Not even another rampaging spell from speedster Tim Arnel could snare Numurkah maximum Haisman Shield points at the weekend.
Arnel routed Old Students’ top order for the second time in as many Saturdays - dismissing Joel Bunce and Nick Breslin in quick succession before returning to claim the wicket of Harwinder Singh (16) - but it proved to be not enough for the Blues to take all 10 points, falling three wickets short when stumps were called.
It was instead a knock from Gino Saracino - which would be called a vintage innings from the veteran but for the fact he has produced a plethora of them this season - and a defiantly unbeaten dig from skipper Luke McPhillamy which stole the show on day two of the clash.
Saracino’s time at the crease ended when he reached 56, but McPhillamy remained not out on 35 when the dust settled.
Earlier Numurkah captain Liam Gledhill (41) and Arnel (25 not out) had pushed the home side’s advantage to 142 runs at the Numurkah Showgrounds before a declaration came, giving the Blues 65 overs to secure an extra four points.
‘‘We pretty much dominated the whole day again but just weren’t able to get those last few wickets,’’ Gledhill said.
‘‘We got some good overs into our bowlers and time at the crease for our batters. It would have been great to get maximum points but it’s very hard to get an outright against a top six side like Old Students.
‘‘We used Arnel as a weapon in three or four over spells, and he just kept charging in, he’s in great form.’’
The extra batting practice at the top level will be especially beneficial for rising stars like Kody Jackson, who has been one of a number of up-and-comers who have impressed for the Blues this season.
‘‘To get some good game time into these kids has been huge,’’ Gledhill said.
‘‘You can see the results in B-grade with our side on top of the ladder, there’s three or four older blokes in the side but the rest are kids having a crack.
‘‘At the start of the year we spoke about getting experience into eight or 10 kids who will be the core of our club moving forward.
‘‘We like to think if they can put together some good form in B-grade they can come up and have a crack at A-grade and learn a lot from it, and there’s still spots up for grabs in our side to so it’s going to come down to who’s in form at the right time of the year.’’
Breslin’s 3-52 led Old Students with the ball, while Arnel’s 3-56 in the second innings takes his season tally to 21 wickets in three games at an average of 6.7.