An electrifying 70 runs off 35 balls by Bowral’s Cameron Belshaw laid the platform for the most amazing comeback of the season in the top of the table clash with Mittagong at Bradman Oval on Saturday.
With a one day grand final berth on the line, Belshaw’s heroic knock that included a single over of 32 turned the match on its head and gave the home side a most unlikely victory.
Chasing a formidable 219 off 40 overs, Bowral got off to a disastrous start losing the normally reliable trio of Nathan Bradbury, Paul Hodges and Stuart McPherson cheaply.
But a solid partnership by Scott Manley, 31, and Shaun Lendrum, 39, steadied the ship for Bowral and their dismissals brought 16 year old Evan McCarthy and Cameron Belshaw to the crease with the required run rate still above ten an over.
What followed was an old-fashioned slogfest as Belshaw ripped the Mittagong attack apart at the seams hammering four sixes and two fours off a single over.
Ably assisted by a more controlled McCarthy, the duo averaged nearly 20 runs per over for four overs and in the process gave their side the upper hand bringing the run rate down from above ten to three in less than half an hour.
“They went from struggling themselves to us struggling in three overs,” Mittagong captain Greg Duffy lamented.
“But it was just a terrific game of cricket and was played in a great spirit.
“Cam Belshaw batted out of his skin and hit absolutely everything off the middle.
“But we’re not too disappointed and when you play well and get beaten it’s never too bad.
“The boys fought to the end and I’m thrilled with how we played considering the team had the guts ripped out of it.”
The win sets up a repeat of last weeks tied match against Moss Vale for the one day crown to be played at Bradman on Saturday.
But the game was nearly dead and buried and it was sheer determination that got the home side through according to captain Wayne Hall.
“At one point I thought we were gone but I just said to the boys forget about it and just get runs,” he said.
“Belshaw was amazing and all of a sudden we were back on track.
“A lot of the guys that normally fired didn’t but the good thing is that there is always someone to step up to the mark.
“I thought Dan Babula bowled particularly well and young Evan McCarthy did well too.”
But it was the mercurial Belshaw that stole the show and his rapid-fire innings had the vocal crowd on the edge of their seats.
Despite having a hot and cold season with the bat, there is no doubting Belshaw is one of the most authoritative stroke players in the competition on his day.
The benign wicket coupled with the lightning outfield made the wicket a batsman’s paradise with plenty of boundaries the order of the day.
Josh Racklyeft, Justin Bradbury and Greg Duffy all scored runs for Mittagong but it was the absence of a genuine strike bowler that ultimately cost the defending premiers with only Farrance and Fernance making any real impact.
Duffy’s policy of blooding young players again reaped dividends with Stephen Fairburn, Ian Downey and Jaime Donaldson all playing well.
In other matches, Moss Vale had little more than a training run when they disposed of a nine man Exeter team at Welby.
Chasing 3/218, Exeter was bailed out for 102 and will need a miracle to turn an ordinary season into a finals berth.
Terry Woods and Hutton again played solidly for Exeter with Graeme O’Donnell, Andrew Canestrani and Matt Heyhorn making the majority of the runs for Moss Vale.
Scott Shepherd continued his excellent recent form taking a brilliant 6/20 off his seven overs.
At Chater, Wingello continued their good recent form beating the Blues in a tight encounter.
The way the season is shaping up, these two sides may be the ones fighting for one finals position and if Saturday’s clash was any indication, the Blues may be in trouble.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.