Harwood scores after shock call
THERE’S an old cricket adage: “When you win the toss, nine times out of 10 you elect to bat. The tenth time, you think about it and then elect to bat”.
In the Premier League grand final at McKittrick Park, Harwood captain Tim McMahon couldn’t believe his ears when Westlawn skipper Daniel Amos won the toss and said: “We’ll have a bowl”.
Two hundred and fifty runs later Harwood were well on their way to another premiership.
“That was the start of two good days of cricket when Charlie (Daniel Amos) said he was going to bowl,” McMahon said yesterday.
“He would have had his reasons and I respect him for that.”
Batting out their overs has been the key to Harwood’s success this season and in the decider they stuck to that winning formula.
With most batsmen getting a start, Harwood reached a mammoth 255 for the loss of six wickets.
In reply, Westlawn were bundled out for just 125 yesterday as they slumped to their second grand final defeat in two years.
Earlier, Harwood survived a scare when both openers fell with the score on 42 but Nathan Ensbey steadied the ship with a 76-run knock.
“Nathan’s a big-game player and always seems to bat well in finals,” McMahon said.
“And I thought Luke Harradine did a wonderful job. He batted for about 60 overs for his 37 but he did what he had to do to help build the innings.”
Ensbey and Harradine took the score to 141 before Ensbey was caught and bowled by Tony Blanch.
As they have done all season Harwood’s young guns – Richie Tabor, Nathan Essex and Ben McMahon – played smart to guide Harwood past the 250 mark.
“The young guys did well and helped us bat out the overs. We were able to set up a final onslaught and we still had four wickets in hand,” McMahon said.
For Westlawn Rohan Hackett bowled without luck to finish with 1-39 off 24 overs.
It was an unhappy day for his partner in crime Matt Lobsey who ended up with the unflattering figures of 2-96 off 25 overs.
Batting has been a major concern for Westlawn this season and it came back to haunt them again yesterday with only two batsmen displaying any resistance against a steady Harwood bowling attack.
Jason Chevalley (36) and Brad Inmon (45) gave their teammates some hope but in the end Harwood were simply too good.
Kane Aeschlimann, making his return from injury, ripped through the Westlawn top-order to claim 3-28 in an inspirational spell of bowling.
Ben McMahon chipped in with 2-12 while Luke Harradine capped off a great game with two Westlawn scalps.
“Kane got us away with three quick wickets before his back locked up and I thought Ben (McMahon) and Esso (Nathan Essex) did a great job,” McMahon said.
Asked if he made the right decision to send Harwood in to bat Westlawn Captain Daniel Amos said he thought the wicket would suit his bowlers early on.
“We were basically trying to play to our strength,” Amos said.
“If there was any life in the wicket it would have been in the first hour or so.
“Harwood batted well on Saturday as they always do and batted out their overs.
“We lost three quick wickets, consolidated, then lost five quick wickets ... it’s what we’ve been doing all season.”
When asked if the omission of bowling weapon John Blanch from Westlawn’s side was the right move, Harwood skipper Tim McMahon admitted it was a strange decision.
“Once again it was Westlawn’s call. This (McKittrick Park) is his wicket so we were a bit shocked,” he said. “But I suppose they had their reasons and I respect them for that.”