Bowlers defend big total after 'Bear' goes bananas for LCCA
NORTH COAST CRICKET: Bowlers, spectators and even nearby vehicles ... no one was safe from the onslaught of Brandon Honeybrook in representative cricket action at Harwood Oval.
It was a display of power hitting like no other when the all-rounder bashed 78 not out off about 30 balls proving the difference in Lower Clarence's 65-run victory against Coffs Harbour in round two of the 2016/17 North Coast Inter-District competition.
Bear, as he is known on the cricket field, had been given a license to thrill by captain Luke Many after a stable top order got Lower Clarence off to the perfect start at 3-193.
While experienced opener Darrell Simmons (5) departed the crease early on in the innings Nathan Ensbey (75) and Doug Harris (54) managed to see off an an early spell of tricky bowling from Coffs Harbour notching up a 100-run second wicket stand.
The experience of Mark Ensbey (32) shone when he made his way to the crease scoring to all parts of the ground as he made use of a sticky Harwood Oval track.
But then the Bear attack began with Honeybrook dispatching them to all parts of Harwood Oval and beyond including a mammoth six over the batting nets which was just one of eight maximums.
"The openers just set it up nicely for Bear to do, what Bear does best," Many said. "He just opened his stumps up to the Coffs bowlers, they responded with a few full pitched balls and he went to town.
"One of the Coffs boys' cars got a touch up, and there was one down the cane end that didn't get more than three metres off the ground. It would have killed someone standing there."
An overnight thunderstorm had pushed the start time of the clash back an hour as extra surface water was drained from the pitch leaving conditions perfect for the bowlers.
"It worked out well, Nathan and Doug really had to work hard for their runs, the deck was tough for batting and then Bear comes out and it's like he's batting on concrete," Many said.
Lower Clarence finished their 50 overs at 6-288 and it was a struggle to begin with for the Coffs Harbour openers as they took time to trouble the scorers.
Honeybrook (2 for 12 off 5), opening the bowling after finishing the first innings not out, jagged two early wickets to have Coffs floundering at 2-5.
A measured third wicket stand from Coffs Harbour Under 16 representative Raman Phoonie (100) and wicket keeper Connor Martin (31) kicked off a Coffs fight back.
Lower captain Luke Many (2 for 46 off 9) bamboozled Phoonie to take his castle while Dylan Causley (2 for 28 off 7) managed to stave Coffs of runs at the other end.
It was a late fighting knock from Coffs' young quick EJ Atkinson (25) but it was too little too late as he was the last wicket to fall in over 45.
"There was a real bit of movement in the opening stages of the innings and I think our openers were the pick of the bowlers again," Many said.
"It was our best all-roubnd game with both bat and ball this season which puts us in good form ahead of the next Country Plate fixture against Cessnock."
With all sides now sharing a win after the second round of the North Coast Cricket Council Inter-District series it will come down to the third and final round as to the make-up of the final.
"It is getting really exciting, anyone who wins next round makes the final, it makes it feel like real semi-final style action," Many said.SCOREBOARD: Lower Clarence 6-288 (N Ensbey 75, D Harris 54, M Ensbey 32, B Honeybrook 78*; R Phoonie 3/68) def Coffs Harbour 223 (R Phoonie 100, C Martin 31, EJ Atkinson 25; B Honeybrook 2/12, L Many 2/46, D Causley 2/28).