Harwood batsman Nathan Ensbey during the CRCA match between Harwood and Brothers at Harwood Oval earlier this year.
Harwood batsman Nathan Ensbey during the CRCA match between Harwood and Brothers at Harwood Oval earlier this year. Debrah Novak

STATS HEAVEN: Ensbey first, daylight second in batter's ranks

CRCA CRICKET: Nathan Ensbey could not have dreamed of a better first half of the GDSC Premier League season.

After five rounds and exactly midway through the competition, the Harwood skipper has his undefeated side perched at the top of the ladder and has added an incredible 434 runs to his personal tally.

"The boys have had a good start to the year, that's for sure," Ensbey said.

"I've been hitting the ball well and had a fair share of luck."

Averaging 86.80 in five visits to the crease, Ensbey is on target to pass 500 runs for the season in this weekend's Saturday/Sunday clash against Westlawn at Ellem Oval. Next is Brothers captain Jake Kroehnert on 273 and returning Westlawn gun Jason Rainbow (234).

To put Ensbey's form into perspective, teammate Ben McMahon was the 2015/16 season's leading runs scorer with 502 runs and only Harwood's Mark Ensbey (448) and Cricketer of the Year Billy Kerr (444) from Brothers scored more than his current mark.

McMahon's 2014/15 mark of 571 is also looking seriously shaky, while Ensbey is almost two thirds of the way to the 654 runs scored by Doug Harris at GDSC Easts in 2013/14, when Tucabia's Matt Pigg scored 645 the same year.

In the past three premiership-winning seasons Ensbey has produced healthy returns of 289 at 20.64, 388 at 29.85 and 237 at 33.86.

"Some years are better than others," he said. "This year there's a good vibe in the team and everyone is doing a good job."

"It always makes it a lot easier when you've got a team that performs and a few other experienced guys in the team."

Aside from rarefied form, Ensbey's glut of runs could be put down to ideal batting conditions, with seven Premier League centuries already this season - matching the 2015/16 figure (five in 2014/15, two in 2013/14, five in 2012/13).

"The wickets are playing well," Ensbey said. "I've played a few games down at Harwood which has always got a little bit in it for the bowlers but it is a fairly good batting deck.

"I think (curators) Derek Woods and Scully (Blanch) do a great job with the wickets around Grafton. These guys haven't got all the flash equipment so they do a great job with the machinery and facilities that they've got.

"I'm very confident those blokes will be able to prepare some top decks for the Country Cup and Country Plate finals. I think the teams over the Christmas New Year break will be impressed."

Instead of being split into one-day and two-day fixtures, the withdrawal of South Services saw the Premier League draw changed to two full rounds of two-matches. Ensbey also believed this had contributed to greater opportunities for players to score big totals.

"I think the two-day comp has been good not only for our team but across the whole competition," he said.

"It allows players to take their time and settle into the rhythm and for teams like Easts it helps to build up their juniors. Their young blokes are performing well and I think two-day cricket makes it easier to give them time out in the middle.

"It was good to see Easts win last week and I think they'll win more games this season for sure."

Round 6: Westlawn v Harwood at Ellem Oval; Tucabia v Brothers at Lower Fisher Turf; GDSC Easts v Coutts Crossing at Ulmarra.

STATS LEADERBOARD

CLARENCE RIVER CRICKET ASSOCIATION

GDSC PREMIER LEAGUE

Most Runs

Nathan Ensbey (Hrwd) 434

Jake Kroehnert (Bro) 273

Jason Rainbow (West) 234

Ben Hill (Easts) 219

Michael Summers (Bro) 216

Most Wickets

Brad Chard (Tucabia) 23

Zac Page (Coutts) 17

Chris Adamson (Tucabia) 16

Luke Many (Harwood) 13

Jackson Grieve (Easts) 13

Points:

Harwood 42

Brothers 26

Coutts Crossing 26

Tucabia-Copmanhurst 17

GDSC Easts 11

Westlawn 0

GDSC SECOND GRADE

Most Runs

Ethan Hourigan (West) 438

Jaye Yardy (Tucabia) 244

Luke Sullivan (Souths) 229

Craig Cole (Souths) 211

Rowan Green (Souths) 178

Most Wickets

Josh Bultitude (Tucabia) 19

Jamie Hough (Westlawn) 16

Dylan Lucas (Brothers) 15

Jack Kelleher (Souths) 15

Chris Cleaver (Souths) 14

Riley Chevalley (Coutts) 14

Nick Lawson (Coutts) 14

Points:

Westlawn 44

South Services 42

Tucabia 32

Coutts Crossing 32

Brothers 24

GDSC Easts 11

GDSC THIRD GRADE

Most Runs

Gary Connor (Easts) 503

Ken Willis (Coutts) 451

Matt McKee (Coutts) 423

Jason O'Hara (Tuc) 306

Rick Gough (Tucabia) 290

Most Wickets

Craig Pereira (Coutts) 22

Bevan Blackadder (East) 19

Gary Connor (Easts) 18

Rick Gough (Tucabia) 15

Daniel Moar (Brothers) 13

Points:

Coutts Maroon 57

GDSC Easts 43

Coutts Blue 38

Brothers 33

Tucabia 26

South Services 24

Westlawn 8



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