40 wickets, 14 ducks in nail-biting grand final
By TERRY BRIEN
OPENING bowler Israel Simpson contributed with both bat and ball in Coutts Crossing's nail-biting outright victory over TucabiaCopmanhurst in the second-grade grand final at McKittrick Oval, South Grafton, at the weekend.
Being sent in on a damp wicket, Coutts were in all sorts of strife at 6/36, with Tucabia's opening bowlers Brett Paxton 5/32 and Damien Moran 3/17 doing the bulk of the damage. Scott Amos chimed in with two late wickets.
Coutts recovered to some extent to be all out for 130. Tim Tilse 35, Troy Henwood 21 and Simpson 29 not out provided the bulk of the runs.
In reply, Tucabia was soon in trouble, the first three batsmen going for ducks. Simpson 6/19 off 12 accurate overs and Paul Ensby 3/33 were the only bowlers used in dismissing the opposition for 53.
However, with plenty of time remaining and a low-scoring pitch to cope with, it became obvious that an outright result would determine the winner.
Former Coutts player Paxton had Coutts Crossing reeling in their second innings, taking 5/20 off 11 overs.
Opening batsman Troy Henwood with a gritty 11, Paul Cameron 13 and Simpson 13 not out helped in taking the total to 56.
Set 134 runs for the premiership Tucabia were back in the match.
Openers Tom Cootes and Tim Bultitude got the minor premiers off to a solid start with a part- nership of 24.
At this crucial stage of the game Coutts' captain, Ken Willis, made his only bowling change for the entire match, introducing promising young bowler Steven Lutton into the attack, replacing the experience of Paul Ensby.
Tucabia lost their next eight wickets for 43 runs, Simpson and Lutton both bowling well in the pressure end of the match.
At this stage with only two wickets in hand Tucabia required 67 for victory and hope was fading.
Brett Paxton, 40 not out, Robbie Blanch 13 and Scott Lloyd, two, took the total to 124 -? only nine runs short.
Israel Simpson 5/74 and Steven Lutton 5/41 shared the wickets.
A grand final that had it all -? 40 wickets and 14 ducks.