Michael Rixon looked to have set North Tamworth up for a season opening win when he scored 90 to propel the Redbacks to a competitive 5-205 at Riverside 2.
But then up stepped new West Tamworth skipper Dave Mudaliar.
Last year’s player of the year churned off the first century of the season as Wests snuck home with five balls to spare.
Jamie Hartland (20no) and Steven Nathan (6no) steered them to victory, much to the relief of Mudaliar, who had been bowled by Adam Greentree for 101 with five overs remaining and with his side still needing 23.
Understandably after 35 overs out in the middle and facing 103 balls, Mudaliar was feeling “tired” and “sore”.
“That hurt,” he quipped.
The result no doubt lessened the hurt a bit. It was a big win after losing the backbone of their side, not that Mudaliar was focusing too much on that.
“I wasn’t focused on what we lost, what I was focused on was what we had,” he said.
He and Dan Collinson (27) got them off to a flyer, erasing 53 off the run chase in the first seven overs. That really set it up, although for Mudaliar the pressure only increased from there.
“I probably felt the most comfortable the first 10 overs. I felt it was just that one four ball they let go every few overs that let the pressure off,” he said.
He was disappointed in himself getting out when he did, aware of the possible repercussions.
“A new batsmen coming to the crease I know how quickly it can turn,” he said.
It looked like it might have when Mick Moffitt was out the next ball, but Hartland “did a great job at the end”.
A “fair chase”, he thought North’s might have been about 20-25 runs short.
Redbacks skipper Brendan Rixon echoed that. He had around 220 in his mind after the start they had.
“I don’t think we probably accelerated like we could have at the back end of our innings,” he said.
He had spoken heading into the season about looking to try and to anchor their innings around his younger brother, which was what eventuated. With good support from Lachlan Fauchon (34) and then Glenn Lewington (28), he got the Redbacks into a strong position.
I thought it was a good score and a really good gameDave Mudaliar
“Michael batted really well. He hit the bad ball,” Rixon said.
But then they didn’t start well in the ball.
“We gave too many four balls that first 10 overs,” he said.
“But we fought back well, which was quite pleasing.”
Guilty of a “pretty ordinary” first spell by his standards Greentree came back well, only going for 11 runs off five in his second spell and finishing with a double wicket maiden. Tim Unwin and Brad Redshaw also picked up two wickets, Rixon also making mention of Lachlan Butler (0-24).
Having lost their three frontline pace bowlers, the bowling was a bit of an unknown for Wests but Mudaliar was happy with how his bowlers performed, particularly Alex Cook on debut.
“Everyone else I sort of new what I was going to get,” he said.
“He bowled fantastically well. Just put it on the spot.”
He finished with 2-37 and was the only multiple wickettaker, Nathan and Brock Ridgewell each picking up one.
“That outfield was very quick. There was no room for error from the bowlers,” Mudaliar said.
He said Fauchon and Rixon batted well, the latter on a flat track as expected being very hard to bowl to.