After two consecutive Saturdays of blistering heat, the temperature eased for Round 7 of the Northam Cricket Association 40 over competition. An entertaining season of cricket continued.
Bakers Hill travelled to Northam to face Balladong at Bert Hawke 1.
Balladong won the toss, elected to bat, and were off to a promising start. Young opening batsmen Dylan Lewis and Glen Podmore produced a stand of 36 for the first wicket, before the hero of Round 6, Steve Wainwright was introduced with immediate effect.
Podmore was caught off Wainwright's bowling by Matt Starcevich for 12.
Bakers had two in quick succession when Lewis (18) fell soon after without the total advancing, bowled by Matt Turner.
The double breakthrough started a procession of Balladong batsmen shuttling to and from the middle. They lost 8 wickets for 11 runs, slumping from 0 for 36 to 8 for 47.
Only a last wicket stand of 31 between Shane Wynne and Rikki Garlett added some respectability to the total. Their partnership lifted Balladong to 78 from 21.5 overs. Wynne top scored with 21.
Wainwright was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with 4 wickets for 7 runs from 5 overs with 3 maidens. It was the second time this season he has managed four wickets at a cost of less than 10 runs. He was followed closely by Matt Turner, equally impressive with 3 for 7 from 4, and Matt Starcevich with 2 for 9 from 3.5.
It would prove to be a contest dominated by the bowlers in the second innings.
Bakers stumbled early, losing two wickets with just two runs on the board. A clatter of wickets followed as their run chase collapsed and they fell 7 wickets down for 18.
As with the Balladong innings, a lower order partnership lifted the total and Bakers' hopes.
Top scorer on the day, Hayden Bishop added 25 valuable runs and combined with Brodee Starcevich (10) for an eighth wicket stand worth 40 runs.
It wasn't to be. Once the partnership was broken by Tarkyn Narrier, the remaining wickets fell, leaving Bakers all out for 64 from 23.3 overs, just 15 runs shy of an upset victory.
Jermaine Davis Senior responded to a rare failure with the bat, by impacting with the ball. He was destructive, claiming 5 wickets for 12 runs from 10 overs with 5 maidens.
His son was also damaging. Davis Junior finished with 3 for 12 from 5.4 overs, taking the last wicket to end a close contest.
In the other game, Toodyay hosted Grass Valley at the picturesque Toodyay Town Oval.
Grass Valley won the toss and surprisingly sent Toodyay in to bat.
It paid dividends when both opening bowlers Corey Even (1 wicket for 11 runs from 6 overs) and Bailey O'Driscoll (1 for 14 from 6) had each captured an opening batsmen with the score just 2 for 10.
Toodyay continued to lose wickets regularly before Steele Davey, as he has done previously this season, offered some resistance.
With the support of Beau Wagenaar (16) and Cody Smith (18), Davey (45) helped Toodyay to the useful total of 130 from 36.5 overs.
Clancy Thompson did the damage for Valley, finishing with figures of 4 for 34 from 9 overs with two maidens.
Zeke Kennedy was the other multiple wicket taker (2 for 11 from 1.5).
In reply, Valley reached 50 without loss before losing both opening batsmen with the total on 51.
With Glenn Smith (27) and new father-of-three Rhys Byfield (22) dismissed, Valley were still 79 runs in arrears.
New pair Kitt Byfield and Bailey O'Driscoll took control of the contest with a third wicket partnership of 76, dominated by O'Driscoll. When Byfield (26) was dismissed, the total had advanced to 3 for 127.
O'Driscoll, joined by Tim Natkanski (21), ensured victory before finally being removed for a match-winning 71 with the total on 159.
Valley eventually reached 5 for 205 from their allotted 40 overs.
Clancy Thompson capped an all round performance with 21 not out.
Five separate Toodyay bowlers claimed a wicket each as Toodyay toiled in the field. Steve McCormick (1 for 20 from 5) and Aaron Waters (1 for 21 from 7) were the best performed.
Next Saturday Toodyay Town Oval again sees action as Balladong travel to take on the local team. Grass Valley host Ferals in Northam at Bert Hawke 1. Bakers Hill have the bye.