Cleeland ton sours Cats’ strong start
With the dreaded heat rule invoked on Saturday, only Finley’s Premier Grade took to the field against Waaia in the Murray Valley Cricket Association.
In a tight tussle, the Bombers eventually got themselves into a strong position thanks to an unbeaten Mitchell Cleeland century, leaving the Cats a big run chase on their home soil.
The Cats won the toss and elected to bowl. It was a good decision early as the Cats’ bowling attack made life difficult for the Waaia top order.
At 4/34 the Cats were in a dominant position with skipper Chris Shaw (3/51) and Darcy Webb (1/18) getting three early poles, before debutant Bailey Coombs snared his first Premier wicket of Sam Trower (6) caught in the slips.
A key 50 run stand between Cleeland and brother Jordan (30) gave the visitors some stability. A corker delivery from Dan McHugh (1/56) took out the latter’s off stump to get the Cats on top at 5/84.
The Cats continued to press hard with leg spinner Russell Stockdale (3/57) causing all sorts of trouble for the Bombers with some excellent flight and spin. He snared two wickets quickly to have the Bombers 7/120 before the visitors took control.
Cleeland began to take charge and together with Sean Carey (21) added a further 35 runs.
The Cats let two catches from both men go to ground and it proved costly.
Carey was eventually out caught with the score 155 before Matthew Stuart (26) combined with Cleeland for the game defining partnership.
The pair added 82 massive runs despite the continued good pressure from the Cats.
The chances had dried up and the runs flowed.
Cleeland brought up a superb ton as the score went past 200. Finally Stockdale picked up the scalp of Stuart to a welljudged Matthew Wilson catch, his fourth of the innings. The last wicket fell three runs later and Waaia were all out for 240.
With 14 overs to bat the Cats start briskly with Daniel Hibberd (16) and Shaw (5) getting off to a positive start.
With the overs winding down for the day though, both bats were out approaching stumps with Hibberd caught behind and Shaw at first slip.
McHugh (9 n.o) and Cougar McGrath (3 n.o) got to stumps and will resume the chase on Saturday.
Division 2 will travel to Cobram on Sunday this week and the Combined Under 16s will host Cobram on Thursday evening in a 20/20 fixture. Both sides are looking to cement a place in the finals.
The Under 14s will travel to CYU on Saturday morning in a 20/20 as well.