Casey posts another ton
Lakers in box seat to defeat Colts after Matt’s second ton
THE runs just keep coming for Wangaratta and District Cricket Association ladder leader Yarrawonga Mulwala.
The Lakers are in the box seat to hand out City Colts’ first loss for the season in round five of the A grade competition after amassing a score of 9/264 on Saturday – their third straight total of 250-plus.
Matt Casey further en- trenched himself as the competition’s best number three with his second unbeaten ton of the season, racking up 104 not out to take his season tally to 292 runs at the Bradmanesque average of 97.33.
Casey was the rock for the Lakers, with his patient knock providing partnerships of 28 with Reid Clarke (45), 52 with Josh Lawrence (38), 41 with Matt Knight (16) and 37 with Jim Irvine (13) before the tailenders came in.
With just six overs remaining Casey was on 69, but accelerated to reach triple fig- ures in the penultimate over of the day thanks to some tactical batting from Will Sharp (8).
“Matt launched a four and a six in one over, and that’s when we started to think he might be half a chance,” Lakers skipper Matt Knight said.
“Will Sharp did a great job with the strike – at one point he hit a single but pushed hard to turn it into a double to get Matt back on strike.
“In the end he got there comfortably and it was great to see him rewarded with another hundred.”
Knight said Casey’s ability to anchor the innings had been pivotal to Yarrawonga Mulwala’s form, with the number three out for less than 25 just once in five innings.
“He is just so patient – he gets himself in and he stays in,” Knight said.
“He forms partnerships and that has been massive for us.
“We have got a nice mix, with a couple of guys like Matt and Reid (Clarke) who are those steady rocks, and then a couple of more aggres- sive players like Josh Lawrence and Ben Welsh who play an array of shots.
“Matt’s runs are the result of hard work – he has really been training the house down this season and putting in an extra two or three sessions a week in the nets.”
While he was dropped three times, Clarke made the most of his chances to post 45 to end a slump that saw him score just 21 runs over his first three innings, combining for an opening partnership of 57 with Ben Welsh (27).
With the Lakers’ top order firing on all cylinders, Knight has been to fly under the radar for the first time since joining the club five years ago.
“It’s funny – I’ve never been in a position before where I haven’t been coming in to bat until after tea,” Knight said.
“I’m loving sitting back and watching everyone else making runs.
“Reid had been a bit unlucky in earlier games, but he took his chances and had a really solid innings, along with Ben Welsh.
“Josh Lawrence was terrific again – he is just in great nick.
“He actually got himself out to a rank full bunger in the end – sometimes when you are batting that well that is the only way you’re going to get out.”
Incredibly, Lawrence and Casey sit first and second on the competition batting aggregate and have 654 runs between them so far this season, with Beechworth pair Kayde Surrey and Jack Ryan the next best club duo with a combined 264 runs.
The Lakers also boast the leading bowler in A grade with Jim Irvine having taken 15 wickets at an average of 7.13, leaving Knight confident of success when play resumes at the Bill O’Callaghan Oval next Saturday.
“It’s a fast outfield and a good, flat track, so we’re not in the clear yet,” Knight said.
“But having 264 runs on the board definitely puts us in a strong position, and we’ve got a few in-form blokes in our attack, so we’ll be confident that we can get the job done.”
IN FORM: Yarrawonga Mulwala’s Matt Casey (main) blasted his second unbeaten hundred of the season, while Fraser Ellis (inset) picked up four wickets for City Colts.