After a lacklustre opening game in round two, the Coolavin Cricket Club has rebounded in emphatic fashion with an eight-wicket thumping of Crookwell.
Both sides were unaccustomed to being on the playing field on Saturday, as the Coolavin had played just once and Crookwell were yet to take the field from five rounds.
But the rain thankfully relented for long enough last week to allow cricket to go ahead over the weekend, and almost immediately Crookwell went on the offensive.
After winning the toss and electing to bat on Prell Oval, Josh Paterson (standing in as captain for his brother, Jake) and Tom Croker thumped a quickfire opening stand of 50. Once the former was dismissed, Croker carried on slamming straight sixes which threatened to bring down the newly-built hospital across the road.
After crushing five fours and five sixes on his way to 86, Croker was eventually caught behind off the medium-paced cutters of Callum Johnston.
At 3-145, Crookwell looked set for a total in excess of 200. However, after Croker's dismissal, Luke Hayward and Rory Heffernan came back into the attack and immediately responded with wickets.
"It was always the plan [to bring pace back on]," Coolavin captain, Tristan Klower, said.
"We only bowled our openers for three overs at the start, so we held them back for one or two spells at the end. Once the lower order came in we wanted to get them back on and try and take as many wickets as we could."
The plan worked to perfection, and after their incredible start, Crookwell could only cobble together a further 33 runs for the last six wickets to finish at 9-178.
At the innings break, Klower was extremely pleased to be chasing a sub-200 target.
"I was very happy, we definitely brought it back in," he said.
"It's a total we'd like to chase every week, something around there. To keep them under 200 in a 40 over game is pretty good total."
Despite needing more than four runs an over, the Coolavin batters were calm early.
A half-century opening partnership set the stage for the chasing side, but it was Hayward's arrival at number three that heralded real trouble for Crookwell.
Despite commenting after the game that he didn't hit a single ball in the middle of the bat, Hayward still possessed enough power to bash several towering sixes in an unbeaten half century. Arguably the biggest was the one off Paterson in the penultimate over of the game, as Hayward steered the Coolavin home with eight wickets and more than three overs remaining.
"It was a great knock, he definitely put them around a fair bit," Klower said.
"Everyone batted well and scored a few runs, which we needed because we were probably one or two batters short this week.
"It wasn't a huge total so we just wanted to accumulate a few runs early without losing too many wickets, and we did that."
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