Cats claim first win

By Daniel Hughes

Finley had to wait until their second round to get their title defence on track as they defeated Nathalia by seven wickets on Saturday in Division One of the Murray Valley Cricket Association.

Going zero from two this season with the toss, captain Cougar McGrath had no choice but to lead his side onto the field, handing young gun Bailey Coombs the new ball.

The opening spell saw a display of raw pace from Coombs and pinpoint consistency from Darcy Webb, holding Nathalia’s opening batsmen to only 10 runs in the opening 10 overs.

The pair of pacemen finished with seven maidens between them with Coombs taking two wickets.

Despite strong bowling performances throughout the Cats’ second and third bowling change, Nathalia batsmen Jamie Hardy and Archie Congues were both able to work the ball through the field, even faulting young Matthew Wilson to move in the wrong direction to field the ball.

As the Nathalia score seemed to escalate, the deceptively fast Murray Urquhart appeared alongside Wilson with Murray taking his first career wicket, only to follow with another.

Nathalia were able to post a solid score of 116, but not before tail end batter Evie Hawks punished Wilson for a loose ball, sweeping him to the rope for four.

The Cats’ batting started strong with loud calling and patient intent.

Unfortunately for McGrath, fellow opening batsman Russell Anderson decided that a quick single after knocking it right to Nathalia's most accurate fielder was a good idea. It was not.

Russell (33) was able to bounce back from his early run-out blunder to put together a solid 69 run second wicket partnership with Urquhart (33).

Dan Hughes (12 not out) made his MVCA debut in at second drop and with help from Mitch Pyle (23 not out), the pair were able to secure the last 36 runs without fall of wicket to secure the Cats first season win, finishing 118 with seven wickets in hand.

The Cats face Katunga at Katunga for round three this weekend.

The Division Two Cats were unable to overcome Cobram on Saturday.

Finley struggled despite winning the toss and choosing to bat, being all out on 76 after 27.2 overs.

A brave bowling effort saw the Cats claw their way back into the contest, but the Tigers managed to secure a two-wicket victory, finishing 8/80 after 21 overs.

Finley will look to bounce back when they host the Deni Rhinos for a game under the lights on Friday night.