The chances of the Absolute Physio & Rehab Yarrabilba Cane Toads finishing top of the table come the end of the regular RJR Sports Winter Cricket Cup have taken a massive hit after the side suffered a loss to Greenbank on the weekend – there first loss to a side that didn’t resort to calling in Division One players.
Skipper Nick Feros won the toss and elected to bat first, however the early loss of last weeks top scorer Ben Constable for just one didn’t help proceedings on a fast Malling Park outfield.
Pat Hansen, in at three, joined Shaun Love and the pair began striking the scoreboard over until Hansen was caught by Singh for 20 – and the Cane Toads had slumped to two for 45.
It could be seen as a solid start for the Cane Toads who looked to be cruising to a competitive score until Greenbank introduced Robert Pearce into the attack with almost immediate effect.
First Shaun Love was bowled for 14, and he was followed quickly back to the shed by Matt Bailey when he was caught by Hammad for a duck – the Cane Toads had quickly fallen to four for 107. It was left to two of the more experienced campaigners in Wayne Woods and Jamie Braithwaite to settle the ship for the table topping side.
As it seemed the bounce of the ball was in the Cane Toads favour it was that man again, Robert Pearce, who made the crucial breakthrough when he snuck through the defences of Wayne Woods bowling him for 72.
Braithwaite was joined by David Sheehan and once again they had to bat somewhat cautiously as they attempted to lay the platform however in the hunt for late runs the Cane Toads lost Braithwaite (42), Sheehan (36), and Nick Feros (one) before finally limping to 8 for 228 from their 40 overs.
Pearce finished with 3 for 43, while Mannan also took multiple wickets for Greenbank with 2 for 24.
Defending what they knew was a mediocre total the Cane Toads got off to the best possible start when they removed opening batsmen Singh for just one with Shaun Love striking with the new ball.
After failing this week with the bat Ben Constable more than made up for it with the ball when he had Shayan Nekakhtar trapped in front for a duck to reduce Greenbank to 2 for 15 early in the run chase.
Throughout the short history of the Yarrabilba Cane Toads there has not been another team that the Yarrabilba based side has shared a more mutual respect on-and-off the field, competing in a tight number of contests with results going either way – and that was once again on show when US Shah and Niazi set about rebuilding their sides innings.
Their 59-run stand finally being broken when Matt Bailey was brought into the attack and bowled Shah for 32.
That however brought Saif Ali to the crease. His display of power hitting, and good running between the wickets ensuring that it was going to once again be ‘one of those games’.
Niazi was run out for 53, and the Cane Toads fought hard taking the wickets of Pearce (eight) and Bari (nine), but it wasn’t to be with Ali unfortunately stranded unbeaten on 96 – despite deserving a century for the innings he played – the four wicket win coming with the assistance of an unbeaten 17 from Muhammad Hammad with the winning runs coming in the 36th over.
Shaun Love finished with 2 for 30 from his eight overs, Constable with 1 for 34 from his eight while Matt Bailey (1 for 53) and Nick Feros (1 for 50) were the other wicket takers.
With three regular rounds to go before the finals skipper Nick Feros has asked his men to commit. It has been a long 12 months, a long and cold winter, but to commit for the next five weeks to ensure the Cane Toads finish the season on a high.
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Yarrabilba Cane Toads 8/228 (40 Overs)
W Woods 72
J Braithwaite 42
D Sheehan 36
RC Pearce 3/43
C Mannan 2/24
Greenbank 6/229 (35.4 Overs)
S Ali 96
O Niazi 53
US Shah 32
SS Love 2/30
BK Constable 1/34
N Feros 1/50
M Bailey 1/53