Coutts firebrands pull unlikely win from clutches of defeat
COUTTS V TUCABIA: While he may have a chronic problem with his elbow and myriad of other niggles - there is nothing you can say about the tenacity of Zac Page.
The seamer alongside partner in crime Adam Elliott did not shirk any of the workload as the pair ripped through the middle and lower order of Tucabia-Copmanhurst to salvage the most unlikely of first innings victories at Ellem Oval.
Tucabia resumed at the crease at 3 for 72 needing only 39 runs with seven wickets in the shed to reach Coutts' first innings total of 110. But under a welcomed cover of clouds the Coutts seam duo went to work immediately with the prized wicket of the dangerous Matt Dougherty (26) the first to fall.
"We had to see the back of him early and it was just lucky we did," Page said. "The wicket was flying and the ball was moving in the air nicely."
Coutts took 4 for 19 off 18 overs in a pressure cooker first hour with Tim Bultitude (24) leading the resistance for Tucabia. Returning from drinks at 7 for 91 Needing a further 20 runs for victory, a semi-final type intensity gripped both sides, but it was the Coutts bowlers who held their nerve, with Elliott trapping Bultitude in front and then Scott Lloyd in similar fashion in consecutive deliveries to have Tucabia all out for 106 and secure an unbelievable four-run victory.
Bowling unchanged throughout the start of day two, Page finished with 5 for 43 off 25 overs and Elliott 4 for 26 off 19.5 overs.
"Ads (Elliott) was bowling really tight, giving them nothing, and we gradually just built the pressure on them as a team," Page said.
"Everybody was up in the field, we really needed the whole team effort."
But soon it was panic stations once again for the Coutts Crossing outfit with the see-sawing clash showing another twist in the tale.
Tucabia captain Brad Chard - who has been superb form this season - continued on from his 5 for 35 in the first dig as he tore apart the Coutts Crossing top order for a second time with his scintillating pace.
The left armer took 6 for 47 off 15 overs as he used the swinging conditions to give his side a fighting chance for an outright victory.
But then enter Zac Page.
The man of the hour came to bat with his side stunned at 8-63 and when Jesse Boffey (2) departed soon after it was left to Page and Andrew McLachlan to rescue Coutts from an impending outright.
To put it into perspective, an immediate dismissal would have left Tucabia a target of 70 runs in about an hour and a half - or about 25 overs.
The pair focused on putting the straight bat behind the ball, thinking only about surviving as many overs of the Chard and Chris Adamson (3 for 31 off 15) onslaught.
"Chardy was just awesome out there," Page said. "Our mission was to just bat for time."
The pair batted for about an hour and had added 30 when McLachlan was eventually dismissed for 14 with Page not out 13, to be all out 95.
It was that last-wicket partnership which proved the ultimate difference. Instead of a required runrate of three per over, Tucabia was set a target of 100 runs off 12 overs (8.33 RPO) for an outright victory.
Forced to take the long handle, Tucabia left nothing to chance but three quick wickets soon spared Coutts' blushes. Despite facing a highly improbable task when he entered at 5 for 21, Chard went down fighting to finish 34 not out and his side 28 runs short.
"The match was on a knife's edge all afternoon," Page said.
"Tucabia to their credit never stopped coming at us.
"We only just got there."
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COUTTS CROSSING V TUCABIA COPMANHURST
At Ellem Oval
Toss: Coutts Crossing
Umpires: Terry Hickson, Tim Kinnane
Coutts Crossing 1st Innings 110
Tucabia 1st Innings
DJ Cootes c Boffey b Elliott 3
DW Woods c Cox b Page 14
AJ Buchanan b Gossen 20
BJ McKenzie c Cox b Page 10
MJ Dougherty c Fahey b Page 26
T Bultitude lbw b Elliott 24
CA Adamson c Cox b Elliott 2
TJ Blackadder c Boffey b Page 3
B Chard c Cox b Page 0
BP Lloyd not out 2
SM Lloyd lbw b Elliott 0
Extras (b 0, lb 1, w 0, nb 1) 2
ALL-OUT for 106
FoW: 1-3(DJ Cootes) 2-34(AJ Buchanan) 3-45(BJ McKenzie) 4-73(MJ Dougherty) 5-74(DW Woods) 6-86(CA Adamson) 7-89(TJ Blackadder) 8-92(B Chard) 9-106(SM Lloyd) 10-106(T Bultitude)
Bowling: Z Page 25-2-43-5, AB Elliott 19.5-5-26-4, J Gossen 4-2-10-1, E Fahey 9-4-23-0, A McLachlan 2-0-3-0
Coutts Crossing 2nd Innings
T Tilse b Chard 6
L Cox c ? b Chard 16
B Cotten b Chard 0
B North lbw b Chard 0
E Fahey c ? b Chard 12
AB Elliott b Chard 20
J Inskip b Chard 1
J Gossen b Adamson 0
J Boffey b Adamson 2
Z Page not out 13
A McLachlan lbw b Buchanan 14
Extras (b 6, lb 5, w 0, nb 0) 11
ALL-OUT for 95
FoW: 1-21(L Cox) 2-23(B Cotten) 3-23(B North) 4-30(T Tilse) 5-58(AB Elliott) 6-63(J Inskip) 7-63(J Gossen) 8-65(J Boffey) 9-95(A McLachlan)
Bowling: B Chard 15-3-47-6, CA Adamson 15-5-31-3
Tucabia 2nd Innings
BJ McKenzie c Fahey b Elliott 4
DJ Cootes run out (A McLachlan) 5
MJ Dougherty c North b Page 3
TJ Blackadder b Page 2
SM Lloyd run out (A McLachlan 13
AJ Buchanan c Fahey b Page 2
B Chard not out 34
CA Adamson not out 9
SIX wickets for 72
FoW: 1-7(DJ Cootes) 2-11(MJ Dougherty) 3-12(BJ McKenzie) 4-17(TJ Blackadder) 5-21(AJ Buchanan) 6-49(SM Lloyd)
Bowling: AB Elliott 6-0-37-1, Z Page 6-0-35-3
* COUTTS Crossing win first innings by four runs.