SATURDAY’S Country Shield semi-final win was something of a miracle for Armidale after it posted a meagre 98 on a miserable Cowra deck.
Andrew Brownlie’s side beat Nowra by just three runs in a low-scoring game that even the skipper thought was gone at the halfway stage.
“We just won the unwinnable,” Brownlie said.
“A year or two years or three years ago Armidale would have rolled over and lost that game by 10 wickets.
“But we dug deep and bowled well and fielded well and got the job done.
“We won the toss and I had in the back of my mind that in this competition runs on the board were the go.
“But if I had my time again I would have bowled first.
“It was tough to bat on.”
The Twigg Oval wicket was much less batsman- friendly than expected.
In fact it was a shocker.
Both openers were gone for ducks when Alex Legge struck twice early and number four Adam O’Sullivan was run out without scoring to leave Armidale in almost the worst possible position at 3-3.
But Brownlie launched a rescue mission and, even though he watched as five more wickets fell, his 35 was enough to boost the total towards the 100 mark.
The only other batsmen to reach double figures were keeper Brad Smith and number nine Stephen Butler, while Karl Triebe added a vital nine not out at the end.
Legge (2-12), Mathew Junk (4-33) and Michael Coulter (2-10) were the pick of Nowra’s bowlers.
“We lost three wickets early and the wickets kept falling,” Brownlie said.
“By the end of the innings I didn’t think we had enough.
“We were probably due a knock like that.
“We’ve been batting well.
“To win it, we were lucky, but they bowled well too.
“They had a couple of blokes who bowled quick and they had a couple of left-arm spinners as well.
“And to be honest we bowled too many wides.
“We bowled nearly 20 wides and, in a total that small, it’s terrible.”
But the bowlers did the most important thing and that was take 10 wickets.
After being 1-45, Nowra slumped to 6-55 at lunch and by the drinks break it was 9-92.
With the game teetering on a knife edge, Henry Cupitt took the last wicket with the score on 95.
“Luke Brown was really good with the ball with 4-32 from 10,” Brownlie said.
“And Henry ended up with three and took the last wicket.
“Sammy Uphill bowled a good spell and Karl (Triebe) got a breakthrough early for us.
“There was a little partnership after that and it got a bit dicey but then we started to get wickets in groups.
“We were nervous but when it was down to single figure runs we only needed one wicket.
“It was just one good ball or one mistake and we got the win.”
And that’s exactly what happened.
Uphill finished with 2-18, Triebe 1-17 and Cupitt 3-21.