Greater Illawarra snatched victory from Central North’s grasp with a six off the final ball of their Kookaburra Cup clash at Albury on Wednesday after Logan Spinks had bowled Central North back into the game with a five-wicket burst.
Chasing Central North’s 6-135, Illawarra found themselves in early trouble but fought back to, at 4-126, appear to have the run chase under control.
”Logan came on for his second spell and went bang, bang, bang,” Central North co-coach Barry Smith said.
He took three wickets in one over to see Illawarra plummet to 7-127 and then picked up two in the final over to leave them 9-132.
But they managed to scrounge a single.
Hayden Willebrand then broke Central North hearts with one final lusty swing.
Spinks finished with 5-34 and bowled “magnificently”.
“He bowled straight. He kept hitting the stumps,” Smith said.
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He said it was a good experience for the boys.
“Either way it went it was always going to be memorable,” he said, adding that it is all “part of the process”.
They had the toughest of the batting conditions with rain the previous afternoon leaving the wicket a bit sticky early.
Sent in they fought well. Ben Livingstone top-scored with 41 at the top of the order while Joseph Hancock made 36 and Mitch Duddy 20.
”Ben Livingstone did a really good job,” Smith said.
“He was listed at three but as we went to go onto the field one of the boys wasn’t feeling well so he went out.”
“He has had a pretty consistent carnival. He’s had two 30s and a 40 in four games.”
With the slow outfield and the way the wicket was playing, Smith said they didn’t really know where they stood with 135.
Early on it looked like it might be a pretty good score with Ed Montgomery picking up three quick wickets to have Illawarra reeling at 3-7 after eight overs.
“He was bowling with good pace and good rhythm. He’s been pretty consistent all the way through but I thought that was his most consistent for pace,” Smith said.
“They then had a couple of good partnerships.”
Central North were down a bowler with leg-spinner Zac Craig limited to only three overs after injuring his shoulder.
“He’s got a bit of experience and has been pretty potent for us the first three games,” Smith said.
He was still “very proud of the boys”.
“All our games have been very close,” he said.
“The good news for Central North is we are not getting outplayed.”
“It’s just delivering the skills at the crucial moments.”
He said their fielding on Wednesday was exceptional.
“We held onto a couple of really good ones,” he said.
They will be looking to finish off their campaign on a winning note when they face Newcastle on Thursday.