By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
ALREADY sitting on top of the table, Sawtell tried to unleash an audacious plan to pull off an outright victory against fellow finals aspirant Park Beach Bowling Club Colts on Saturday to extend their lead on the rest of the competition.
Resuming only 62 runs in arrears with nine wickets in hand, the reigning premiers knew that if they could pass the required target and then build up a lead by making quick runs, then a chance of grabbing maximum points was on offer.
Trouble was the boys didn't play well enough on the day to carry out the plan.
According to skipper Chris Neal, Sawtell's batting and fielding let them down when they were needed most.
"Our middle order let us down a bit and then we were trying to get them out, we put down a few chances which didn't help," he said.
"It would've been nice to get the outright but it wasn't to be."
Going out with the intent of making quick runs to allow their bowlers as much time as possible to dismiss the Colts a second time, the plan went awry when both of last week's not out batsmen were dismissed early.
"We had to steady the ship early on, losing a wicket in the first over of the day didn't help," the skipper added.
"Then Todd Gill came in and did what he does best, basically."
Gill only spent an hour at the crease but in his short stay he provided plenty of entertainment. Facing only 40 balls, Gill made a rapid-fire 63 which included three boundaries and four massive sixes which had nearby home owners checking the details of their insurance policies.
"In all the time that we've been playing at Richardson Park, only one bloke has managed to clear those backyard fences at the ground and that was Geoff Butterworth," Neal said.
"'Gilly' cleared those fences three times. They were massive hits."
With the score easily passed, it seemed all roads were leading to a massive lead. That was until Colts' orthodox spinner Andrew Murray applied a massive handbrake to the innings.
Murray ran through the Sawtell middle order quicker than a dodgy curry. From his five-wicket haul, it is with particular delight that he will recall the scalps of David Kennedy, Gus Garland and Simon Landrigan as they were the trio that played the minor roles in Murray's hat-trick.
The Colts looked like crumbling in their second innings when the top-order collapsed to be 5-45 thanks to an inspired spell of pace bowling from Ben Andrews. Craig Haworth and Sam Hardes then steadied the ship to stave off outright defeat.