Nick Butters, Kory Howlett push Woodford within reach of Nirranda victory with dual centuries

ALL CLASS: Nick Butters scored his second century of the season against Nirranda. Picture: Morgan Hancock
ALL CLASS: Nick Butters scored his second century of the season against Nirranda. Picture: Morgan Hancock

CENTURIES to captain Nick Butters and top-order star Kory Howlett has Woodford poised to inflict pain as it pursues a certified finals berth.

Butters’ century propelled him to lead the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association’s runs tally, while Howlett’s ton arrived in just his fifth innings of the campaign.

Eels coach John Houston said the duo laid the perfect platform for his men to carry confidence into the second week of its battle with 10th-placed Nirranda.

“Nick is an aggressive captain. We wanted to stamp our authority on the game early and he led the way with that,” Houston said.

“Kory worked off that and they just batted brilliantly together. They were just positive and aggressive when they had to be.”

Butters’ heroics also pushed him above Brierly-Christ Church skipper Mark Murphy in the association’s MyCricket champion player rankings.

It bodes well for the batsman, who is expected to take first ball in Warrnambool’s assault on Melbourne Country Week later this month.

But Houston, a multiple premiership mentor, revealed Woodford wasn’t distracted by the lure of an outright and was focused on bowling to its plans.

“We can hopefully bowl our lines next week and hopefully get them out reasonably early,” he said. 

“Our usual plans – targeting the off peg, holding our catches and building pressure will hopefully get a result.”

Houston said concentration was vital as the Eels vie to stay in the hunt for a fourth-consecutive division on premiership.

“Having put 270-odd on the board, we can’t afford to lay down and think that’ll get us over the line,” he said.

“You can let teams back in if you do that. We’ll focus for the whole 10 wickets and reassess the situation after that.

“The first wicket next week is really important and we’ll add to that to get the result.”