Despite hosting an undefeated Royal Colts outfit, only the run rate outwitted a plucky Canowindra (5/196) as they lost to the Colts (8/231) by 35 runs in the Lachlan Premier League at Clyburn Oval.
Openers Peter Guthrie (70 runs) and Brendan Traves (52) graduated from tentative starts to perform strongly in the chase, with an upset on the cards when the drinks break was taken.
From there however, the run rate took its toll, as steady dismissals and a stronger fielding performance from the league leaders meant the task became an insurmountable one, with the required run rate creeping upwards of 10 an over.
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While the Royal Colts ultimately gained control of the game, their performance was a scratchy one, driven by individuals. Paul Dunford (2/27) and Sam Carty (2/48) were particularly important, with Carty’s wickets of Guthrie and Traves halting Canowindra’s momentum and controlling the run rate.
Missing players, the 9 to 10 person field the Colts ran also had a say in the gaps that Traves and Guthrie opened in the field.
However, Canowindra also had opportunities to take control of the game far earlier.
Winning the toss and choosing to bat, the Colts were left questioning the wisdom of that decision at 4/89, with Nicholas Traves (2/64) and Jamie Austin (2/47) taking early wickets as Jacob Townsend (25), Paul Dunford (29) and Blake Smith (38) were the only players that made any kind of start.
Eventually at an impasse of 7/157, the sloppy economy (including 13 wides) of Canowindra’s bowlers came home to roost, with Brent Tucker (51 not out) punishing Canowindra’s bowlers with six fours and one six, as together with Phil Dunford (21), he pushed the Colt’s total out to a more formidable 8/231, with the late runs ultimately proving to be the difference between the two sides.
Brendan Traves was pleased that his side was able to put a strong fight up against the league leaders, but stressed there were lessons to be learned.
“I think it’s just bowling to a plan, probably trying to restrict the run rate a little bit,” Traves said.
“The outfield was pretty quick, [but] it was the same for both sides too.”
He was more positive about the batting, despite feeling he threw away his own positive start.
“The team pulled together. We didn’t get bowled out, which is a good positive, [and we were] only five down at the end.”
Meanwhile, Peter Yelland (18 runs), conceded the Royal Colts had some work to do if they wanted to maintain their unbeaten run to start the season.
“Our trouble is with our guys is just our discipline with our batting,” Yelland said.
“They need to learn to bat for time, rather than play the big flashy shots.”
He also admitted that working through the undermanned field was “not much fun”, but said there was some positives in being able to work through these problems at the top of the table.
“I think as a team we’re obviously going very well, but individually we need to work a lot on our own stuff, particularly our batsmen.”
The Royal Colts will host the Cowra Bowling Club at Woodward Oval next week, while Canowindra will travel to North Parkes Oval to take on the second-placed Cambridge Cats.