SIXTEEN wickets fell and only 187 runs were scored on the opening day of the first grade cricket match between competition leaders, United, and third placed Wingham at Chatham Oval on Saturday.
On a wicket that was holding up the majority of batsmen really struggled. It was left to veteran United all-rounder Murray McCartney to show how to deal with the slow conditions as he displayed the patience required in making 49 not out in United’s total of 100 after being sent in to bat.
Going into the match without pace spearhead, Ryan Williams, Wingham made early inroads to have United 3 for 8 after 7 overs. It was debutant left arm seamer, Josh Essery, who did the damage. Thrown the new ball by Brad Staff, Essery claimed the prized scalp of Josh Ferris with the third ball of his second over, caught behind for five. He then removed Johnathan Burton three balls later for a duck.
At the other end, Steve Allwood was miserly and chipped in by having Laurie Weeks caught at slip by Matt Essery for five. United captain Ricky Campbell dispatched a couple of loose balls from Essery over the fence before he was replaced, his initial A grade return being 2 for 24 from 6 overs, much to the delight of his team.
With his fourth ball Mick Stinson found the inside edge of Campbells bat, the ball then crashing into the stumps with Campbell gone for 20. Brad Staff removed Matt Kennewell for six with a well judged caught and bowled and when Mitch Niven had Tom Burley caught behind for three Wingham were well on top at 6 for 48.
McCartney showed all of his experience and ability in dispatching the bad balls to the fence no less than eight times as wickets continued to fall around him. Staff claimed the next four wickets, including two more return catches, to snare 5 for 14 from 10 overs. Thirteen of the 39 overs in the innings were maidens.
The Wingham innings also got off to a subdued start with Dennis Smith (0), Wayne Smoothy (3) and Staff (2) back in the sheds with just seven runs on the board. Ryan Morris and Matt Essery broke the shackles somewhat with a few boundaries in a 48 run stand before Morris was bowled by Burley for 19. The same trundler dismissed Essery, LBW for 27 and Adam Carney, bowled for 10, to get his team back in the contest. Mick Stinson (14 not out) and Tye Brislane (1x) negotiated the remaining overs until stumps without loss. Burley has 3/12 and Jaxson Witts 2/27, whilst Brock Stewarts (1/18) opening overs were also good. Wingham will resume on 6 for 87 next week with first innings points the first objective.
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