Grafton High’s Sam Barnier cover drives against Maclean High on Tuesday.
Grafton High’s Sam Barnier cover drives against Maclean High on Tuesday. Gary Nichols

Experience gives Maclean the edge

THE old adage ‘to win a final you must have played in one’ was certainly true yesterday when last year’s finalists, Maclean High School, proved too strong for Grafton High School in the final of the National Australia Bank under-14 CHS cricket knockout on Tuesday.

Played in oppressive conditions at Lower Fisher Park, Grafton High School won the toss and elected to bat in order to set a target for Maclean High to chase.

Opening batsmen Sam Barnier and Jacob Purser were solid at the wicket, however, some very tight early bowling from the Maclean High attack of Ryan Johnson and Johnathon Hayward restricted the flow of early runs.

Purser was the first wicket to fall for 19, caught by Johnson of the bowling of his brother Liam, with score at 33.

This brought to the wicket the in-form Ryan Cotten who after a jittery start and being dropped on 0, knuckled down to produce another classy innings before eventually being dismissed for 73, caught by Brett Emanuel off the bowling of Ryan Johnson.

Grafton, with plenty of wickets in hand and overs quickly disappearing, needed to make a quick dash for runs.

Darby Fahey answered the call with an exciting innings of 37 which included four sixes and two fours. Fahey was supported in the dying overs by brother Harry, who finished not out on 14.

Grafton High finishing on 5-187 from their 40 overs, with Ryan Johnson 2/43, Brett Emanuel 2/28, and Liam Johnson 1/13 being the best of the Maclean bowlers.

The Maclean High run chase was aggressive from the start, with openers Liam Johnson and Connor Young plundering the Grafton attack. With the run rate at over seven an over, the initial breakthrough finally came in the 11th over with Brayden Pardoe bowling Young for 63.

Johnson, who had a life early, continued to build his innings, however, batting partners soon began to fall with Ben McMahon, Ryan Johnson, Brett Emanuel, Caleb Every and Charlie Munroe all going cheaply.

Johnson, however, had played a masterful innings by dominating the strike to keep the runs for Maclean ticking over. He was eventually dismissed for a match-winning 82.

Grafton High picked up another late wicket, however, with Maclean on 8/187, Lachlan Daniels finished the game with style, clearing the boundary for six runs.

Best of the Grafton High bowlers were Harry Fahey and Brayden Pardoe, who picked up three wickets each.

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