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.’’
STATE OF PLAY
Numurkah 244 (Shaun Downie 85, Tim Arnel 79, Tim Braybon 55, Lucas Paul 4-57) v Euroa
Shaun Downie (Numurkah): An ordinary day for the Blues’ top-order meant someone had to stand up and Downie did just that in making 85. Help from Arnel and Braybon late meant the Blues could take control of the contest.