A BRILLIANT season of A-Grade cricket in the Busselton-Margaret River competition continued on Saturday when St Marys scored a thrilling 5-run win over top side Hawks, and YOBS got up in the final over of their game to defeat Dunsborough in a cliffhanger finish.
Saints looked to be down and out at Barnard Park after they were reduced to 4-22 batting first against Hawks. They recovered to make 136, which still did not seem enough, thanks to skipper Danny Hatton (24) and Jono Lloyd (38).
Sadly, Hatton's Country Week chances this month were ruined when he tore a calf muscle while taking off for a run. He is expected to be out of action for four weeks. Two wickets each for Hawks skipper Mat Kent and left-armers Grant Garstone and Charith Jayampathi saw Saints restricted to 8-136 from their 50 overs.
Saints Lewis Milligan grabbed a wicket with the very first ball of the Hawks innings when Chris McLean shouldered arms to a delivery which just clipped the off stump. Two more wickets for Milligan, and a spell of 2-18 off 10 overs from Ben Mattock, suddenly saw Saints in with a chance of scoring an upset.
Sri Lankan allrounders Rumesh Silva (25) and Charith Jayampathi (37) then looked to swing the game in Hawks' favour, before medium-pacer Justin Gower snared three wickets for Saints to set up a thrilling finish.
From 9-107, Hawks tailenders Trent Matthews and Peter Crimp nearly turned the game on its head before Dwayne Franklin finally penetrated Matthews' defence to see Hawks all out for 131 - and an epic finish.
At Dunsborough, an outstanding performance by Jacob Evans saw YOBS beat Dunsborough with five balls remaining. Batting first, Dunsborough looked well on top with Aaron Mott (55), John Richardson (22) and Phil Watts (44) seeing their side 1-119 at one stage. Matt Connaughton (3 wickets) and Evans (4 wickets) did most of the damage as Dunsborough were dismissed for 189.
Ricky Small-Boyce then dismissed both YOBS openers for single figures to see his side gain the early upper hand, only for Evans (75 off 71) to steal the show with a scintillating range of shots around the ground. Aiden Fraser (41 no) played the crucial hand late in the piece to get YOBS across the line.
In B-Grade, YOBS amassed 9-219 against Cowaramup, with Jack O'Malley hitting 64. The Bulls' response of 133 all out featured an outstanding lone hand of 81 from Mike Hibberd.
Dunsborough scored an upset win over Vasse when they scored 7-220 off 45 overs, with Ray Pes hitting 74, and then restricted Vasse to 7-137. At Margaret River, St Marys routed the home side for 93 and cruised to victory by eight inside 30 overs.