Harwood fast bowler Richie Tabor dives for the ball during the match against Westlawn on Saturday.
Harwood fast bowler Richie Tabor dives for the ball during the match against Westlawn on Saturday. Lynne Mowbray

Ensbey wicket proves crucial

UNBEATABLE, the most consistent team in the competition, too well-drilled.

That’s how most cricket pundits describe the Tim McMahon-led Harwood side in 2011.

Well someone forgot to tell Westlawn.

Westlawn have snuck into the Premier League grand final after a hard-fought 29-run victory over Harwood on their home ground – something other sides have failed to do this season.

The win has given Westlawn the chance to make amends for their loss to Brothers in the 2010 decider.

Harwood pride themselves on batting out the overs but against an in-form Westlawn bowling attack they found the going tough early on.

Chasing Westlawn’s modest first innings total of 153, Harwood found themselves in all sorts of trouble and at one stage were 4-15.

Matt Lobsey was Westlawn’s main destroyer, taking 4-40 with Nathan Blanch and father Tony chiming in with two wickets apiece.

Tony Blanch turned back the clock with a wonderful spell of bowling, sending down a mammoth 19 overs.

Once the initial storm passed Mark Ensbey steadied the ship but a disastrous run-out ended his innings and any chance of a Harwood victory.

Looking set at the crease Ensbey guided the ball to backward point but was sensationally run out going for the second run.

Ensbey’s departure came at a critical time in the match and had a huge bearing on the final result.

Westlawn took a gamble and went into the match without last season’s leading wicket-taker John Blanch.

Wickets have been few and far between for the left-arm seamer this season and with Nathan Blanch available after a long stint on the sideline through injury the selectors made the tough decision to leave him out.

“It was a really tough decision to select Johnny as 12th man,” Amos said.

“He’s a very good bowler but we thought we needed to strengthen our batting against Harwood.”

Amos said he could not be happier with the way his bowlers have performed recently but admits their batting needs to improve.

“Our bowling’s been brilliant but we need to improve in the batting department,” he said.

“We need someone to put their hand up and make a big score.”

Amos said there were concerns regarding strike bowler Rohan Hackett who suffered a slight groin injury during the match.



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