BRIERLY-Christ Church youngster Mark Murphy smashed an unbeaten 69 to help the Bulls score their first win of the season — just the club’s second division one triumph in its past 15 matches.
Murphy’s 69, which came at better than a run a ball, included two sixes off Creek’s best bowler Ben Boyd at the death.
Bulls captain Nathan Murphy said he always thought his side’s chase would have been in vain, despite his younger brother’s efforts.
“We needed 50 off five overs, 15 off eight balls and Mark hit a six with four balls to go, then we needed two off three balls,” Nathan Murphy said.
“Everyone was going off. The boys batted well. We always looked like we would be just short but Mark had it timed perfectly.”
Murphy said the win over the Creekers vindicated the club’s persistence with youth after opener Ben Ryan made 46 and number three Jarrod Eccles made 23.
They combined for a 74-run second-wicket stand. Eccles also picked up a wicket with the ball.
“We’ve put a lot of time into our juniors. We had a session with 17 to 21-year-olds with Stephen Field a couple of weeks ago and Mark, Benny and Jarrod were all part of that,” Murphy said.
“The good thing is it wasn’t just one person. We are not a one-man team. We don’t think we are a great cricket side, but if everyone does their job, we are confident we will get the job done.”
After winning just one match — the final game — last season, Murphy said the Bulls wanted to be competitive.
“We have to think we can win every game,” he said.
He said the Bulls thought they had Creek restricted to a manageable target but Creek star Jayaweera Bandara, batting at six, made an unbeaten 76 in an innings that looked to have taken the match away from his young side.
“We bowled too much leg-side,” Murphy said.
“For the first 30 overs we bowled well.”
Murphy said the early win was critical for his side.
“It just builds their confidence up for the rest of the year,” he said.
While Brierly-Christ Church celebrated its first win, Merrivale and Woodford preserved their unbeaten records by denying powerhouses Nestles and West Warrnambool victories.
Merrivale set up a showdown with Woodford in next week’s two-day game after chasing down Nestles’ 9-182.
The Factory’s Tim Cain made an unbeaten 59, but the Tigers, thanks to a 66-run stand for the fifth wicket between Englishman Will Chapples (41) and Simon Fleming (49 not out), got the points, finishing at 8-195.
Chapples, who took 3-34 off nine overs, completed a fine all-round game.
Woodford demolished reigning premier West Warrnambool after significant contributions from emerging youngsters. The Eels made 7-177 off their 45 overs, thanks largely to opener Nick Butters (53) and number four Jake McKinnon (60 not out).
McKinnon then ripped the heart out of West’s batting line-up, taking 3-6 off five overs as he and Luke Wines (1-16 off six) put the screws in after the Panthers made a bright start.
West’s openers Alastair Templeton (22) and Michael Threlfall (11) shared a 35-run stand, but after Templeton was dismissed, the Panthers lost 4-9 as they were bowled out for 92 in just 34.3 overs.
Eels coach John Houston was delighted with his side.
“To get 177 was probably slightly above average but not much,” he said.
“The emphasis then was to make sure we bowled well.
“It seems to be different blokes putting their hands up, which is what you want. Last year we were relying on three or four and this year there are more doing their bit, which I guess comes with the extra year (of experience and maturity).”
Houston said Saturday’s turf wicket against Merrivale had come at a good time.
“We want to see how good we are and how much we’ve improved,” he said.
“Merrivale will be a good test. We are excited and they are the bolters and look pretty good at the moment.”
Nirranda captain Jason Mungean is considering a permanent rise in the batting order for Damon Delaney after his side won the battle of the division one newcomers.
Delaney blasted 85 opening the innings as Nirranda set East Warrnambool-YCW an imposing target of 7-186.
Mungean then destroyed East’s chase, taking 4-8 off 7.4 overs as East was dismissed for 111. Mungean said Delaney’s role had been in the middle order until a rethink before Saturday’s match.
“We made a decision to be a little bit more attacking and he put his hand up (to be elevated),” he said. “He did it years ago but more recently he has been playing a role in the middle order.”