Norths’ sea­son off to suc­cess­ful start

Cheika re­fuses to pin blame on Fo­lau

The Cairns Post - - SPORT - MATT NICHOLLS VINCE RUGARI

CRICKET NORTHS be­gan the Cricket Far North sea­son in the best pos­si­ble way on Satur­day, win­ning both of their Twenty20 matches.

The Cairns team trav­elled down to In­n­is­fail in the morn­ing and put paid to the com­pe­ti­tion new­com­ers Cas­sowary Coast, skit­tling them for a pal­try 65 runs.

Daniel Free­body re­moved opener Jas­ran­jeet Kalkat and then re­turned to clean up the tail to fin­ish with 3-5.

Conor Pun­shon chipped in with 3-12, pre­vent­ing the Coast from build­ing part­ner­ships.

Skip­per Luke McAvoy toiled away to score 18 runs, but couldn’t guide his team to a com­pet­i­tive to­tal.

Norths made light work of the run chase, with Free­body hit­ting 26 off 20 balls to help lead his side home.

Corey Domic also hit 26 off 18 as Norths closed their in­nings at 1/70 off eight overs.

The win­ners then backed it up in a night match at Walker Road, beat­ing Mul­grave by 49 runs.

Bren­dan Smith smacked 53 off 26 balls to guide Norths to 5/154 af­ter 20 overs, while Free­body (2-21) and Kyll Wright (1-7 off four) re­stricted Mul­grave to just 8/105.

Norths were the only side to win both of their matches on Satur­day.

Rovers lost a thriller to Mul­grave in the morn­ing be­fore beat­ing Ather­ton in a lows­cor­ing clash in the af­ter­noon.

Skip­per Tom Lever said his side should have won both matches.

“Our field­ing let us down in the first game. We leaked about 20 runs more than we should have and we dropped (Mar­cus) McGregor-Cas­sady in the first over,” he said.

McGregor-Cas­sady scored an un­beaten 58 to guide Mul­grave to vic­tory in the last over.

Norths scored 5/117 in that match on the back of a half cen­tury to Aaron Lock (56) and 35 from Lever.

Ather­ton 7/155cc

(D. Parnell 57, T. Boor­man 53; J. Ful­ton 2-19) (A. Trewin 25, T. Ward 21; M. Salerno 2-8).

d Bar­ron 7/89cc Rovers 5/117cc

(A. Lock 56, T. Lever 35; M. McGre­gorCas­sady 2-4, B. Raper 2-17)

af­ter 19.3 overs (M. McGregor-Cas­sady 58*, K. Singh Rana 24; B. Ed­wards 2-20).

Mul­grave 3/118 Cas­sowary Coast 65 lt Norths 1/70 9/80cc 8/105cc d Ather­ton d Mul­grave lt

(L. McAvoy 18; D. Free­body 3-5, C. Pun­shon 3-12, B. Smith 2-10) af­ter 8 overs (D. Free­body 26*, C. Domic 26).

United 95

(T. Brady 42, E. San­der­son 24; J. Ful­ton 4-15, T. Ward 4-12) af­ter 18.2 overs (K. Met­zel­ing 36, T. Ward 20).

lt Bar­ron 5/101 Rovers 8/91cc

(T. Lever 21, B. Ed­wards 21; O. Da­ley 2-6, P. Nasser 2-12)

(P. Nasser 38, D. Parnell 17; B. Ed­wards 4-15, T. Lever 2-15, R. Me­mon 2-8).

Norths 5/154cc

(B. Smith 53*, M. El­lis 36, C. Pun­shon 27; B. Raper 2-18)

(M. McGre­gorCas­sady 24, J. Stan­ton 18; S. Prior 2-19, D. Free­body 2-21).

“It was slow scor­ing to start with and it took a while for us to get go­ing,” the skip­per said.

“The pos­i­tive was that we had a chat about a few things af­ter that game and re­ally im­proved against Ather­ton.”

Rovers could only scram­ble to 8/91 off their 20 overs on a slow pitch at En­deav­our Park, but that proved to be enough.

In re­ply, the reign­ing pre­miers could only reach 9/80 in their al­lot­ted overs.

“There was noth­ing in the pitch and the slower you bowled the harder you were to hit,” Lever said.

The high­est score of the game went to Paul Nasser, who com­piled 38 off 44 balls. WAL­LA­BIES coach Michael Cheika ad­mits Is­rael Fo­lau squan­dered an easy chance to seal vic­tory over Ar­gentina in their Rugby Cham­pi­onship clash.

But he says Fo­lau’s de­ci­sion not to pass to an un­marked Bernard Fo­ley was “ir­rel­e­vant” in the grander scheme of things on Satur­day night.

Fo­lau had the ball in hand and was at a prover­bial fork in the road sec­onds af­ter the fi­nal siren sounded at Cbus Su­per Sta­dium on the Gold Coast, with Aus­tralia trail­ing 23-19.

He could have passed to his right, where Fo­ley was com­pletely open and looked cer­tain to score in the cor­ner.

Or, he could have kept the ball and sought the glory of the match­win­ner for him­self.

Fo­lau chose the sec­ond op­tion but butchered it com­pletely, spilling the ball to en­sure Los Pu­mas won their first match on Aus­tralian soil in 35 years.

Cheika, how­ever, said it was wrong to pin all the blame on him. Asked if he thought the Wal­la­bies would have won the game if Fo­lau had passed to Fo­ley, Cheika said: “Yeah, but it’s ir­rel­e­vant.

“It doesn’t come down to one in­stance. Yes, you win the game by the score, but the per­for­mance was still the same.

“If the last pass goes, that doesn’t change any­thing for the other 79 min­utes and 59 sec­onds of what went on.

“That maybe keeps the il­lu­sion go­ing, be­cause you win.

“I still would have taken win­ning, mind you – don’t get me wrong. But if you’re fair dinkum you don’t want to be let­ting that cover up other is­sues.”

UN­LUCKY: Is­rael Fo­lau.

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