WE’VE become accustomed to State of Origin heartbreak south of the border.
But on Tuesday the disappointment extended to the Bush Blues’ Australian Country Championships campaign, as NSW fell to a thrilling three-wicket loss to Queensland at Figtree Oval.
After piling on 311 to thump South Australia the previous day, NSW made a disastrous start to their innings to be 4-7, before Newcastle’s Pat Darwen scored a century to make it 8-178.
In reply, Queensland wobbled at 4-81 and again when losing 2-1 to be 7-159, until Sam Winton, who starred with the ball, taking 3-13 off eight, helped guide the Brahman Bulls to victory with 19 balls to spare.
The defeat means NSW must now beat East Asia Pacific and hope 2016 winners South Australia beat Queensland on Wednesday, to steal the trophy.
“We were a few short after being in early trouble, but Pat did an amazing job to keep us in it,” captain Peter Gallichan said.
“We’re still treating it like we can win the tournament.
“You never know, hopefully we can pick up a couple of bonus points, or South Australia can do us a favour.”
After winning the toss, Monday’s century-maker Jordan Moran was bowled for four, then Nicoll caught first ball, Kieran Gray again trapped leg before and Kaine Harmsworth also fell cheaply. Wicketkeeper Tom Groth fought gamely for 14 in a 67-run partnership, as Darwen offered NSW something to defend with a superb and gritty ton. In response, Ben O’Connell’s 43 and 54 from Sean Fitzsimmons ensured Queensland’s victory.
- AUSTRALIAN COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Wednesday (final round)
NSW v EAST ASIA PACIFIC at Keira Oval, QUEENSLAND v SOUTH AUSTRALIA at North Dalton Park, WESTERN AUSTRALIA v VICTORIA at Figtree Oval.