NSW Country remained on top of the Australian Country Cricket Championships ladder heading into Wednesday but the race to the title has become much more tight.
Plenty of the work the Bush Blues did when taking out the Twenty20 section of the competition was undone on Tuesday when the side, containing Dubbo’s Jordan Moran, suffered a 58-run loss to East Asia Pacific.
NSW Country headed into Wednesday’s match against Victoria Country at Geraldton’s GBSC Park on top of the Championships ladder but only ahead of both East Asia Pacific and South Australia Country due to its superior quotient.
Moran could only manage 10 on Tuesday as the Bush Blues were dismissed for 192 in reply to East Asia Pacific’s total of 250.
The Bush Blues won the toss and opted to bowl and that seemed like a wise decision when Caleb Ziebell (2/14) helped reduce East Asia Pacific to 3/51.
Ziebell was one of four bowlers to take two wickets but East Asia Pacific fought hard and Dogodo Bau and Doriga Kipling each made 47 to help get the innings back on track.
East Asia Pacific, which has improved each season it has appeared at the Championships, got to 250 before being dismissed with just two balls in the 50 overs left.
NSW’s chase didn’t begin well with Dubbo star Moran falling early for 10 and things went from bad to worse with none of the top five even being able to reach 25.
Joe Price and Ryan Fenning each made 32 in the middle order but no one could go on and make the big score required.
The Bush Blues were eventually dismissed for 192 with Nalin Nipiko’s 4/26 the best effort with the ball.x
The win saw East Asia Pacific move level with Moran’s side while South Australia Country also moved into a share of top spot after downing Queensland Country.
In a thriller, Queensland could only manage 9/143 from its 50 overs but that almost proved enough.
South Australia got the runs with one wicket in hand and just two balls to spare.