Easts' appetite for destruction
A SIX-wicket capitulation by Westlawn handed the early initiative to Premier League cricket top four rivals Easts at McKittrick Park on Saturday.
Entering the final round of the regular season, Westlawn sat in the all-important fourth position, but had Easts, less than a point behind, breathing down their necks.
However, Westlawn has almost certainly waved goodbye to finals cricket this season with Easts only needing 12 more runs to overtake Westlawn's first innings score of 127 runs.
The bleakness at the close of play was not justified at the beginning of the day with top order batsmen Brendan Purser (22), Daniel Amos (45) and Brad Inmon (26) compensating for the loss of Shaun Ulrick (0) and Jason Chevalley (5) early.
Indeed, the loss of Inmon to Dane James (3/36) still had Westlawn at a respectable 5/117 and on target to secure a defendable first innings total.
However, Easts stemmed the flow of runs and Westlawn cracked under the pressure, bleeding wickets at an uncontrollable rate.
Displaying a lack of batting depth, Westlawn mustered four ducks and two knocks of four (Robbie Kean and Tony Blanch) from its last six wickets, limping home for a meagre 127-run total. The last six wickets fell for just 14 runs.
“It was very disappointing ... there was some pretty bad shot selections,” Westlawn captain Purser said.
“The pitch was fine, a bit slow, but it didn't warrant a score of only a 127 runs.”
Easts vice-captain Doug Harris said the Easts bowling attack had maintained pressure on the Westlawn batsmen throughout the innings.
“We got off to a good start and always looked dangerous,” he said.
“They came back at us and out of nowhere - Tim White picked up two key wickets and got us back into it.”
Easts' top order all enjoyed starts with Matt Hartmann anchoring the run chase with a classy innings of 47.
Easts will resume next week at 4/116 and within touching distance of the remaining finals position.
“We can't give them a sniff,” Harris said.
“We have to hang around and bat out our overs and drive them into the ground.”