Maclean United peaking at right time
LCCA CRICKET: It's not too often a team celebrates victory after an opposition batsman scores 97 runs.
But Maclean United did just that in the Lower Clarence First Grade minor semi-final against Iluka at Yamba Oval on Saturday.
Opener Dean Bartlett carried the bat and was the last man out for Iluka, three runs short of his century, and his team's total 30 short of United's 6 for 185.
United skipper Dean Moran was thankful Bartlett lacked support in the run chase.
"He batted all the way through and I said to him after the game he deserved a hundred," Moran said. "He just lacked someone to stick with him."
Iluka's run chase started well with fellow opener Alex Robison (13) looking good.
But an excellent spell from Michael Essex (3 for 13 off 8) stemmed the flow of runs in the middle of the innings.
"Geez he has bowled well lately," Moran said. "He picked up three quick ones just after drinks which was exactly what we needed. He went bang, bang, bang and broke their back."
The target was out of reach by the time No.11 Tym Peters came to the crease with two overs remaining. He proceeded to survive the penultimate over and give Bartlett a shot at triple figures. However, he the latter was bowled attempting to hit Nathan Anderson down the ground off the third last ball.
Moran expected a tough battle after losing the toss and being sent in. On the contrary, every batsman reached double figures with Jarrod Moran (52) top scoring in an impressive batting display.
The skipper applauded the preparation of the wicket.
"The covers were on since Thursday and Yamba had a torrential downpour off the ocean on Friday and more rain on Saturday morning," he said.
"But Turk (Urquhart) and Graham Mackie did a good job and at the end of the day it played pretty well."
"Everyone got runs so that was good. You want to be playing your best cricket this time of year and we have been."
In the preliminary final United will face Harwood who were no over powered by Wanderers in the major semi-final at Iluka Oval.
Once again the Honeybrook brothers starred with Brandon (45) and Zac (56*) top scoring in Wanderers' total of 7 for 193. Brandon then took 3 for 25 with the ball with Harwood all out for 131.
"Harwood have been strong all year," Moran said. "It'll be a reasonably even game I would imagine."