Northsiders win over Taipans
EASTERN Taipans captain Craig Cumming had predicted the potential for a crumbling batting order, and he was partly right.
All he got wrong was which team would crumble as Northsiders took the points over the Taipans at Bruce Raleigh Oval.
Cumming claimed the Northsiders batting line-up was susceptible to pressure before the game.
They looked anything but as David Lyons (57) and Tim Clarke (76) took them to 2-170 at one point.
The Taipans fought back to end the day with Northsiders 258 all out.
The premiers couldn't match the competition leaders however, getting bowled out for 176 with the top four batsmen contributing just 17 runs between them.
Kev Cumming did the damage, claiming three wickets with the new ball as the Taipans failed to show the sort of resolve that profited Clarke so well.
It was in-form all-rounder Paul Milne who led the recovery for the Taipans, putting on 68 with Umhar Samsudeen and looking untroubled before one of the more unfortunate dismissals you'll see.
Samsudeen straight drove Northsiders' Scott McCoombes back at the bowler on the full with considerable force.
It was too hot for McCoombes and the ball flew through his hands, only for the deflection to run out Milne as the Taipans vice-captain was backing up.
Samsudeen was out shortly after and Northsiders were able to clean up the tail with no trouble.
The match represented a welcome return to form for Tigers opener Clarke, who has struggled since coming back after a year away from cricket.
"It has taken longer than I thought," Clarke said of regaining his touch.
"I felt very uncomfortable in the first few weeks.
"I just started hitting them well at training on Thursday."
Clarke found a wicket to suit him at Bruce Raleigh Oval.
"I prefer a slow deck," he said.
"There wasn't much in it for the bowlers.
"That's my game - to be patient.
"I don't have too much other than that."
Craig Cumming conceded his team lacked the patience required with the bat.
"We've just got to keep our wickets better," he said.
"Pick and choose our shots.
"It's pretty much our first hit of the season and they've been bowling well."
While pleased to find form and get the first innings win Clarke felt Northsiders were still a long way from top form.
"We're just building," he said.
"We're nowhere near where we want to be.
"You've got to slowly build every week until you're playing hard, tough, uncompromising cricket."
Nor was he under any illusions the win had given his team an edge over the premiers in the race for the Division One title.
"It's way too early," he said.
"On a hard wicket with their bowlers they'll trouble a lot of teams, including us."
While Craig Cumming was critical of his batsmen, not least himself, he was also disappointed to see catches go begging.
"We dropped Lyonsy twice early," he said.
"We've just got to keep backing each other up and we lacked a little bit of that."
In the weekend's other Division One match Central Districts (6-303 declared) claimed outright points over Swifts (112 and 84) by an innings at Mark Marsh Oval.