Late collapse with victory in sight costly for Clarence River

CLARENCE River squandered a great chance to qualify for the NSW Cricket Country Shield quarter-finals.

The representative side had restricted Ballina to 232 at Ellem Oval and at one stage seemed to be coasting along at three for 112, off 23 overs.

Doug Harris (73) had dispatched spinner Kristiaan Ezzy for three sixes and he had the experienced Matt Pigg (15) at the other end.

But consecutive wicket maidens - including captain Bob McKenzie judged lbw off his first ball - turned the game on its head.

Apart from Luke Cox (20), there was little resistance, with the last five wickets falling for nine runs.

"It was a shame, after we did a good job as a bowling and fielding unit," Harris said.

"It was a pretty good deck and we thought to ourselves 250 was par, so we were really happy between innings."

Earlier, Harris was the pick of the bowlers for Clarence River. He pegged Ballina down early, his offspin yielding just 14 runs off his first six overs, before he finished with figures of four for 51, off 9.4 overs.

Brad Chard bowled three maidens in his two for 30, as Ballina's Ben Carruthers (82) built steady partnerships around him.

When it was Clarence River's turn to bat, Ballina's opening bowler Terry Murphy bent his back and removed Tim Tilse (5) early, before a false stroke undid Jordan Elliott (7).

But Clarence River recovered and Brendan Cleaver (25), Harris and Pigg kept the run rate under control and it appeared victory was in sight. But Murphy returned (four for 30, off eight) and conspired with left arm spinner Steve Robb (four for 28, off eight) to destroy Clarence River's hopes.

A 69-run win saw Ballina progress to the Country Shield quarter-finals to be played on December 15.

"The key for Ballina was Steve Robb," Harris said. "He's a quality spin bowler and made it hard to score."

Round 2 Scorecard

Venue: Ellem Oval, Grafton

Ballina Innings
N SCOTT c Dougherty b Chard 8
K EZZY c Kroehnert b Chard 25
T BURVILL c Dougherty b Harris 23
B CARRUTHERS c Harris b Blanch 82
J THOMPSON b Cleaver 4
N COLLINGS c Elliott b Harris 49
I FISHER c McKenzie b Harris 16
T MURPHY run out (McKenzie) 9
S ROBB c Pardoe b Harris 3
M PEARCE not out 4
R PEARCE run out (Pigg) 0
Sundries (1b 2lb 5w 1nb) 9
Overs: 49.4

FoW: 1-28 (Scott) 2-40 (Ezzy) 3-117 (Burvill) 4-124 (Thompson) 5-175 (Carruthers) 6-207 (Collings) 7-223 (Fisher) 8-226 (Murphy) 9-229 (Robb) 10-232 (R Pearce)

Bowling: Brad Chard 10-3-2-30, Nathan Blanch 10-0-1-63, Brendan Cleaver 10-1-1-42, Matt Pipgg 10-0-0-45, Doug Harris 9.4-1-4-51.

Clarence Valley Innings
T TILSE b Murphy 5
J ELLIOTT c Ezzy b R Pearce 7
B CLEAVER st M Pearce b Robb 25
D HARRIS c Scott b Robbn 73
M PIGG c Fisher b Thompson 15
B McKENZIE lbw Robb 0
L COX b Murphy 20
T KROEHNERT c M Pearce b Robb 0
B CHARD b Murphy 1
B PARDOE not out 0
M DOUGHERTY lbw Murphy 0
Sundries (5lb 10w 2nb) 17

Overs: 36

FoW: 1-13 (Tilse) 2-20 (Elliott) 3-71 (Cleaver) 4-112 (Pigg) 5-112 (McKenzie) 6-154 (Harris) 7-154 (Kroehnert) 8-155 (Chard) 9-163 (Cox) 10-163 (Dougherty)

Bowling: Ryan Pearce 7-1-1-27, Terry Murphy 8-1-4-30, Kristiaan Ezzy 6-0-0-37, Steve Robb 8-2-4-28, Tobyn Burvill 1-0-0-7, Jaryd Thompson 4-1-1-17, Isaac Fisher 2-0-0-12.

Result: Ballina won by 69 runs

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