HELLISH HARWOOD: Young seamers unleash on Rebels
NCCC PREMIER LEAGUE: Harwood are quickly cementing themselves as consecutive title favourites, with a blistering win over Northern Districts Rebels yesterday.
The Premier League side claimed a fourth straight win thanks to a huge performance from rising youngster Corey Lewis (4 for 28 off 6.1) who helped bowl out the Rebels for 151 before his side chased down the total in just 32.2 overs, finishing 4/153.
After some much-needed rain, Harwood expected a tricky wicket and elected to bowl first.
“There was a bit of rain around Friday and Saturday morning so we were expecting some moisture in the ground,” Harwood batsman Nathan Ensbey said.
“It was pretty good in the end. There were no signs of moisture and they had a clear run so the boys did well to restrict them to 153,” Ensbey said.
His side were missing some key players and despite some doubt over Doug Harris’s ability to play, he was pleased to have the spinner in the squad.
“Doug opened up the bowling. He had an operation on his shoulder during the week but it was good having him out there,” he said.
One player that stood up to the task in the absence of impressive juniors, Troy Turner and Hayden Ensbey was young Lewis.
“Corey had a really good haul. He got four wickets and two catches,” Ensbey said.
“His ground fielding was excellent. He was swinging them both ways. It was really good to see the young fella step up and perform. With the other guys out he filled gap perfectly.
Harwood took to the crease with confidence as the top order hit their stride in the Premier League.
Ensbey contributed 33 runs alongside Mark Ensbey’s 51 and the pair opened with an 80-run partnership.
“Coming out on a good wicket we were confident chasing 153,” Nathan Ensbey said.
“We batted reasonably well. It was good our top order could get us home because we’ve been relying on the middle and tail end a bit too much this season.”
Former Coutts/Coffs Colts star Luke Cox did his best to spoil Harwood’s party but the home side won comfortably.
“We got home pretty easy in the end. They bowled well but we fought hard to get a good win in the end,” Ensbey said.
With just seven games left until finals in March, Nathan said the side have their eyes on the minor premiership that delivers a grand final berth.
“It’s a different set-up for finals with the four-team competition this year,” he said.
“The top side go straight into the final while second play third for the other spot.
“It’s be good to be on top and we’ll aim to stay there so that we can hopefully get a home grand final. We don’t want to look too far ahead but it’d be good to be on top over the Christmas break.”
. Cox was looking influential at the crease for his side, opening the batting with 42 runs but Jacob McMahon came up with a big wicket to change the game.
”There’s always a lot of friendly banter out there when he’s (Luke’s) up. He’s a dangerous player so it was really good for Jacob to get him out. He was looking like posting a solid score before that,” Ensbey said.
Harwood travel to Richardson Park next weekend to take on a Sawtell side yet to click.