Casey posts an­other ton

Lak­ers in box seat to de­feat Colts af­ter Matt’s sec­ond ton

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - BY SCOTT AN­DER­SON san­der­son@ ne­me­dia.com.au

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.”

PHOTOS: Emma Hil­lier

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.

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