Essex continues run feast

LOWER Clarence all-rounder Nathan Essex's run feast continued on Sunday when he produced a match-winning knock against Bellingen in the first round of the Country Plate.

The talented middle-order batsman pummelled the Bellingen attack into submission on his way to a well-deserved 72.

Essex has hit a purple patch with the bat in recent weeks and continues to pile on the runs. On Saturday he blasted 62 for Harwood in its Premier League match against Westlawn.

Lower Clarence captain Matt Ardrey decided to have a bat after winning the toss, which almost backfired, as Lower was left reeling at 4-13.

"We lost a few quick wickets and were in deep trouble until Nathan and Liam Johnson came to the rescue," Ardrey told the Examiner yesterday.

"Nathan batted aggressively at the start but played sensibly when Bellingen put the field back.

"Liam also batted well for his 50. I thought a score around 200 would be very competitive."

In reply, Bellingen was dismissed for a meagre total of 137, thanks to Ben McMahon and spinners Liam Johnson and Ardrey.

McMahon snared four wickets with his medium pace, while Johnson and Ardrey chimed in with three wickets each.

"Ben bowled a good line and length and kept things tight and they had trouble facing spin," Ardrey said. "We also took our chances in the field. I think we only put down one catch."

Lower Clarence will play the winner of Nambucca and Gloucester in round two of the Country Plate.

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