While teams below them continue to chop and change in their position, the Absolute Physio & Rehab Yarrabilba Cane Toads knew exactly where they stood following their 96-run victory over Danger Island at Riverstone Crossing Park, top of the table making it seven wins and one loss this season.
Cane Toads skipper Nick Feros won the toss, finally, and elected to bat first giving the Cane Toads first use of the synthetic pitch, the pace and accuracy of Teuwitai Samuel causing openers Carl Purvis and Patrick Hansen trouble early before the young paceman picked up Purvis for six.
Matt Bailey joined Hansen with both batsmen scoring runs to rebuild after the early Purvis wicket, and soon the score reached the half century. The milestone was however over shadowed when Bailey became the second wicket for Samuel caught in the deep for 16.
Enter Mitch Le Prou. In an 88-ball innings the powerful left hander scored almost at will in a batting masterclass that truly showcase why he is one of the Cane Toads key summer players, and why they are still working on getting him to give up Rugby Union during the winter to spearhead future winter campaigns.
Scoring a blistering 158 from just 88 deliveries, a strike rate of 177.53, Le Prou looked to bat a lesser team out of the match, support was provided by Wayne Woods, eventually bowled by Boaza Trego for 11 from eight, and Jamie Braithwaite, nine from 19, as they turned the strike over to the powerful batsmen.
When Braithwaite departed with the score at 5 for 172 the Danger Island side were hopeful to run through the bottom order, step up Jos De Ward to provide a quiet but important innings as he combined with Mitch Le Prou for a 101-run sixth wicket partnership, which saw Le Prou pass 150 before both batsmen were dismissed.
Le Prou was the first to depart stumped by Marurai off Paulo for 158 from 88 deliveries, De Ward then departed without the Cane Toads adding to the 273 they were on bowled for 24 from 36 deliveries.
The score would’ve usually struck fear in the opposition batting line up, however Danger Island have a habit of posting big skills with their own powerful hitters.
A 46 run stand between Ruarau Vailoa and Mairi Katoa had the home side looking comfortable in the early parts of the run chase until Matt Bailey made the crucial breakthrough with Vailoa dismissed for 26.
Ben Constable then struck for the first of his four wickets when he had Makitini Paulo caught for just three, before following it up soon after with the wickets of Katoa (34) and Samuel for four to reduce Danger Island to four for 77.
Fredrick William and Vata Vailoa however weren’t just going to give up and began a resurrection of the innings, the pair combining for a 118-run stand of their own that kept their side in the hunt of chasing down the 325 required to win.
That was until Nick Feros introduced the man of the moment Mitch Le Prou who broke the partnership when he bowled Fredrick William for 40. He soon followed that up with a second scalp, finishing with 2 for 23 from his five overs, when he had Dennis Vigo caught for eight.
Simeon Roberts chipped in with the wicket of Trego for a duck, and it looked to be just a matter of time before the Cane Toads cleaned up the tail.
Despite his best efforts Vailoa was eventually run out for 78 and the end was in sight – Danger Island eventually bowled out for 230 from 31.3 overs.
Ben Constable finished with 4 for 40 from 6.3 overs, Mitchell Le Prou backed up his 158 – his second score of 150+ for the Cane Toads in our short history – with 2 for 23, Matt Bailey the other multiple wicket taker with 2 for 54 from seven overs.
The win see’s the Yarrabilba Cane Toads remain top of the table a clash against Southside Rangers on the horizon next Saturday at Malling Street Oval.