Final round of Northam Cricket Club's 40 over season sees scorcher

The last regular fixture of the Northam Cricket Association 40 over season was played on Saturday in blistering heat.

Toodyay hosted Ferals at Toodyay Town Oval.

The charming ground is the most attractive venue in the competition, even in the conditions.

Ferals won the toss and surprisingly elected to bowl against a depleted Toodyay side with only eight players.

It was an inspired decision as the Ferals bowlers proceeded to take regular wickets.

Only opening batsman Ryan Reid offered resistance, mixing solid defense with a variety of attacking strokes, including twice lofting the ball over the head of the fielder at mid on.

When Callum Norrish induced a faint edge from Reid's bat through to the keeper, Toodyay were reduced to 3 for 34.

Three more wickets followed in quick succession to leave Toodyay reeling at 6 for 37.

Ryan Mawer was joined in the middle by Alyssa Farrall, and the pair formed a crucial final wicket alliance of 22, the highest of the innings.

Mawer swung the bat to contribute an unbeaten 18, ably supported by Farrall. Her dismissal brought the innings to a close in the 15th over with Toodyay having reached 7 for 59.

Michael Ferguson bowled well for Ferals (2 wickets for 12 runs from 4 overs), to continue his consistent season, followed closely by Jack Parmenter (2 for 13 from 3).

Troy Sims (1 for 3 from 3) and Callum Norrish (1 for 8 from 2) also contributed.

Ferals exemplified the camaraderie between the two sides when they provided Toodyay with two extra fielders.

Their generosity extended further soon after play resumed.

Harrison Sargeant clipped a ball behind square leg and set off.

Alyssa Farrall, the best ground fielder in the comp, pounced and threw the ball to the keeper.

It found Connor Sargeant well short of his ground, barbecued by his brother for 0.

Dylan Borrett found a consistent line and length for Toodyay, and was rewarded for targeting the stumps, picking up two quick wickets.

Ryan Reid was introduced into the attack and he kept the pressure building on Ferals.

It paid off when Harrison Sargeant holed out at mid off for 14, leaving Ferals at 4 for 36.

Reid stifled the Ferals batsmen, making runs hard to come by and forcing mistakes.

Three young Ferals came and went with the score suddenly 7 for 45.

Fletcher Page remained patiently in the middle, respecting good deliveries and picking up runs where he could.

It was a mature innings from the young cricketer, who remained unbeaten on 23, when the total was eclipsed in the 30th over. He was assisted at the end by Norrish (16 not out).

Page offered only one real chance which was squandered at short mid wicket by Borrett.

It was a missed opportunity reminiscent of the recent dropped catch by Joe Denly during England's tour of New Zealand.

Reid (3 for 4 from 8 with 4 maidens) and Borrett (2 for 6 from 7 with 4 maidens) were both very impressive with the ball for Toodyay.

The other game on Saturday was played at Bert Hawke 1 in Northam, where Grass Valley hosted Bakers Hill.

The game was reduced to twenty overs a side, although that competition begins in earnest in the new year.

Bakers Hill won the toss and decided to bowl.

It proved immediately successful when Matt Jankauskas bowled Glenn Smith with the total just 2.

Steve Wainwright found the edge of the dangerous Bailey O'Driscoll, caught behind for 12, leaving Valley on 2 for 19.

Cody Even played attacking strokes on his way to 24, as he and Rhys Byfield shared a third wicket partnership of 43, taking the total to 62.

Even was dismissed, caught Matt Turner, bowled Aaron Carter.

Byfield perished soon after, stumped trying to lift the run rate, from the bowling of Jamie Macpherson for 15. The score now 72.

Middle order batsmen Ben Howard and Gary Bignell lifted the Valley total to 105 from 20 overs. Matt Jankauskas (1 for 1 from 3 with 2 maidens) finished with impressive figures for Bakers Hill.

The boys from Bakers gave a credible showing in pursuit of the total, but ultimately fell short.

Steve Wainwright formed the backbone of the chase, top scoring in the game with 33. He could not find meaningful support, aside from Colin MacTaggart (13), as Bakers stumbled to be all out for 82 in the 17th over.

Glenn Smith found redemption with the ball (4 for 24 from 4).

Gary Bignell was effective (2 for 3 from 3 with 2 maidens).

With the conclusion of the regular season, places on the ladder were locked.

Grass Valley finished on top with the same wins and losses as Balladong, separated only by points.

Bakers Hill are third and Ferals fourth. Toodyay will not contest the finals.

The 40 over competition reconvenes on the first weekend of February.

The semi final and elimination final take place on February 1.

Those results will determine the preliminary final played that same weekend on February 2.

This is followed by the grand final played over two days on the weekend of February 8 and 9.

The highly anticipated Twenty20 competition begins after the 40 over competition.

Prior to the local competition resuming, Northam Cricket Association will send two sides to Country Week in late January.

Any interested players are urged to inform their club captain or contact the association regarding their availability.

Northam Cricket Association wishes safe and happy festivities to all players, supporters and community members, and looks forward to more exciting cricket in the new year.