Having surpassed Tuggeranong’s first-innings total of 136, combined with a hat-trick to Weston Creek Molonglo captain John Rogers, has seen the visitors take the upper hand in the McDonald’s ACT Premier Cricket Douglas Cup grand final. In search of a defendable total, Tuggeranong reached stumps at 7/259 and whether the Vikings declare overnight or come out firing the blade tomorrow morning remains an unknown.
Creek started the day with Sam Taylor and Corey Ryan in the middle in pursuit of 18 runs to secure a first-innings lead. Taylor was measured in his approach early, shouldering arms with assuredness before stealing a single off the final ball of the first over. He then crunched a six over long-off in the next over, the first of four boundaries he struck today en route to 82 off 106 balls. Taylor was ably supported by number nine batsman Corey Ryan, as the two zeroed in on Tuggeranong’s first-innings total of 136.
The 55-run stand was brought to an end when Ryan attempted to hook a Benji Floros short-ball, scooping it to Kevin Chapman at square-leg.
Taylor’s wicket then fell in topsy-turvy scenes, Justin Haywood taking a catch at first-slip off the bowling of Johnathan Whiteoak after grassing a difficult chance two balls earlier. The ball in between saw Taylor plunder a cover-drive for four. Tuggeranong took the final wicket moments later, bringing Creek to the crease for its second innings.
Opening batsmen Tim Floros and Kevin Chapman survived a five-over period before lunch, reaching the break at 0/22. Having to navigate through five overs before a break often proves a tricky period, but Floros and Chapman looked intent on playing their shots. The pair piled on another 56 runs after lunch to post a first-wicket partnership of 78, the first wicket falling when right-arm quick Joe Slater rattled Floros’ stumps.
That brought first-drop Michael Barrington-Smith to the middle, the right-hander combining with Chapman for a 51-run partnership.
The hosts had climbed to a lead of 93 before Rogers’ hat-trick saw Tuggeranong plummet from 1/129 to 4/134. Chapman became the first to fall when he miss-timed a full delivery, scooping the ball to Harry Medhurst at cover. His aggressive innings, stamped with five fours, was brought to an end on 65 off 89 deliveries. Tuggeranong’s rock, Barrington-Smith (25), was the next batsman to be removed when he spooned the ball into the hands of Josh Myburgh at mid-wicket on the first ball of Rogers’ next over. The skipper completed the hat-trick with the wicket of Vane-Tempest, lunging low in his follow-through to pluck the ball from above his bootlace in the shadows of the tea-time break.
No time is a good time to be on the wrong end of a hat-trick, but tea gave Tuggeranong a chance to regroup in the face of Creek’s staggering swing of momentum. Resuming after the break at 4/138 with a lead of 102, captain Shane Devoy and number six batsman Eric Witheridge combined for a crucial 60-run stand. Devoy raced to 46 off 51 in a knock streaked with five fours. Two of his boundaries came off consecutive balls early in his innings, the first a lofted drive over cover and the second an exquisite off-drive along the carpet.
Creek saw the back of Devoy when he attempted to run a deft late-cut through third-man, feathering the ball through to Dean behind the stumps. Witheridge was the next to depart when he slashed at a ball through cover, a nippy Joe Slater delivery beating the bat and bulldozing his stumps.
Tuggeranong’s lead had climbed to 180 when Adam Ritchard took stance, the right-arm quick compiling a 36-run stand with Haywood before falling for 18.
Haywood (31) and Benji Floros (3) are the not-out batsmen overnight.