OLD Boys recovered to set a defendable total in their clash with South Tamworth at No.1 Oval on Saturday after being 5-113 at tea.
A score of less than 200 was on the cards at that stage but a couple of good knocks from Mal Green and Josh Smith ensured South would have to work for the points.
Green top-scored with 48 and Smith smashed a quick 47 not out at number 11 to give Old Boys 222.
“We aimed for 250 at the start of the day and 220 isn’t far off,” Old Boys co-captain Ben Middlebrook said.
“It was a good deck. It looked a bit rough but it played well.
“Mal and Josh batted well.
“It was the first time I’ve seen Mal bat and he batted sensibly.
“Paul Abra looks like a good pick-up and Layne Berry did his job so everyone chipped in.”
Co-captain Simon Norvill opened with 33, Abra added 31 and Berry 24 so there were plenty of starts for the Old Boys top order.
South would have been happy at tea.
“We were going pretty well,” captain Tom Groth said.
“The sixth and seventh wicket partnership hurt us a bit.
“But the wicket was a road.
“There wasn’t a ball that deviated all day.”
Teenage left-arm orthodox spinner Riley Ayre nabbed three of those first five wickets.
The Denman local then claimed Green’s scalp to finish with 4-75 from 23 overs.
“I was really happy with Riley,” Groth said.
“It was his first big bowl for us and he did well for a kid.
“We dropped five or six catches and that cost us a bit.
“We need to improve there a bit.”
Sam McHugh was the other wicket-taker of note.
His right-arm seamers claimed 4-39.
South had to see out 11 overs before stumps and couldn’t get through unscathed.
It was 1-29 with Josh Crowe unbeaten on 19 and McHugh one.
South will need 194 more next Saturday to take first innings points.
“We’ve got 80 overs to get 200 now, or just a bit under,” Groth said.
“We know the wicket will be good and the outfield will be good so it’s up to us to apply ourselves.
“Someone needs to get a big score or a big partnership.”
Will Howard took the late wicket to have 1-7 from five overs and he and his Old Boys attack partners will have to take nine wickets next week.
They also need the support of the field.
“If we bowl the way we have been they’ll probably get them,” Middlebrook said.
“But if the fielders back up the bowlers and we take our catches, we’ll be right.”