As a strong north-westerly stirred up dust at Riverside 2 on Saturday afternoon, a typically brutal batting display by Harrison Kelly stirred up emotions.
After Bective East set West Tamworth 150 for the outright win, in 30 overs, Kelly struck a quick-fire 66 not out that included 10 fours and and a six.
His 10th boundary, in the penultimate over, was the winning runs – a result that came after the Bulls secured first-innings points by three runs the previous Saturday, then set Wests the win target when they declared at 9-146 on Saturday.
When Kelly started his innings, Wests were 3-52 in the 10th over.
He lost, as a partner, Daniel Collinson (29) with the score on 80 and then Josh Worpel (8) and Cameron Reeves (3) with the score on 92 and 96, respectively.
Elliot Bowen (9 not not) was with Kelly at the end.
Kelly would’ve been the last person Bective would have wanted to see in that situation.
In Wests’ previous match, a Twenty20 clash against North Tamworth at the same ground, he bludgeoned 108 not out.
The win lifted Wests off the bottom of the ladder, as they search for a finals berth with two regular-season rounds remaining.
Wests captain Shaun Stevenson applauded his gun allrounder, whose batting heroics was preceded by him claiming 4-47 in the second innings, bowling off-spin.
“He’s unreal – he’s absolutely unbelievable,” Stevenson said. “The more pressure that’s in the game, Harrison just steps up.
“There’s no one else you’d rather have there than him [in Saturday’s situation], and he’s just really matured as a cricketer. And on his day he’s one of the best cricketers in Tamworth.
“We’re really, really happy to have him in our side.”
Next door, at Riverside 1, competition leaders Old Boys claimed first-innings points against North Tamworth.
Chasing 334 for victory, Norths commenced their first innings on Saturday and were dismissed for 221 in the 69th over.
Aaron Hazlewood (4-31) and James Austin (3-30) were Old Boys’ key bowlers.
Lincoln Peters (58) and Michael Rixon (51) top-scored for the Redbacks.
Old Boys have won six straight matches, and their skipper, Ben Middlebrook, said: “We’ve got a reasonably talented bunch, and we’d be disappointed if we end up second. So we’ve got a lot to do, but today [Saturday] was good positive signs.”
At No.1 Oval, City United were dismissed for 80 chasing South Tamworth’s first-innings score of 152. South then finished 4-66 in their second innings.
Skipper Mitch Smith top-scored for Souths in their second dig – his 37 not out the best score of the match – while Tait Jordan claimed 3-39 off 11 overs on Saturday.
Tom O’Neill and Jamie Hammond both snared four wickets for Souths.