Darren Connell in a Stribley Shield match at Albert Park in 2017. The November rain again played havoc in round five of the SWSCL on Saturday.   Rain saw both matches in Young abandoned, meaning that the Crusaders v Central Hotel match was the only match that went ahead at Albert Park.    The premier ground in the competition, saw the square covered on Thursday evening. The enthralling match saw the Crusaders defeat the Central Hotel by two wickets.

While no rain fell on Friday, however rain did fall early Saturday morning and rain continued to fall on and off, mid-morning.   With both teams keen to play, especially after round four was a wash out and both teams already having the bye, the covers were removed, the run ups at the southern end were dried up with the hession.   The pitch was rolled and remarked.    Josh Purtell, the captain of the Crusaders won the toss and had no hesitation to field.      Considering the elements, it was remarkable that the match commenced only five minutes late at 1.35pm.

During the match light spitting rain fell sometimes lasting 10 to 15 minutes and then the rain would stop. This happened several times during the afternoon, but the rain was not enough to stop or abandon the match.   Aaron Cronin and Josh Bradford got their side away to a sound start. Bradford who scored 52 against the Coyotes in round three was again in fine touch top scoring with 63. Bradford and Cronin’s opening partnership of 49 laid the foundation for a decent score. Cronin scored 11. Bradford’s knock was made from 76 balls and included six fours. Towards the end of their innings Max Tiernan made a breezy 23 not out.

At the completion of their 40 overs, the Central Hotel had amassed a formable total of 8/138.    With 20 overs constituting a match, [which is the normal drinks break], the Crusaders knew they had be better than 3.45 runs an over should the match be abandoned.     At the drinks break, the Crusaders were ahead on the run rate, but they had a bit of work to do with their score at 5/74.   Batting in the unfamiliar position at number seven, Darren Connell showed his class. Connell along with son Ryan added 33 runs for the fifth wicket with Ryan making 16. There was a bit of clutter of wickets with the loss of David Garness for 2 and Corey Gale for 1.

The match was wide open the score at 8/109. Coming to the wicket for his first bat for the season was Kanishka Hettiarachchi. The pair added the 30 runs required with Kanishka remaining 8 not out.   Needing two runs to win, Connell leg glanced and ran two which brought up his 50. Connell’s classy innings was scored from 63 balls.   The Crusaders won the match in the 35th over finishing with 8/139.

Bowling honours were shared by the Central Hotel. Lachlan Webb captured 3/27 and Zac Oliver 3/33.   Well done to both sides and umpire Dennis Elphick for their keenness to play the game and keep the match moving, especially towards the end of the match when the light faded.   The match finished at 6.20pm.   Cricket was the winner.    This match at Albert Park was the only game to go ahead across both competitions as all three B grade matches were abandoned. The Crusaders, who are the defending premiers, remain undefeated.

Ladder after round five  31 – Come Alive Fitness Crusaders 27- Young Services Blues 27- Australian Hotel Coyotes 25- Burrangong Bears 23- Central Hotel 23- Shamrock Hotel 18- Temora Ex-Services Renegades   Draw for round six  Shamrock Hotel vs Burrangong Bears at Nixon Park one Temora Ex-services Renegades vs Central Hotel at Nixon Park two Australian Hotel Coyotes vs Come Alive Fitness Crusaders at Cranfield Oval Young Services Blues bye