Brilliant Ross gives Nelson upper hand
Mitchell Ross added another six wickets to his already bountiful summer as he helped steer the Nelson Emerging Players to a tense five-run win over their Canterbury Country counterparts yesterday.
With Canterbury Country's tail-end batsmen Ben Rayner and Alex Waller having compiled a fighting 43-run ninth wicket partnership and looking set to steer their team towards their 242-run target at Saxton Oval, Ross struck decisively in the 49th over by removing Waller for 27, then again seven runs later when he bowled No 11 batsman Jack Parker for one to end the contest.
With the scheduled two-day fixture reduced to just one due to Tuesday's rain, yesterday's contest was reduced to 55 overs per side without bowling restrictions.
And with a half century to Simon McGowan helping Nelson post a competitive 241 for 6 in their turn at bat, it eventually took a magnificent bowling display by Ross to deny the visitors a gritty last-gasp win.
Ross already had four wickets in the bag before he was called on to administer the last rites at the death.
He had made his initial impact much earlier in the innings when he captured three wickets in the 17th over, including Sam Thompson and Peter Rayner off the last two balls for respective ducks, to reduce Country's innings to a desperate 68 for 5.
Brothers James and Josh Watson sparked Country's initial fightback, James dominating their 43-run sixth wicket stand before Josh was trapped lbw by left arm spinner Dan Wightman for 11 at 111 for 6.
Nelson appeared to gain further ground when Country lost their seventh wicket with the total at 129.
But the momentum again appeared to swing Country's way as Watson and a belligerent Ben Rayner combined in a threatening eighth wicket stand, finally ended by Wightman in the 44th over when Watson was caught by Andy Beatson for 72 at 186 for 8, Watson's impressive innings including 12 boundaries.
There was still plenty of fight left in Country's batsmen though, Rayner finding a similarly inclined partner in Waller as, once again, they began to taunt Nelson's bowlers with some big hitting.
But 43 runs into their potentially match winning ninth wicket partnership, Ross altered the balance once again when he had Waller caught behind for 27 at 229 for 9 in the 49th over. Waller faced just 18 balls and hit three fours and two sixes as Rayner was eventually left stranded on 55 when Ross finally sealed victory with 12 balls to spare.
Waller faced 43 balls and hit four fours and two sixes, while Ross finished with 6 for 38 off his 12 overs in a matchwinning performance. Wightman took 3 for 70, also off 12, as his most valuable support.
Earlier, a 115-run opening stand between Giles Black and McGowan got Nelson's innings off to a solid start, finally ended when Black was caught behind for 42, having hit five fours. McGowan eventually retired on 55, his innings including eight fours, handing Adam Leonard an opportunity to spend time at the crease.
Leonard steadily increased the tempo after a slow start, hitting three of his six fours in one over before he was caught off a full toss for a well compiled 48 off just 51 balls at 196 for 5.
Tom Cross provided some customary aggression batting at No 6 to help close out the innings, his unbeaten 34-run contribution off just 22 balls including four fours and a six over long off. Peter Reyner (2-45) and Nick Jenkins (2-57) were Canterbury Country's leading wicket takers as part of a steady but non-threatening bowling attack.
Nelson Emerging Players
G Black c Watson b P Rayner 42
S McGowan retired 55
A Leonard c Tapper b Jenkins 48
G Hay c Thompson b Parker 15
D Grimes c Watson b Jenkins 2
T Cross not out 34
H Drummond c Jenkins b P Rayner 9
D Wightman not out 2
Extras (19b, 9lb, 3w, 3nb) 34
Total (for 6 wkts) 241
Fall: 115, 124, 156, 177, 196, 229
Bowling: B Rayner 6-1-15-0, P Rayner 12-3-45-2, Josh Watson 6-1-18-0, J Parker 10-2-31-1, A Waller 5-0-25-0, N Jenkins 13-0-57-2, J Tapper 3-0-22-0.
Canterbury Country Emerging Players
G Hewitt c Drummond b Beatson 29
H Patterson c McGowan b Ross 9
James Watson c Beatson b Wightman 72
J Tapper b Ross 2
S Thompson lbw b Ross 0
P Rayner b Ross 0
Josh Watson lbw b Wightman 11
N Jenkins c Hay b Wightman 9
B Rayner not out 55
A Waller c McGowan b Ross 27
J Parker b Ross 1
Extras (2b, 9lb, 2w, 3nb, 5pen) 21
Fall: 36, 47, 68, 68, 68, 111, 129, 186, 229, 236
Bowling: S Baxendine 9-1-27-0, A Beatson 9-0-37-1, M Ross 12-2-38-6, T Field 8-1-34-0, D Wightman 12-3-70-3, T Cross 3-1-14-0.
Nelson won by 5 runs on first innings.
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