Brothers batsmen hitting form at the right time
CRCA CRICKET: If there's one thing a cricket side values heading into the pointy end of a season, it's the top order batsmen firing.
Clocktower Hotel Brothers put Jacaranda Hotel Westlawn to the sword after captain Jake Kroehnert won the toss on Saturday, amassing 5 for 299 before declaring after 56.1 overs in hot, ideal batting conditions at Lower Fisher Turf.
Opening batsman Michael Summers blunted the attack in a 130-run 2nd wicket stand with his skipper before falling six runs shy of a second ton for the season.
Kroehnert didn't miss out, however, reaching his second triple-figure score of the 2016/17 GDSC Premier League competition during another 130-run stand, for the 4th wicket with Ben Jurd (60), before he was dismissed for 118.
"It was a real good batting deck," Kroehnert said. "Not much happened there all day for the bowlers, definitely a batters' wicket."
Summers (433) and Kroehnert (432) have now streaked to second and third on the run scorer's list behind Harwood's Nathan Ensbey (521), while opener Billy Kerr, who managed 80 in the previous round, has racked up 230 runs.
"It's good to see our top order batsmen hitting some runs," Kroehnert said. "It's the right time of the year to be doing it. Hopefully we can keep the runs coming."
Especially pleasing for Kroehnert is the form of Ben Jurd in the middle order.
After essentially serving his apprenticeship learning the ins and outs of Premier League from down the order in 2015/16, the 17-year-old has been a revelation. On the back of his maiden top grade half-century on Saturday, he has now scored 206 runs in 2016/17 and is fast earning a reputation as a player who can quickly take the game away from the opposition.
"We were talking earlier about how he keeps getting 30s and 40s and couldn't seem to get across the line past fifty," Kroehnert said.
"On the weekend we talked about trying to hit quick runs and he had no hestitation to risk his wicket for the team, and he ended up with a well-deserved fifty.
"He's a good finisher actually. He finished the innings real well."
The declaration worked perfectly for Brothers, with Jack Weatherstone (2 for 16 off 8) striking immediately to have Westlawn reeling at 2 for 16 when play resumes next week. Positioned for a possible outright victory and with news leaders Harwood are in trouble against Coutts Crossing (story page 22), Kroehnert even mused over the possibility of a minor premiership.
"So far what we've talked about is securing second spot if anything," he said. "But now that Coutts are in a good position, and us playing Harwood in the last round, coming first is still on the cards."
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BROTHERS v WESTLAWN At Lower Fisher Turf Toss: Brothers Brothers 1st Innings W Kerr b Blanch 11 MJ Summers c Harris b Cahill 94 J Kroehnert lbw b Rainbow 118 J Firth c Inmon b Cahill 2 BL Jurd lbw b Rainbow 60 Extras (b 7, lb 4, w 2, nb 1) 14 FIVE wickets (dec) for 299 Overs: 56.1 FoW: 1-16(W Kerr) 2-146(MJ Summers) 3-160(J Firth) 4-290(J Kroehnert) 5-299(BL Jurd) Bowling: N Blanch 8.3-3-27-1, N Green 4-0-20-0, AP Cahill 10-3-29-2, K Lawrence 1.3-0-7-0, PJ Vidler 11-0-71-0, JP Rainbow 13.1-1-68-2, L Harris 3-0-20-0, EJ Hourigan 2-0-20-0, A Riddell 3-0-26-0. Westlawn 1st Innings K Lawrence not out 4 EJ Hourigan b JS Weatherstone 0 PJ Vidler c Kerr b JS Weatherstone 0 JP Rainbow not out 8 Extras (b 1, lb 2, w 1, nb 0) 4 TWO wickets for 16 Overs: 8 FoW: 1-1(PJ Vidler) 2-1(EJ Hourigan) Bowling: JS Weatherstone 4-1-8-2, BJ Weatherstone 3-0-5-0, AJ Kinnane 1-1-0-0.