The Grinsted Cup is now in Parkes after a scintillating 20 minute spell of bowling from Blake Smith and Anthony Heraghty closed down Cowra’s chances of victory at Holman Oval on Sunday, leaving Cowra all out for 121.
Finishing with figures of 4/26 and 3/35 respectively, Smith and Heraghty were the key difference in a representative match where a high standard of bowling and fielding from both sides produced errors from normally reliable batsmen.
Bowling first, Cowra put themselves in a strong position early, with Canowindra’s Brendon and Nicholas Traves delivering wickets and keeping the run rate low, as Parkes ground their way towards a modest total of 9/178 from their 50 ovals. Peter Yelland (50) and Mitch Wright (43 not out) helped keep the runs flowing for the visitors, who at one point were sitting precariously at 4/75.
With a strong opening salvo, Cowra look set to put their foot on the throat of the Parkes bowling line-up, with Peter Guthrie – who has averaged 75 from his past four innings in club and representative cricket – guiding the the hosts to 1/57, with only Sam Ford’s wicket to fall and Jacob McNaught looking settled early.
However, just before the first drinks break, a slower, full delivery from Heraghty caught the normally composed McNaught off guard, who looked to drive the ball but caught the ground with his bat, and was clean bowled.
While McNaught cut a bemused figure as he walked around the oval after his dismissal, the wickets continued to fall as play recommenced, as Guthrie (who equal top-scored with 40), Brendon Traves, Ben Colby and Ben Houghton all were bowled by Blake Smith, leaving Cowra at 6/67.
Traves in particular epitomised the sudden change of fortune, taking 6/65 during a staggering 15 overs in the first innings, while in his four ball duck he was nearly given out twice from an LBW appeal edge to slip that wasn’t called before an ill-fated leave that broke two stumps finally sealed his fate.
While Tom Thuaux made an unbeaten 40 runs to help keep the home team’s cause alive and Craig Carpenter (Nine runs) battled gamely to keep the strike turning over, the story of Cowra’s game was written in that 20 minute period, according to acting skipper Peter Guthrie.
“It was a tough game – We didn’t do a lot wrong. We bowled well, fielded well and we kept them to a total that we were confident we could chase,” Guthrie said.
“Losing all the wickets in the middle period just made it too hard.”
Guthrie was pleased with the efforts from his bowlers, highlighting the Traves brothers’ contribution, with Nic Traves bowling eight overs with two maidens for 0/10 in addition to Brendan’s six wickets.
“Our bowlers did well, We were good in the field, everyone was upbeat, and I don’t think we could’ve kept them to a lower total,”
While it is unclear if Cowra will get an opportunity to regain the Grinsted Cup fixture again this season, Guthrie nevertheless felt there were good signs for the representative team as they look to bounce back with a win against Orange in the Western Zone competition next week.
“We’ve got a few players to come in for that, a bit of a different line-up,” Guthrie said, pointing to the inclusions of regular skipper Mick Curtale, Zach Starr, Luke Cosgrove and Cal Taylor.
“We’ll be a stronger side, but that’s no excuse, we had the team to win today and we gave it our best crack.”
Heraghty, the skipper for Parkes, was pleased with the team’s all-round effort given he felt they under-delivered by about 20 runs during their opening salvo with the bat.
“Everyone did something today, whether it was take a few catches, a few wickets or score a few runs,” he said.
“178 on this ground, I was aiming for 200, but with our bowling attack, I knew 178 was going to be too many for their [Cowra’s] boys.”
He also made special mention of Smith’s bowling and the sudden turn in the match it produced.
“He’s just so hard to get away from, with his action,” Heraghty said, adding that Parkes’ bowling is a pivotal part of their recent success.
“Our bowling’s got us our more trouble than not in the last four of five years, and sometimes with the bat as well; the bowlers get the runs,” he observed.
Parkes will take on Forbes in the next Grinsted Cup match on December 16.