Tucabia downs leaders to win a thriller
Premier league cricket by Tony White
BANANACOAST Community Credit Union Premier League favourites Harwood were rolled in a nail biter by G I Hotel Tucabia-Copmanhurst at McKittrick Oval on Saturday.
After being set 277 for victory, Harwood were all out for 257 in the match that finished in twiglight at 6.20pm.
It was a game that had everything, controversy, sledging, brilliant bowling and batting.
And there was even a delay when captains of both sides and the umpires had to consult the rule book.
"Yeah, what a match," Tucabia's triumphant captain said. "It was in the balance until the very end."
Sledging, or 'good natured banter' as Rouse preferred to put it was part and parcel of the tense match he confirmed.
Rouse said the delay in the game came after uncertrainty over the minimum number of overs which had to be bowled.
"Because we bowled eight overs last week no-one was sure whether we still had to bowl 80 overs on Saturday," he said.
"The umpires consulted the rule book and confirmed 80 overs had to be bowled."
Tucabia couldn't have wished for a better start. Harwood, resuming at 1-6, lost a swag of early wickets to be in all sorts of trouble at 4-49 and later, 6-81.
Rouse, Aaron Amos, Seb Dalton and Tim Gallagher ripped through the top order, Ed Munday best of the top five batsman with 26.
But one of Harwood's strengths this season has been the team's ability to bat right through the order.
And the Harwood rear guard fight back nearly turned certain defeat into an amazing win.
Greg Firth was able to steady the ship with a gutsy 53 and Mark Ensby, who scored a great 95, proved a major thorn for the hard working Tucabia bowlers.
At 7-137, Rouse admitted his team was very condident of victory, but Harwood wouldn't lay down.
"They showed why they are favourites for the title," Rouse said. "They bat right down the order."
"Mark Ensby and Matt Young (20) are both agressive batsman and they really took it to us."
It was Amos who scored the major breakthrough having Ensby out caught and bowled.
"Mark (Ensby) was subdued at the start of his innings and we put a hard chance down when he was 30-odd," Rouse said.