Bulls skipper digs deep for emotional century

AN emotional Nathan Murphy has celebrated his first ton in six seasons, raising his bat in honour of six people who died in a car crash near Penshurst last year.

The Brierly-Christ Church captain-coach reached the milestone on the final ball of the Bulls’ innings on Saturday.

His unbeaten 100 helped Brierly-Christ Church post 8-188 on day one of its round five Warrnambool and District Cricket Association clash against Nirranda at Brierly turf.

Former Emmanuel College students Sean Doran, Olivia and Caroline Wright, Rebecca McKenzie and Tim Cooper and Terang truck driver Steve Elford died when a car and a truck collided on November 12 last year.

Murphy wore a black armband and placed five stars on his bat to honour his five friends. 

“It was the last ball of the day and I was pretty emotional afterwards,” he said.“My ex-girlfriend had a hard time with what she went through and all the families associated with the victims. 

“I saw how it affected them. One year on from that it was pretty emotional.”

Murphy had a lean start to the season, with 28 his top score over the first four rounds.

He said he’d worked hard in the nets and knew his fortunes would turn around. 

“I’d been seeing the ball well but sometimes in cricket you don’t have the luck and it looks like you’re batting badly,” he said.

“It clicked yesterday.”

Murphy praised veteran Jason Greer for helping him reach his ton.

“He’s the oldest fella in the side but he was pretty quick between the wickets for the last ball to get me my 100,” he said.

“It’s been six years since I made my last ton. I was a 19-year-old when I made 203 against Koroit.” The all-rounder said the Bulls were confident they could defend their total. Murphy said it was a tough pitch to bat on.

“Steve McCabe made 29 but he batted for a while and had a good innings,” he said.

“We didn’t lose two wickets in a row, we were able to continue and have steady partnerships. We hadn’t batted 80 overs for a while so the batsmen have done their jobs.” Murphy missed out on WDCA’s 39-player squad for Hamilton’s Western Waves Festival of Cricket. 

Selector Ray Drew said the association wanted to see Murphy make more runs.

Murphy answered in emphatic fashion on Saturday. 

“You want to play as much representative cricket as you can but having a weekend off is not bad either,” he said. “I’d be more disappointed if I miss the country week side.” 

Dennington skipper Dustin Drew celebrated his first century in two seasons as the Dogs set Nestles 218 to chase. Drew, who opened and made 107, played down his role and focused on Dennington’s team performance.

He said the partnership of teenager Shannon Beks (16) and Steven Wythe (16) helped the Dogs surpass 200.

“It was good to get runs but more importantly, the team put on a good score,” Drew said.

“Everyone knows their role and it’s probably why we are playing better this year.”

Drew said his knock included about 10 fours.

“It wasn’t the best innings I have played but you still take them whenever you can get them,” he said.

Drew is confident the Dogs can defend their total on day two.“We are 4-0 and we are the hunted at the moment,” he said.

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