Bottom beats top to shake up Armidale ladder

ARMIDALE City leapfrogged Hillgrove Colts to the top of the Armidale first grade competition when it beat Ex-Services by 120 runs at Armidale Sportsground and East stunned Hillgrove with a 122-run win at Harris Park.

East was  running last entering the game, lost the toss, batted and made 9-190 after being 5-47.

It  then routed Hillgrove for just 68.

East skipper Sam Uphill was elated with a vital win over the former competition leader and old nemesis.

“It’s a turning point for us,”  Uphill said.

“It puts us level with Ex-Services in third.”

City’s win over Servies catapulted City to the top of the competition on 38 with Hillgrove 35 and then East and Ex-Servies 28.

East didn’t start its  match against Hillgrove well, with consistent opener Dean Moore out in the first over.

When 4-40 became 5-47, it was up to Ben Hanlan (31) and Josh Taylor (57) to rekindle the innings.

“Josh did bat very well,” Uphill said.

“We all ended up batting around him.

“Henry Cupitt (31) and Sam Constance (13no) then put on 40 for the last wicket too. 

“They were good runs.”

Steve Hayden (3-67 off 12) was best of the Hillgrove bowlers while Lochlan Elks (2-29) and skipper Brad King (2-33) also contributed.

Cupitt and Constance then followed their good last wicket partnership with bowling success.

“Sam took 3-19 off his nine overs and Henry took 1-12 from his four,” Uphill said.

“They attacked the stumps.”

Josh Taylor (2-4), Ben Welch (1-10) and Uphill (3-19) then cleaned up Hillgrove.

At the Sportsground, Armidale City was “very dominant”, skipper Steve Butler said.

“Our target was to get to 200 and we did that,” he said.

“We made 8-206.”

Then they dismissed Ex-Services for 86, with pacemen Adam Sweeney and Andrew Skinner claiming three wickets apiece and Butler  4-2.

Angus Reckord (87) and Brad Smith (52) topscored for City, putting on 82 for the second wicket.

“That set the platform,” Butler said.

“It was a massive win for us.

“Gus and Brad did  real well.

“After them we all tried to bash more runs but the wicket was a bit sticky.”

Nick Levy and Clarrie Moran were best of the Ex-Servies bowlers, finishing with three wickets apiece.

Then Adam Sweeney and Andrew Skinner bowled the first 16 overs between them to demolish the top order.

“We play Hillgrove next week – that’s a big game,” Butler said.

Unfortunately for City it was  Reckord’s last game for them.

“He’s going back to university in South Australia,” Butler said.

“It’s good that he was able to play over the uni holidays. 

“But he is a big loss although we do have Rumann Hassan and Ryan Whitton coming back.”

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