Dapto nearing top form as Illawarra cricket enters run to finals

Evenly poised: Balgownie's match with Keira hangs in the balance following the first day of play. Picture: Georgia Matts.
Evenly poised: Balgownie's match with Keira hangs in the balance following the first day of play. Picture: Georgia Matts.

Dapto captain Richard Marsh is hoping Saturday’s dominant performance is a sign of things to come as the Illawarra cricket season enters the run to the finals. 

The Canaries made a slow start to the season, winning just two games before the Christmas break. However, with a number of players returning from injury, the team has steadily improved throughout the past month. 

“We’ve had a few injuries and a few setbacks,” Marsh said. “But now we’ve got our full bowling quartet back, with Dale Scifleet being able to bowl. Hopefully we have an easier run to semis and we can string a few wins together.”

After seeing Wollongong race away to 0/52 on Saturday, a Scifleet wicket swung the game in Dapto’s favour. Wollongong were bowled out for 106, with opener Kieran Gray top scoring with 27 runs. Shannon Bonnie starred with the ball, picking up 4/25. Dapto finished the day’s play at 2/55.

“Consistency was the key for us,” Marsh said. “Wollongong are a team that can get away from you, as they did in those first 10 overs. So we tried to bore them out, bowl in good areas and let them get themselves out.”

“I was pretty happy with the way we batted as well. I pretty much read the riot act to the guys before the game. We’ve under-performed with the bat this season, a couple of guys have got a few runs but the rest of us have been under what we need to be. The bowlers have been doing a good job, but the batters haven’t backed it up.”

While Dapto are hoping to climb the ladder with a win over Wollongong, competition leaders Keira are looking to maintain their lead against Balgownie.

After winning the toss and choosing to bowl, Balgownie captain Jamie Fleming’s decision immediately paid dividends, with opener Thomas Davey removed for one. Keira slumped to 7/99 before captain Kyle Connor rescued the team with a brilliant 99 not out as he guided the side to 263. Fleming finished with 6/65.

Northern Districts captain Jackson Stewart also won the toss and chose to field in his team’s match with Corrimal. After a slow start, the Butchers ultimately took the honours on the first day of play.

Corrimal opener Thomas McDevitt laid the platform for a big first-innings total, however the match turned when he was removed by Ben Davis for 97.

The Cougars collapsed from 2/135 at the time of McDevitt’s dismissal to be all out for 231, with bowler Stephen Bond taking five wickets. Stumps was called following the completion of Corrimal’s innings.

A Mitch McCrae century led Helensburgh to 237 against University, who are 0/0 at stumps. McCrae said his team would have liked a few more runs, but he remains confident the bowlers will be able to secure first innings points next Saturday.

After bowling Port Kembla out for 193, Wests were reduced to 4/35 at stumps. 

  • Sunday’s Twenty20 semi-finals were postponed due to an appeal lodged by Wollongong over the use of ineligible players earlier in the season. The appeal is yet to be resolved.

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