Whorouly has always been  regarded as one of the WDCA’s, indeed the North-East’s strongest cricketing  outposts. Since 1902 the little township has produced teams that have mixed it with the best in the region.

Apart from  two seasons, 1969/70 and 2011/12, when they were just bereft of numbers, they  have managed to keep the flag flying, when  other small municipalities have found it impossible to maintain teams.

Thirteen  years ago, they changed their name to Whorouly-Gapsted, to encompass a larger part of their district.  In recent times they  imported  a couple of Sri Lankans to boost their stocks. This season they have recruited three players from Bright and a couple from Milawa. All  have proved excellent value.

The bottom-line is that  Whorouly’s pride in their status as a strong cricketing town has kept them going, even though they’re continually  fighting above their weight.

Their  final-round clash with Rovers-United was expected to be a closely-contested affair. Both teams have had their moments in 2013/14 and  the fact that the Maroons have four players in their side who have played with the Hawks, added a bit of spice to the game.

Curator Justin Kelly produced an evenly-grassed track – probably as good-looking  a wicket as we’ve seen at the  Findlay Oval for some. The ground was in beautiful nick, if a little on the slow side.

The Hawks openers  Josh Schonafinger and Callum Nankervis  got away to a slow, but steady start against some accurate bowling. The quicks were able get lift out  of the occasional delivery and this brought about the downfall of both players, as they played away from their bodies and were caught at second slip.

The two  ‘old reliables’, Jacob Schonafinger  and Simon Godfrey set about retrieving the batting team’s fortunes. Godfrey always keeps the fielders on their toes and there were quite a few  ‘oohs and ahs’ from the slips cordon. But they started to become more adventurous in their stroke play and had taken the score to 51 when ‘Godders’  tried one lofted shot too many and was on his way for 22.

‘Schona’  became the dominant figure and you had the feeling  that we may be about to witness  the big score that must surely come his way.

At 4/90 Rovers-United were still on an even keel. At a stage in the game like this, you ‘d love to have another good,solid anchor at the crease to stabilise things and guide the lower order through the difficult periods in the innings.                                                                                                                                    But, as has  happened a few times this season, a clatter of wickets sent the pendulum swinging  wildly Whorouly’s way. It became 7/96, then 8/100 when Schonafinger  returned to the pavilion after a stoic 38.

The Hawk innings was wrapped up shortly after tea for 102, with Paul Neary claiming the honours (5/27 off 11 overs). The big fellow kept tearing in and bowled a good line, as did all of the Maroons bowlers.

Whorouly  started steadily in the run-chase . Obviously  a few early wickets were required if  the home team were to fight back into the game. Godfrey claimed  Keiran Jamieson for 7, but  that was the last bit of joy for the day.

Chris Oates and Josh Newton, both ex-Hawks, got right on top and took the total to a commanding 1/80 at stumps. Oates , who has scores of 113 and 84 to his credit this season in an impressive return to A-Grade cricket, is 53 not out and Newton ,who also took 2/7, is unbeaten on 22.

Oates attacks  the bowling with reckless abandon. An occasional wild swing punctuates his innings, but when he gets away he is a difficult batsman to control. He will need to be removed early next Saturday,otherwise he could conclude 2013/14  in a blaze of glory.




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