Latham switch too little too late for Easts
EASTS v TUCABIA: A late season switch to opener for GDSC Easts' experienced batsman Andrew Latham has the club ruing what might have been if only they made it earlier.
Latham continued his vein of form with 46 runs to deliver Easts only their second victory of the 2016/17 GDSC Premier League season.
Latham's knock was the perfect start to Easts' run chase and allowed captain Ben Hill (67) to play his natural style at the other end as they comfortably reached Tucabia's 150 with seven wickets in the shed.
Latham now has scores of 54 and 46 against two of the best bowling attacks along the Clarence River - Harwood and Tucabia - since moving up the order in round seven.
"Having Andrew opening has just strengthened us at the top of the order which in turn gives us more confidence for the middle order," Hill said.
"It is a lot easier for our younger blokes to be coming in with the score at 1-60 rather than three for not very many. It just takes the pressure off a little."
It was patient batting from both Latham and Hill as they preferred to work the Tucabia attack around the McKittrick Park outfield rather then looking to go over the top of the rope.
Tucabia struggled to find rhythm with their attack without captain Brad Chard but would be pleased to see the return of star Brayden Pardoe to the field after an early season shoulder injury.
While the second victory of the year shows good signs of things to come for GDSC Easts, it has almost come too late for the side with finals cricket virtually ruled out.
"We are definitely ruing a few things this season," Hill said. "The boys were only saying 'what if the season was a couple weeks longer'.
"We just need to keep building on the last couple of years work. We have been making big improvements."
Already Easts have improved on their efforts in the 2015/16 GDSC Premier League season which saw them not win a match and face three outright losses.
This season they have won two matches, have only lost outright once to Harwood and sit one above Westlawn on the competition ladder.
"The boys are already talking about next year and what we have in store," Hill said. "I think a few of the younger players have got the idea on what it takes to win matches now."
Easts' victory against Tucabia sets up an exciting clash with Westlawn currently scheduled for Ellem Oval. Westlawn would need to win outright to avoid the wooden spoon, while Easts still have a sliver of hope at playing finals cricket this season. They would need to outright Westlawn and rely on Coutts Crossing defeating Tucabia.
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GDSC EASTS V TUCABIA COPMANHURST
At McKittrick Park
Toss: Tucabia Copmanhurst
Umpires: Terry Brien, Steve Millar
Tucabia Copmanhurst 1st Innings 150
GDSC Easts 1st Innings
A Latham c Pardoe b Cootes 46
B Palmer b Adamson 7
B Hill c Pardoe b Cootes 67
S Connor b Buchanan 35
JR Grieve run out (SM Lloyd) 7
J Ellis not out 6
M Robins not out 3
Extras (b 2, lb 3, w 6, nb 0) 11
FIVE wickets for 182
FoW: 1-12(B Palmer) 2-128(B Hill) 3-143(A Latham) 4-166(S Connor) 5-176(JR Grieve)
Bowling: B Chard 9-3-16-0, CA Adamson 12-3-30-1, BR Blanch 6-0-40-0, TJ Blackadder 11-4-16-0, DJ Cootes 10-1-33-2, AJ Buchanan 6-1-24-1, SM Lloyd 3-1-9-0, T Bultitude 3-0-9-0
* GDSC Easts won first innings by seven wickets.