Rep rivals succumb to Kroehnert stranglehold
NORTH COAST CRICKET: When Clarence River Cricket Association strike bowler Brad Chard went down after the first over of the Lower Clarence innings with a shin splints complaint you could understand captain Jake Kroehnert's heart was in his mouth.
But according to the level-headed captain he had no worries with a slew of bowling options in the side who stood up to bowl out their Lower opponents 72-runs short.
Chard's Tucabia Copmanhurst teammate Brayden Pardoe stepped up to the mark to take over from the injured speedster while swing-bowler Jack Weatherstone also picked up a brunt of the overs.
"We knew what kind of depth we had with the ball so it was never really a worry," the captain said. "We made up the early overs that Chardy would have bowled with Braydo and Jack who both were on fire.
"They knew what their job was out there and they really stood up for the team. Braydo bowled really tight lines and heaped the pressure on while I think Jack capitalised on that pressure afterwards."
While the two pace options worked over the Lower Clarence batters at one end it was the effort of young gun Mitch Kroehnert who opened the innings with the ball at the other end which truly impressed.
Kroehnert finished a stellar innings with ball in hand with figures of three for 19 off eight overs.
The pace bowler said his job was made easier by the efforts of his side with the bat posting a competitive 224-run total in the face of a tough Lower attack.
"It was good to go out there knowing we had a big total to defend," Mitch said. "Putting those sort of runs on the board against any team is going to be a hard task to chase down and it gave us a license to attack with the ball."
Kroehnert claimed the top three scalps of the Lower line-up including Harwood mainstays Nathan and Mark Ensbey.
"Those Ensbey's are always big wickets to get and I think it really heaped the pressure on them. It is always easier to get energetic in the field when you are taking wickets and getting on top."
The Clarence River side had been set in good stead at the innings break after Brothers' opener Billy Kerr cashed in with a half-century at the top of the order backed up well by a 48 from captain Kroehnert and strong middle-order hitting from Ryan Cotten (46).
"I think Ryan's innings was a bit of a match-turner for us," Kroehnert said. "We had lost a couple of wickets and a few more fell up the other end but Ryan really kept his composure and hit the ball well.
"He would have had a wagon wheel to all parts of the ground and he found the boundary pretty regularly to keep the scoreboard ticking over."
With back-to-back victories under the belt this season and a chance to play Country Cup finals at home at the end of this year Kroehnert said the feeling in the CRCA representative side was at its best in recent years.
"It is a bit of a different feeling in the rep side this year," he said. "Everyone is happy to be there and giving it their full effort.
"Everyone knows that this year is a big year for us with the Country Cup finals being local and everyone wants to put in for that.
"The last two games there have been a few more people coming out to cheer us on - it feels like we are actually playing for people and not just yourself."
NEXT UP: Clarence River will play Tweed Coast in the second round of Country Cup clashes at Pottsville but a conflict in regional cricket scheduling will mean the date for the clash is to be advised.