WAGGA City have forged a huge lead in the first day of a two-day test against the Kooringal Colts, batting first and finishing just shy of 300 runs on Saturday.
However, Wagga City coach Owen Thompson knows the Colts are capable of chasing down 297 runs to win next week, with last season’s preliminary final burnt into the team’s memory.
“Strangely enough, it’s exactly the same score we got in the preliminary final against the Colts and they chased us down,” Thompson said.
It was a case of double deja vu for Wagga City captain Jon Nicoll who top scored with 152 runs not out, similar to the preliminary final where he carried the team,scoring 151.
Thompson believes the result should be more favourable for Wagga City this time.
“We think we should be able to bowl better than we did last year,” he said.
However, he’s particularly wary of Colts’ batsman Dave Bolton, who inflicted much damage in the preliminary final, and has been in form this year, and eager to defend his standings on the top of the batting ladder.
High scores, like Nicoll’s 152 are becoming more commonplace due to the quality of local grounds according to Thompson.
“The outfield at Robinson Oval is fantastic, you can hit more runs,” he said.
Regardless, his efforts boosted the team’s confidence after coming off their first loss in round three and the washout last week.
“We’ve got so many kids, a lot of them got to bat with him, and you can tell they grow from it.”
Mitch Cawley is playing his first year of A Grade cricket, and he partnered with Thompson to score 40, and Harry Rosengren scored just 10 runs, but was contributed to a partnership with Thompson that ended up scoring 60 runs.
Jack Harper neared the half century but he was caught out on 48 runs.
Nicoll was conscious of seeing out the full 80 overs, knowing how aggressive the Colts can be in attack.
Rather than taking risky shots, and getting caught out, he was far more calculated and patient, regularly scoring one or two runs.
“He made consistent cricket shots, and didn't give away a chance all day,” Thompson said.
Though he was tired by afternoon tea, Nicoll expressed he was in it for the long haul, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“We could have gone a bit harder towards the end,” Thompson said.
With five batsmen up their sleeves Cane Graetz had a strong run rate, on 23 not out off 28 balls.
In training this week, Wagga City will focus on fielding, and bowling to the right areas.
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