Home-town hat-trick hero

By Daniel Hughes

A dominant bowling spell from Murray Urquhart saw Finley finish on top of the ladder at the end of round five of the Murray Valley Cricket Association's Division One competition on Saturday.

The home-town hero took a hat-trick as part of his seven wicket haul to halt a visiting Tocumwal side's run chase and earn the Cats a victory.

The day started with a sense of dejavu as another routine coin toss loss from the Cats’ captain Cougar McGrath saw the home side being sent out to bat first.

The first over summed up the majority of Finley's batting line up with opening batsman Adnan Malik falling in the first over for a third ball duck.

Despite seeing out the next few overs, Dan Hughes (three), Urquhart (two), Matt Wilson (seven), Clay Webb (four), Archie Mason (two) and Eddie Haynes (four) all fell cheaply, putting together a measly 22 between them.

The Cats’ only hope at setting a difficult run chase was bolstered by a true captain's innings as McGrath was able to see out the tight opening bowling attack and put together his season best 82, dispatching six ‘fours’ and one ‘six’ during his innings.

Ryan Donkin also chipped in with the bat, helping Finley to a reasonable 135 with a quick 15 not out to seeing out the remainder of the overs.

Troy Poynton (3/10 off eight) led the way for the Bloods with a superb opening spell and was well supported by Glen Poynton (2/17 off eight) and Brandon Meloury (3/33 off seven).

The Bloods started their run chase in style with Brandon Meloury (17) and Troy Poynton taking making light work of opening bowlers Bailey Coombs (1/28 off five) and Darcy Webb (0/24 off three).

Finley's opening duo saw short lived spells as the Bloods’ top three were able to capitalise on loose bowling and missed chances in the field.

Standing at only 1/78 midway through the innings, the Bloods seemed to have the run chase firmly within their grasp.

Along came Urquhart and Wilson.

In what was a brilliant captain's decision to bring on Wilson to bowl his talented off-spinners and Urquhart to bowl his deceptively quick pace, the events that took place next could not have been predicted in the greatest of Australian sporting fairy tales.

The duo of Urquhart and Wilson saw the Bloods’ batting order crumble quicker than an apple pie right out of the oven, losing nine wickets for just 16 runs.

Urquhart was the first to strike taking the two danger batters, Poynton (38 runs) and Rod Meloury (21) in the final two balls of his over.

Wilson was next to strike, taking Brett Dicker (three) in the next over.

When Urquhart returned on his hat-trick ball, he was denied by a dropped catch that was as catchable as a cold in the Antarctic, by Eddie Haynes.

Urquhart was able to take the wicket of Dean Cole (five) later that over.

The next few overs saw little runs and one more wicket taken by Wilson before Urquhart's hunger for a hat-trick came to fruition.

The majority of Urquhart's wickets until then had been taken from catches, however he turned to another tactic, give the stumps a cherry.

With just three balls of brilliance, he struck through the final three Bloods wicket, who despite attempts, couldn't strike the ball as it rocketed into the stumps over and over again.

“After having just missed out on the hat-trick a few overs earlier I wanted it even more this time,” Urquhart said.

“I figured that after I got the first one through the gate then why couldn't it work twice more.

“I was extremely overwhelmed when I was able to take the final wicket winning the match for the team and taking the hat-trick, I don't know if the club has ever had one before but I'm happy to be one of them.”

Finley removed the Bloods for 94 runs after 22.4 overs to record a 41 run win.

The Cats are looking to keep their four game winning streak alive when they travel to Berrigan in a top four clash against the Saints.

Round four of Murray Valley Cricket Association's Division Two saw the Cats meet an unfortunate loss to Cobram-Yarroweyah United despite an all-round hero's performance from captain Russell Anderson.

Anderson won the toss and sent his side in to bat, proving to be a good move as he opened the Cats’ batting campaign with 50 retired not out.

Ian Swain who retired not out on 50 however with wickets falling, was allowed to came back in to finish 65 not out.

Lenny Dattaolli had 10 runs while Liam Rafferty offered up a single shot masterclass putting a sweep shot past the rope for four late in the innings, finishing for a total of 159.

CYU's Jono Andrews did the damage cleaning up Finley's tail with 5/16 of five.

Liam Rafferty opened the bowling from the river end while CYU's openers punished the loose balls, getting away to a flying start.

Ian Swain and Jon Robinson came into the attack and were able to tighten the run chase with Robinson seeing his first action on a cricket field in eight years.

The fielding effort was boosted by Cameron Lawler who showed signs off life, attacking the ball hard.

He was given the chance to keep after the drinks break and was noted by Anderson to have done a good job.

“He wanted to give it a go and I knew he would do a top job after seeing him in the field,” he said.

After fielding for 40 overs in Deniliquin on Saturday morning, Lenny Dattoli, Jacob Armer and Jonty King all made the solid effort to travel straight to Cobram to join the side.

With the CYU run score ticking over, the multi-talented Anderson had made runs with the bat, kept the ball brilliantly behind the sumps in the first half and brought himself on to bowl in an effort to mix up the pace.

This move proved to be the correct decision as Anderson struck through with his third ball, taking the catch himself, he finished 2/8 off four.

The Cats used a 10 bowler line up with every member doing their best to stop the CYU run chase.

Harrison King also had a notable performance with the ball taking 2/28 off 2.3 overs and the prized wicket of Scott Daly for 49 runs.

In what was a well spirited came, CYU were able to pass the Cats score with two overs to go.

Finley travel away to play ladder leaders Jerilderie this Saturday.