Wingham First Grade has made a winning start to the newly formed Mid North Coast McDonalds Premier League cricket competition with a tight five run victory over Kempsey side, Nulla, at Wauchope on Saturday.
Under new skipper, Ben Scowen, Wingham posted a healthy total of 7 for 209 when batting first on a rain-effected wicket. The bowlers then played their part, restricting Nulla to 7 for 204 in an exciting finish.
Dave Rees and Wayne Smoothy opened the batting for Wingham and Rees took the attack to the opposition, hitting 12 from the first over. Rees was then hit in the face after top-edging a pull shot, but he batted on. Smoothy was caught behind for five with 23 on the board and Rees and Scowen looked untroubled until Rees drilled a drive to mid-off and was caught for 38, hitting three sixes and two fours.
Scowen looked a class above hitting boundaries at will but lost Brock Hynes (4) with the score at 84. Scowen was next to go when bowled for 32 (5x4s, 1x6), bringing Matt and Hayden Essery together at the crease. Unfortunately, Hayden made just one and Wingham were now 5/99 after 16 overs.
Liam O’Neill and Essery snr added 23 when O’Neill was bowled for 2, bringing Mick Stinson to the crease. This pair consolidated for the next eight overs whilst adding 30, at which point Essery edged to slip, out for a valuable 36.
From there Stinson took control, pouncing on anything wayward. He and Ryan Smoothy added 59 from the remaining 12 overs, Stinson registering his 50 with a six in 56 minutes. He remained unbeaten on 53 whilst Smoothy added 12 not out after the 40 overs.
Amos claimed 3/30 and Taylor 2/34 for Nulla, who gifted Wingham four overs extra in wides.
Nulla lost their first wicket at 40 when Stinson forced the edge to Essery at slip. Rees removed their number three for a duck, well caught by Hynes behind the stumps. And when Brodie Guppy claimed the other opener, Amos for 32, in his first over, Nulla was 3/50 after 14 overs.
But from there Dan Pretty and Dan Baker combined in a 124 run partnership to take the initiative for the Kempsey side. Both players survived chances but they had put their team in a winning position, needing just 35 at 7 runs per over with 7 wickets in the shed.
Then Essery conceded just two runs from his eighth over before Scowen dismissed Pretty for 56 and Morris (0) in the following over. Rees bowled Baker for 70 and Stinson finished off by bowling Cole for 22, leaving Nulla six shy of victory.
Stinson confirmed his man-of-the-match performance with 2/31, Rees took 2/38 and Scowen 2/40, whilst Guppy impresses with 1/41.
Wingham lineup against Wauchope RSL at Cedar Party Reserve this weekend with Brad Staff expected to be available. Second Grade open their season against Great Lakes at Central Park, whilst thirds have the bye.