowled a combined 30 overs for just 61 runs.
Towns’ fielding was superb with direct-hit run-outs from Johnson, Lennard and McKenna, which respectively dismissed O’Brien, Darcy Ingle and Clint Yeates.
Towns lost an early wicket in the reply, with Simon Evans well held at slip by McAuliffe off Yeates and then settled through Varghese (23) and Comben (27).
Sportsmans rallied after Varghese was bowled by O’Brien (2-22) while Dan Welsh (2-15), who bowled expertly, had Russell playing back and leg before.
Glenn Wishart (2-22) castled Comben and did the same to Crouch (15), while Collins was caught behind by Ingle off Welsh to make it 6-89.
Crudeli (14no) often played and missed, but dug in while a more solid Lennard belted a straight six off Yeates.
It was 7-109 when Lennard fell to O’Brien and Marquis, with 90 runs in 19 innings this season, went in.
For a few overs, Crudeli and Marquis scratched around, but finally Crudeli leg glanced a four and later, another from a late cut.
With three to win, Marquis, facing Jupp, swung lustily.
The ball landed safely for two but they ran hard and went for the winning run.
Marquis beat the throw, and Towns were premiers.
The Bob Taylor best player medal went to Comben.
His keeping was brilliant, especially standing up, and he made crucial runs.
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