Downie gets Blues uppy

WITH WICK­ETS TUM­BLING AROUND HIM STAR DIGS IN AND BUILDS PART­NER­SHIPS TO PUT SIDE BACK IN FRONT

Shepparton News - - HAISMAN SHIELD - By Alex Mitchell (Shaun Downie 85, Tim Ar­nel 79, Tim Bray­bon 55, Lu­cas Paul 4-57)

Lower-or­der hero­ics com­bined with a bril­liant in­nings from Shaun Downie saved Nu­murkah from a dis­ap­point­ing day at Euroa on Satur­day.

The Blues had mas­sive early prob­lems and were 6-70 be­fore Downie (85) got things tick­ing over with Tim Ar­nel and Tim Bray­bon, enough to fin­ish their 80 overs all out for 244 in the round 10 Hais­man Shield clash.

The pos­i­tive to­tal re­tained the third-ranked Blues’ favouritism for the con­test, but not with­out a scare from the 12th-placed Mag­pies.

Open­ers Will Ar­nel (one) and Dy­lan Gran­dell (18) went early be­fore Ben Mi­liken jagged the vi­tal wicket of Liam Gled­hill to leave Nu­murkah 3-23.

As wick­ets tum­bled, Downie stuck strong and even­tu­ally found help from num­ber eight bat Tim Ar­nel, with the duo adding 88 to move the side to 7-158.

Ar­nel (79) was part of a 75-run stand with Bray­bon (55), wrestling con­trol of the con­test and Nu­murkah cap­tain Gled­hill was proud of the fightback.

‘‘It was a good day in the end, it was a new track at Euroa and they were a bit un­sure what to do on it,’’ he said.

‘‘We won the toss and bat­ted, there was plenty of grass on it and it was al­ways go­ing to of­fer a bit early with the new rock.

‘‘We were 3-23, 4-35, it was a lit­tle bit wor­ry­ing there for a while es­pe­cially with what hap­pened last week (round nine against Waaia).’’

Gled­hill said the side’s depth had been on full dis­play, with Ar­nel par­tic­u­larly show­ing he could bat fur­ther up the or­der.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously Shaun bat­ted re­ally, re­ally well, saw off the new ball and at­tacked at cer­tain points,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve said to Tim (Ar­nel) there’s prob­a­bly a case for him to bat in our top five, but there’s some­thing about hav­ing that depth at seven, eight and nine.

‘‘In sit­u­a­tions like (Satur­day), it means you’re able to keep at­tack­ing and don’t have to shut up shop and bat for time.’’

Euroa pres­i­dent Lu­cas Paul — who toiled hard in the heat to lead the bowlers with 4-57 — was dis­ap­pointed the side could not wrap up the in­nings for a few less runs.

‘‘We were good early, good all day re­ally, but they had a good part­ner­ship with Downie and Ar­nel,’’ he said.

‘‘They just dug in and played re­ally solid. That part­ner­ship wore us down a bit in the heat, they took ad­van­tage of us get­ting a bit tired and didn’t give up many chances.

‘‘It was great to have Ben Mi­liken, one of our club stal­warts, back in the line-up. He’s a club cham­pion and life mem­ber, he’s try­ing to play a few games with us and he bowled bloody beau­ti­ful.’’

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