Round 4 of the Northam Cricket Association 40 Over Competition saw action in Northam and Toodyay on Saturday. At Bert Hawke 1, undefeated Ballardong clashed with Grass Valley Green.
What was anticipated as the game of the round, did not disappoint.
Ballardong won the toss and sensibly chose to bat in perfect conditions. It was bright without a hint of breeze.
However the Ballardong opening batsmen were met with some unorthodox captaincy as the opening over was bowled by 14-year-old left arm spinner Fletcher Page (0/38 from 9).
Combining with accurate medium pace from Connor Sargeant (2/25 from 10), the two young bowlers accounted for 19 of the first 20 overs and restricted the strong Ballardong batting line up to 2/68 at the drinks break.
A wicket fell one delivery either side of the break before Richard Dewar was joined by Jermaine Davis Senior and consolidated the innings.
Dewar eventually fell for a near flawless 77 including four 4s on a day when both sides totalled six.
Davis Snr. assumed the role of senior batsman, guiding his team to 148 from 40 overs and remaining unbeaten on 41. This despite the efforts of Louis Page (0/20 from 5), Gary Bignell (0/21 from 5) and particularly, Harry Sargeant (3/29 from 8).
While Grass Valley Green were understandably proud of their efforts in the field in warm temperatures and with 10 men, they still faced a challenging target.
The chase was off to an ordinary start after an ordinary shot left Valley 1 for 0 in the first over and behind the equation for the remainder of the innings.
Some pluck from the middle order, particularly Louis Page (27), and late hitting from Callum Norrish (28 not out) saw Grass Valley Green to a respectable 128 from 40 overs.
It wasn’t enough due to the tight bowling of Dewar (1/31 from 10), Davis Snr. (2/20 from 7) and Scott Romasz (1/13 from 4).
Jermaine Davis Jnr. proved the value of being an all rounder, contributing with the ball in a way he was unable with the bat and taking the honours with 3 for 19 from 9.
The game was noteworthy for being competitive and played in good spirit. Contributions from some wily veterans aside, it was talented youth on both sides that stood out with bat and ball.
Ones to watch include Cal Norrish with bat and ball, the bowling of Brad Batkin and the Sargeant twins and young spinners Fletcher Page and Tarkyn Narrier.
Ballardong have cemented early favouritism to avenge the Grand Final defeat of last season while Grass Valley Green will not be easy beats.
In the other game, Grass Valley 3 for 218 defeated Toodyay all out for 95.
Notable performances included Glenn Smith (4/16 from 9) and an unbeaten 99! including seven 4s from Stratton Jones for Valley, while Steve McCormick scored 23 and Aaron Waters (0/22 from 7) and Austin Logan (0/21 from 8) went unrewarded for Toodyay.
Next games are Saturday, November 10 from 12.50pm: Toodyay v Bakers Hill in Toodyay; Grass Valley v Ballardong at Bert Hawke 1; and Sunday, November 11 from 11am: Grass Valley v Grass Valley Green at Bert Hawke 2.