The bowlers in Armidale District Cricket’s first grade season have dominated the outcome of matches so far and it was the case again for the grand final rematch on Saturday between Hillgrove and Easts.
Hillgrove won the toss and elected to bat but faltered at the start as openers Matt Baillie and Andrew Brownlie were sent packing for two and one.
Captain Matt Schaefer stepped up and added to Hillgrove’s early woes as he was dismissed for one.
Up stepped Will Archer and Brad King.
Archer and King put runs on the board for Hillgrove with 25 and 44 respectively.
They were backed up by Michael Cursons and Jack Carey for the reigning premiers to finish with 144.
“Brad King came out, hasn't been to training for about two years, he came out and got 44,” Schaefer said.
“He batted really well and didn't give any chances, looked good at the crease and just does Brad King things, can score them whenever he wants and wherever he wants. Michael Cursons came and filled in for a game, he flew back to South Africa yesterday, he got 16.
“Jack Carey at the end got 23 and batted really well down the order.”
Hillgrove were missing key bowlers in Sean Skinner and Max Laurie but the current champions proved they could get the job done without them.
Wickets tumbled for Easts and Hillgrove managed to finished them off for 97.
Liam Howard opened the bowling to send Dean Moore back to the sheds for six runs.
Easts recruit Clarrie Moran followed shortly after with a run out on five before Schaefer snagged key batsman Todd Francis for a duck.
“I felt I bowled pretty tight and got a couple of wickets, I bowled Todd Francis for a duck which was really good and I gave him a bit of a sendoff as well,” Schaefer said.
“I got Aaron Whackett the next over as well.”
Archer chimed in with 2-32 while Matt Baillie “cleaned up” the tail-enders to finish with 3-23.
“The batters were pretty unlucky but I thought we fielded pretty well. We dropped a couple towards the end but they were 40-odd short,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer said it was pleasing to see the wins this season have come from all-round performances.
“I think we have gelled really well as a team this year with all the new guys we have got in there, Will Archer, Brownlie, Will Waterson went well in the field and Liam Howard,” he said.
“We are not doing anything special with the bat at the moment, it seems to be dominated by the ball but it hasn't been the same guy every week so it is good to see everyone put their hands up when they need them.”