It’s tight at the top; Tamworth outgun Armidale in cup clash

TAMWORTH joined Armidale at the top of the War Veterans Cup with a comprehensive eight wicket win over Armidale at No 1 Oval Tamworth yesterday.

In Gunnedah last placed Narrabri, with no hope of making the February 17 WVC Final, gave Gunnedah something to chase when they knocked  up 4-235.

The visitors seemed to have the upper hand for most of the game until allrounder Mitch Swain strode to the wicket.

The paceman finished unbeaten on 39 and turned the game when he blasted 24 off one over.

In the end Gunnedah finished 6-240, reaching their target with two overs to spare.

It also kept alive their WVC hopes.

Armidale and Tamworth sit on top with 21 points apiece with Gunnedah 20 and Narrabri five.

Gunnedah host Armidale on January 20 in the final round while Tamworth go to Narrabri.

Only the top two teams play in the February 17 WVC Final making the Gunnedah/Armidale clash in two weeks a knockout match.

o Turn to Page 22 for more on the Gunnedah/Narrabri WVC match.

In Tamworth Armidale batted first but could only come up with 8-142.

Openers Alex Frost (15 from 66 balls) and Michael Dawson (25 from 87) put on a 56 run opening stand but it was slow and put pressure on the middle order which buckled in the face of some line and length bowling from Aaron Hazlewood (4-20), Angus McNeil (1-21) and Jack McVey (2-19).

Only a 42-run eight wicket stand between Steve Butler (20) and Luke Brown (21no) steered the side to some sort of defendable total.

However Adam Lole (47) and Kris Halloran (30) put on 65 for the second wicket and then Lole and skipper Nick Pearson (38) added another 74 for a comprehensive win.

“A very good win,” Pearson said.

“They might have put on a half century opening partnership but we kept them to 0-30 at the first drinks break and that was great. Everyone bowled well. Azza (Hazlewood) showed his class and experience and Jack McVey was awesome. He moved the ball both ways. I was very impressed with him.”

Aaron Hazlewood, older brother of Test 12th man Josh, who will return to cricket in tonight’s Big Bash for the Sydney Sixers against the Brisbane Heat, was delighted with his four wicket haul.

“I just bowled line and length and they got themselves out really,” Hazlewood said.

Armidale skipper Andrew Brownlie said his side’s loss was easily explained.