Ben steals the show to cement McMahon dynasty
CRICKET: Lower Clarence all-rounder Ben McMahon is in a stretch of rarefied form in Premier League and he translated it to the representative arena helping the boys from downriver take bragging rights in the Cotten Shield.
Despite Clarence River rocketing out of the blocks in the early overs with openers Jason Rainbow (72) and Mitch Kroehnert (15) showing no fear to Brandon Honeybrook and Daley Durrant, McMahon turned the innings on its head in two overs.
He had Kroehnert caught on the boundary rope by a leaping Corey Kempshall before removing Luke Cox and Bill Kerr in consecutive balls in his second over.
"Luke (Many) chucked me the ball when we were in a bit of trouble, I got three wickets ... which I guess really pegged them back a bit," he said.
"I don't think we felt pressure as much, we knew all we needed was a couple of wickets and the match would swing back the other way which is what happened out there."
Clarence captain Jake Kroehnert joined Rainbow in a middle innings damage control partnership as the pair slowed the scoring rate putting a value on their wicket. They managed a 76-run stand batting out 20 overs together before Kroehnert was caught as he tried to up the ante against wily spinner Doug Harris (2 for 24 off 10).
Kroehnert's wicket kicked off a trend for the batting side with the rest of the order falling at regular intervals as they lost the last six wickets for 45 runs to be all out for 180.
Lower Clarence legspinner Jacob McMahon took four of the wickets deceiving the lower order with his changes in pace and variation in spin finishing with four for 15 off five overs.
"We were definitely below par," Kroehnert said. "We were 3-80 after 10 overs, we were scoring at a great rate, and from there we would have like 240-250 but we just lost crucial wickets at crucial times."
Despite the low total Clarence River opening bowlers Rohan Hackett and Mitch Kroehnert bowled serious heat and when Nathan Ensbey was gone for a duck in the first over spirits rose in the field.
Then when Darrell Simmons and Harris fell in consecutive overs at 3-25 Clarence River could almost taste victory.
But it appeared that would be as close as they came as Mark Ensbey (40) and Ben McMahon (62) took the game away from the bowling attack with a top drawer 85-run fourth wicket partnership.
Kroehnert praised the efforts of a rejuvenated Hackett who stepped it up a notch on the representative field.
"Rohan impressed me for sure, what he did with the ball ... it was almost as if he thought to himself I am back in rep cricket and I am going to lead from the front," he said.
"He bowled with heat and was getting the ball to swing everywhere. His second spell really broke us back into the game.
"It is good to have that bowler, with Chardy out, to just throw the ball too and ask to get us out of a hole. He played with a heap of ticker and just took the game by the scruff of the neck."
A late flurry of wickets brought it down to a tight finish but a few errors in the field in the final overs saw Lower Clarence to the bragging rights victory.
"There's hardly a better feeling than beating Grafton," McMahon said.
SCOREBOARD: LOWER CLARENCE 8-184 (B McMahon 62, M Ensbey 40, B Honeybrook 21; R Hackett 3-36, M Kroehnert 3-36) def CLARENCE RIVER 180 (J Rainbow 72, J Kroehnert 26; B McMahon 3-24, D Harris 2-24, J McMahon 4-15)