Two games of cricket were played on December 1 to complete Round 8 of the Northam Cricket Association 40 Over competition. With finals approaching, teams are jostling for position and individuals are vying for awards.
Grass Valley hosted Bakers Hill at Bert Hawke. Bakers won the toss and sent Valley in to bat. The decision paid off almost immediately when Matt Turner shattered the stumps of top order mainstay Kitt Byfield in the second over. This brought Glenn Smith to the crease to join Pete Clements and the two put on an 82-run partnership for the second wicket. Turner broke through again, bowling Smith for 41 and starting the rot. Valley would lose 9 wickets for 40 runs, including Clements for 46, to be all out for 129 in the 35th over. Matt Turner (3 for 11 from 7 overs) and Brayden Beck (4 for 35 from 10) were damaging with the ball. With the bat, Bakers could not match their performance with the ball, all out for 63 in the 26th over. This handed terrific figures to a number of Valley bowlers. Rhys Byfield picked up 3 for 8 from 2 overs including 6 wides. Byfield is a leading contender for best bowling average in the association. Glenn Smith finished with 2 for 9 from 6 to continue a season where his bowling has been frugal and his batting has been productive. Clancy Thompson (2 for 9 from 4.4) is a regular wicket-taker this season, relishing greater opportunity and maturity. Similarly, Bailey O'Driscoll (1 for 9 from 5) is ultra consistent and often goes unrewarded.
The other game took place in the majestic surrounds of Toodyay Town Oval as Toodyay hosted Grass Valley Green. Toodyay ultimately upset an undermanned Green. Toodyay chose to bat after winning the toss but were in the same situation as the other game, losing a batsman in the second over to be 1 for 7. They recovered to reach 147 from 40 overs. Green struggled to fill space as they fielded with the minimum 8 players but still managed to take regular wickets. Best of the bowling included Callum Norrish (3 for 17 from 4), who denied Jack Borrett a half century when he was caught and bowled for 46. Other contributors with the ball were Gary Bignell (2 for 17 from 10), Harry Sargeant (2 for 20 from 7) and Louis Page (2 for 38 from 10).
Grass Valley Green made a strong start to the chase. The opening partnership between Callum Norrish and Connor Sargeant reached 47. By the time the second wicket fell, in the 28th over, Green were 105. However the loss of two set batsmen, Norrish (44) and Ben Howard (32), within three overs, triggered a collapse that exposed Greens reduced batting lineup. They never recovered, losing 6 for 32 to be all out for 137, 10 runs short of the target. Aaron Waters was destructive (3 for 33 from 10) and Dylan Borrett was tidy (2 for 23 from 8).
One round remains in the regular season. On Saturday, Ballardong host Bakers Hill at Bert Hawke 2. While on Bert Hawke 1, the two Grass Valley sides clash in a matchup that will be revisited on Sunday in a semifinal between second and third.
The trophies for some individual accolades can almost be engraved. Jermaine Davis Jnr is a clear leader for most wickets with 17 in total, almost double the nearest rival. While Jermaine Davis Snr sits atop the batting leaderboard with an incredible 419 runs at an average of 139.67 with 4 not outs. The next batsmen on the list is more than 200 runs in arrears. If anyone knows how to dismiss Davis Snr, please contact the sports desk at The Avon Valley Advocate.