The ACT Comets had a rapid reminder of what the next step will look like, going down to Western Australian by an innings and 188 runs at the WACA Ground in Perth, in their return to the Toyota 2nd XI Competition this week.
After a tough couple of days to begin, a much-improved performance from the Comets on Day three saw some useful contributions with the bat, followed by a solid partnership from two of the more consistent players in ACT Premier Cricket over the last few seasons.
Resuming their second innings on Day 3 at 0/18 after being asked to follow on the evening before, the Comets top order all got starts, before Tyler van Luin (69) and Scott Murn (90) added 113 for the fifth wicket.
It was important time in middle for both players against a state bowling attack, with Murn agonisingly falling ten short of a maiden century on his ACT debut.
Their partnership would prove the final resistance against the WA attack however, with Murn the second in a 5/36 collapse that saw the Comets bowled out for 283 after Tea on the third day.
The ACT sent WA in on Day 1 and could only watch on as the home side reached 4/391 by Stumps, and though the WACA is supposed to be the domain of fast bowlers, it was legspinner Kai Brunker, fellow legspinner Blake Faunce, and the part-time spin of Nic Broes who picked up the first three wickets.
Western Australia kept batting on Day 2 and kept piling on the runs, with Jayden Goodwin – son of former Zimbabwean international and Western Australian batter Murray Goodwin – finishing with 152 not out for the home side, before WA declared at 7/608 during the afternoon session.
Queensland-based ACT Origin fast bowler Benji Floros and Faunce both picked up two wickets in the WA innings.
An already difficult task was made even harder when the ACT top order collapsed in reply, slumping to 5/37. Murn (36) and NSW-based Origin player and Comets captain Hanno Jacobs (22) added 52 for the sixth wicket, but the Comets lost their last 4/36 to be all out for 137 in the first innings.
In all, eight players made their senior ACT debuts in the game, seven of them playing at 2nd XI level for the first time as well. The match forming a strong learning experience for the squad.
The Comets will now turn their attention to a first ACT home game in nearly a decade, when they host South Australia at EPC Solar Park in Phillip from Monday, 20 November.
Article by Brett McKay
Image: Allrounder Scott Murn (left) and Captain Hanno Jacobs. Courtesy WA Cricket.