NORTH Tamworth tyro Hamish Batley belted 12 runs off the first four balls of the final over to secure his side a pulsating win over reigning premiers South Tamworth at Chaffey Park on Saturday in their grand final replay.
Beaten by South in last season’s decider, North was on track to run down South Tamworth’s 7-184 until Guy Watts’s sixth over in the penultimate 34th over yielded just three runs.
Watts (2-19 off 6) looked to have given his side the edge until Batley seized the game, smacking a four off James Hammond’s first ball over wide mid wicket.
He then followed up with twos to the cover boundary before lofting Hammond again over the wide mid wicket boundary for the winning run.
“It was a great effort from Hamish and Jack (Cameron),” new North skipper Michael Rixon said after the game. “Two 16-year-olds out there too.
“It was a pretty good knock from Hamish (22 off 21 balls) but we had plenty of good partnerships today.
“Leo Steyn (32 off 55 and 3-40) is going to be very handy for us.
“He took three wickets and then made 30-odd.
“Hamish also bowled well and finished off well with Jack (North’s new wicketkeeper).
“Mitch (Holt) also bowled well.”
Holt went wicketless (0-25) but made a crucial 21 off 20 balls just when North’s run chase could have floundered, putting on 42 for the sixth wicket with skipper Rixon (53 off 76).
Earlier, South had set a challenging target, making 7-184 from its 35 overs, with Josh Crowe (52 off 68) and Troy Osborne (18 off 34) putting together a 62-run opening stand.
Skipper Tom Groth (42 off 48) also batted well at four with Greg Parkinson (10), Richard Rowlings (15), Rory Dempsey (17) and Hammond (11not out) also chipping in.
Batley (0-32 off 7), Holt, Steyn, Rixon (3-28 off 7) and Ben Legge (0-19 off 4) also bowled tightly.
North didn’t start well, with Adam Lole caught behind off Angus McNeil (2-28 off 7) second ball.
However Steyn and Rixon added 73 for the second wicket before North lost 3-21 to be 4-95 when Don Lewington was bowled by Sam McHugh (2-30 off 7).
Holt and David Robinson (17 off 18), who was making his Tamworth first grade debut at age 41, made valuable contributions.
When Rixon was snared by McNeil in the first over of his second spell it looked the premiers had the edge and that became more dominant when Watts produced a brilliant 34th over.
However Batley, one of the stars of the Bradman Cup win for Central North last season, unleashed with an awesome last-over launch.
It earned praise from South Tamworth skipper Tom Groth too.
He said the young all-rounder showed plenty of composure to sneak in and steal the the game in the final over.
“I thought Mick (Rixon) toughed it out well too,” Groth said.
“He wasn’t in the best nick but his innings was the difference.”
He thought his side “batted pretty well too”.
“We showed some commonsense,” he said.
“Josh and Ossie gave us a good start.
“Crowie did bat well, hit them well and then Guy bowled really well for us.
“He kept us in the game.”