Cats go down fighting
It was an outright defeat for Finley’s Premier Grade in the two-day match played Saturday and Sunday against Cobram.
On the surface it would look like another disappointing performance, but the Cats sent a real scare through the premiership contender and another wicket at a vital time could have seen Finley shock the league.
The Cats won the toss and batted first in what was round nine of Murray Valley Cricket Association.
On an unusually slow and lifeless Cobram wicket the Cats were bowled out for just 75 in their first innings.
The top five all got starts but couldn’t go on with it as wickets fell at regular intervals.
Daniel Hibberd (13), Jonathon Oliver (14), Russell Anderson (10), Courtney Findlay (10) and Matthew Wilson (13 n.o) all made it into double figures.
The young Cats’ tail was left exposed as Taylor Pugh tore through the lower order to take 4/1 off just five overs.
The meagre total should have been easy pickings for last year’s runners-up but the Cats had other ideas.
With 20 minutes to bowl prior to tea Michael Laver (4/25), on his Premier bowling debut, opened the attack and took two consecutive poles. Adam Wiffen (4) mistimed one to mid-on before Ashley Saunders (0) caught a leading edge and was pouched at midwicket and the score was 2/11.
Upon resumption Laver just missed his hat-trick but Daniel Hibberd (1/23) returned to the bowling stocks to snare the golden wicket of Shaun Downie (6) bowled with his first delivery.
Laver then produced a gem to remove Artavilla (0) and the Cats had Cobram 4/18.
The Cats pushed hard for another breakthrough. Cobram skipper Manny Artavilla (56) and Pugh (23) then steadied the innings for the hosts.
Despite a huge appeal against Pugh the Cats couldn’t find the vital fifth wicket.
Artavilla and Pugh chipped away at the target.
The Cats kept fighting hard — Pugh was dismissed with the scores level, bowled by Findlay (1/43) before the Tigers crept past the total and went on the attack.
Andrew Hogan (30) and Lachlan Hyde (15 n.o) kept the scoreboard flowing as the lead eventually reached 81.
Hogan was the eighth and last wicket to fall to Laver as Cobram then declared with seven overs remaining in day one (Saturday).
Darcy Webb and Wilson snared a wicket each whilst Duncan Clarke snared three superb catches for the Cats.
The last seven overs saw the Cats keen to survive without a wicket lost. Hibberd (39) came out on the attack hitting three fours and a six before the close of play to see Finley 0/23 at stumps.
Resuming Sunday, Hibberd and Cameron Isedale (10) negotiated the early overs with Hibberd finding the rope three more times. With the score on 45 however, he was adjudged LBW to end a fine knock.
Isedale batted defiantly for 25 overs but was eventually bowled before Wilson sent the ball flying with a quickfire 18.
Findlay added 13 but with the deficit erased the young Cats couldn’t build a big enough total and the innings closed with 94 on the board.
The Tigers wasted little time hitting the 13 runs required and the game concluded with Cobram 10 wicket winners.
The Cats’ final game for 2016 sees them host Katamatite in a very winnable game.