GOTCHA: Coutts Crossing opener Tim Tilse is clean bowled by Brayden Pardoe for a duck in the minor semi-final against Tucabia at Ellem Oval, Grafton on Saturday. Photo: Bruce Thomas
GOTCHA: Coutts Crossing opener Tim Tilse is clean bowled by Brayden Pardoe for a duck in the minor semi-final against Tucabia at Ellem Oval, Grafton on Saturday. Photo: Bruce Thomas

Tucabia breathes sigh of relief Cricket

GI TUCABIA Copmanhurst Premier League cricket team has kept its premiership hopes alive with a hard fought win over Coutts Crossing in the minor semi-final at Ellem Oval.

Batting first Tucabia collapsed from 1/123 to be all out for 185 in the face of some outstanding reverse swing bowling from Zac Page, who took 8/51 from 18.3 overs.

Opening batsman Matt Blanch 57, and Matt Dougherty, 33, smashed the Coutts attack early, with Page conceding 33 runs off his first six overs.

Coutts Crossing opening bowler Zac Page demolishes Tucabia on Saturday taking eight wickets. Photo: Tim Howard
Coutts Crossing opening bowler Zac Page demolishes Tucabia on Saturday taking eight wickets. Photo: Tim Howard

First drop batsman Tim Bultitude, 28, put on 64 with Blanch, but the inning fell away rapidly when Blanch was bowled by Page with the score at 123.

But Tucabia ripped the Coutts top order apart with left-arm paceman Brad Chard picking up three early wickets as Coutts crashed to 4/19.

Skipper Luke Cox and Brandon Honeybrook set about rebuilding the innings and at 4/95 just before stumps on Saturday, it looked like Coutts had their noses in front.

But Tucabia skipper Bob McKenzie pulled a rabbit out of the hat by introducing youngster Joe Pigg into the attack.

With his second ball he tempted Cox into a shot which ended up in the hands of the bowler's father, Matt Pigg, leaving Coutts 5/95 over night.

Yesterday morning started disastrously for Coutts, with left armer Brayden Pardoe taking two wickets in his first over of the morning.

With wickets tumbling and Nick Wood unable to bat after dislocating his shoulder in the field, Honeybrook launched an assault on the Tucabia bowlers.

Shepherding the last batsman from the strike, he had reached 77 when he went for a lofted off drive, but picked out the fielder on the boundary to be the last man out for 77.

Batting a second time the Tucabia innings was almost a duplicate of the first.

Blanch fell 13 short of a century and Dougherty was out for 37 as Tucabia raced to 2/155.

But the introduction of spinners Luke Cox and Bill North caused another mid innings collapse.

Matt Blanch hammers a cut shot to the boundary in his second innings 87 for Tucabia against Coutts Crossing.
Matt Blanch hammers a cut shot to the boundary in his second innings 87 for Tucabia against Coutts Crossing.

Cox picked up 4/41 from 17 overs and North 3/32 from 13 overs as Tucabia crumbled to 9/196 giving Coutts an outside chance of snatching an outright win.

But veteran Matt Pigg had other ideas. He dug deep to bat through the middle session for 56 and combined with last batsman Chard for an unbeaten 74-run partnership.

The captains called the game off soon after tea.

For McKenzie the result was good, but the twin collapses were a worry.

"To win the game was good, but there were a few bad things for us as well," he said. Cox was philosophical about the game.

He said having to bat a man short and falling 24 short of a first innings win was not bad an effort.

"Probably me getting out before stumps changed the game too," he said.



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