Highlands Veterans Over 60s secured a thrilling last ball win against ACT in their match at Chater Oval last weekend.
In a fluctuating contest ACT made 165 from their allocated forty overs and Highlands last batsmen Peter Noble and Grant Lewis scampered through for an audacious two runs from a bye to the ‘keeper.
The visitors agreed to a split innings game and made a solid start through openers Steve Marshall and Asoka Vijaratne before Marshall, Highlands’ nemesis in last week’s state carnival final when he played for Penrith, was caught at extra cover for just 12 off the bowling of David Wells.
Tom Purcell joined Asoka and showed why he was a former Sydney 1st grader with Manly by playing some fine shots and these two looked comfortable despite good bowling from Wells and Rod van Beek.
Both Purcell and Vijaratne retired at 31 and ACT had 79 on the board at the twenty over break.
Highlands openers Ian Bradburn and Grant Lewis made a solid, circumspective start before Bradburn unfortunately had to retire at 15 with a hamstring injury.
The home side then lost their three big batting guns, Peter Jensen, van Beek and Gary Whitaker in just a few overs but thanks to Lewis’s retirement at 30 made it to 80 for the loss of 3 wickets at lunch.
The match could not have been more evenly poised when ACT resumed but skipper Murray Harrison, the Australian Over 60s captain, and Peter Hargraves batted with initiative to progress the ACT score in rapid fashion.
Both retired to give the lower order a bat and the scoring rate slowed somewhat with Peter Jensen grabbing two wickets in his spell and Whitaker bowling a tidy four overs.
After forty overs ACT finished their innings 4 down for 165, leaving Highlands with 86 to get from the remaining twenty overs.
A very good partnership ensued through Peter Noble and Chris Ford, both in their first Highlands outing of the season, and when Noble retired on 36 things were looking good for the home side.
However Purcell’s leg breaks proved hard to score from and Harrison returned to the crease to slow the momentum.
Ford was out caught and bowled by Hargraves for 36, his partner Norm Stanton was bowled in the last over for 20 and the clatter of wickets set up the last ball scenario.
By now the sleek-footed retirees, Lewis and Noble, were at the crease and scampered the winning runs on the last ball.
It was a rare win for Highlands against ACT and they will be very keen for revenge in the return match in January.
Some Highlands players will now focus on the Australian Championships being held in Penrith next week.
Highlands skipper Peter Jensen was selected in the Division 1 team. Rod van Beek, Rod Watling and Ian Bradburn will play in Division 2, while Grant Lewis will play in Division 3 and Marty Dubler in Division 2. We wish them well!