The Absolute Physio & Rehab Yarrabilba Cane Toads have returned to the winners circle, after recent back-to-back losses, with a 10-run victory over Danger Island at Malling Street Oval on Saturday – a 73-run tenth wicket partnership led by skipper Nick Feros (56) helped the Cane Toads post a competitive 214.
For a team that started the RJR Winter Cricket Cup in fine form, racing to seven wins from as many starts, the Cane Toads have since been in hot and cold form almost as much as Mother Nature herself, back-to-back losses for the first time this season saw the Cane Toads in serious threat of being knocked off the top of the table with three rounds remaining.
Danger Island won the toss and asked the Cane Toads to have first use of the Malling Oval turf wicket as Shaun Love and Pat Hansen navigated the trying-opening overs as the wind played a severe role in the bowlers ability to swing the ball.
Fredrick William struck early with umpire John Rossiter adjudicating that Shaun Love was in front of his stumps when the ball hit his pads, the young opening batsmen out for seven.
The early dismissal would be a sign of things to come for both teams however, with both sides looking to struggle to form long relationships, the wind and uncertain spots on the pitch playing their part along with poor shot making restricted both teams batters from being able to step up as they had done in their respective games all season.
Matt Bailey and Hansen combined for a 38-run stand before Bailey was bowled by William (two for 48) for 17, being followed back to the pavilion just six runs later by Hansen who was caught off Dennis Vigo for 39.
The high scoring Mitch Le Prou was out when he went for a big shot to be caught on the boundary for nine, with the Cane Toads slumping to 4 for 94.
Constable looked to be in good touch, scoring nine but running well between the wickets with Wayne Woods. The pair looked to be consolidating. That work was brought undone when Constable was bowled by Vigo – the death rattle of the stumps being knocked over similar to the sound of a prison door being slammed shut.
Disaster looked to be on the horizon however, for the Cane Toads losing Woods (32), Mcavoy (1), AJ Baker (0) and David Sheehan (13) all in quick succession to have the batting side 9 for 143 and staring down the barrel of three-straight-losses.
That was until skipper Nick Feros and an injured Carl Purvis came together for a tenth wicket stand that not only added respectability to the score but lifted it to a competitive level.
The pair rotating the strike, and running well between the wickets despite Purvis’ injured ankle and Feros’ – well is Nick Feros.
Playing with freedom at times, the Cane Toads skipper brought up his first half century for the Cane Toads, being run out a short time later for 56 – as the Cane Toads innings of 214 came to an end. Purvis the not out batsmen on 11.
In a surprise move to many spinner Pat Hansen shared the new ball with Ben Constable with the duo applying the pressure early not allowing the Danger Island opening pair of Vata Vailoa and Mairi Katoa to free their arms.
The tactics seemed to pay off as Hansen broke through the top order. First Vailoa was bowled with just one next to his name. Hansen then picked up Paulo for a duck, before finishing his wicket taking streak with the scalp of Katoa for 11 as Danger Island were reduced to 3 for 29 early in their run chase.
A 55-run stand between Fredrick William and Murphy Marurai lifted the chances of their side, however the introduction of Shaun Love into the attack proved a decisive move from Feros, with Love picking up William (37) and Marurai (20) to once again halt momentum and if anything swing it back into the Cane Toads favour.
Boaza Trego tried his best, but was out for eight bowled by AJ Baker, and it seemed just a matter of time for the Cane Toads.
That was until Danger Island lived up to their name and proved dangerous as Ruarau Vailoa notched 59 with contributions by George Tauia (17) and Dennis Vigo (24) late in the day to have their side in a winnable position needing 10 runs off one over and one wicket in hand.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to befor Danger Island as a fired up Hayden Mcavoy bowled Vailoa P Vailoa for four and securing a much needed ten run victory for the Cane Toads.