Captain's knock from James Richards helps Wagga RSL post 144

CAPTAIN'S KNOCK: James Richards tries to open his shoulders against South Wagga on Saturday. He made a crucial 67 to top score for Wagga RSL at Wagga Cricket Ground. Picture: Les Smith

CAPTAIN'S KNOCK: James Richards tries to open his shoulders against South Wagga on Saturday. He made a crucial 67 to top score for Wagga RSL at Wagga Cricket Ground. Picture: Les Smith

Wagga RSL coach Neil Morton believes snaring three late wickets has left his team evenly poised with South Wagga.

The Bulldogs were bowled out for 144 at Wagga Cricket Ground on Saturday, but were able to strike late in the day.

It means the Blues will resume at 3-28 on Saturday needing another 117 for victory.

Former South Wagga bowler Josh Hindmarsh picked up two wickets, Seb Graf (0) and Matt Bee (7), to help the Bulldogs turn the tide.

However South Wagga still have plenty of key batsmen in hand.

After changing their batting order for the 10 overs to play late in the day, Brayden Ambler will resume on eight while captain Joel Robinson finished unbeaten on five.

Morton doesn’t believe there is too much between the teams as it currently stands.

“It’s very evenly placed at the moment,” Morton said.

“Getting those three wickets definitely helped and another would have been even better.

“Obviously Joel and Brayden are key wickets for them so if we could have picked up one of them it would have been great.

“But we didn’t so hopefully early wickets next week will set us up nicely.”

Morton thought a real captain’s knock from James Richards put RSL into a winnable position.

The Bulldogs were in trouble at 5-44 before Richards came to the crease.

He was the last man out for 67 and his innings helped steer the team in the right direction.

Morton said he couldn’t have asked for anything more.

“He (Richards) was tremendous,” he said.

“It was the same old story for us, we lost wickets at wrong times and probably to poor shots, myself included.”

Last man in, John Hoey, also played an important role late.

He finished unbeaten on 10 in a crucial 47-run partnership with Richards.

Earlier in the innings Sam Perry made 20 while Morton finished on 17 before becoming one of Joel Robinson’s three dismissals.

Alex Jones also chipped in with two wickets.

With an outfield making it difficult to score runs on, Morton hopes both sides are greeted with similar conditions when play resumes on Saturday.

“The outfield was terribly, terribly slow,” he said.

“Anything along the ground you were no chance of getting a boundary so fingers crossed the outfield is going to be the same next week.

“That 140 is probably worth 160-170 just with the way the outfield is.”

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