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Evans, Oakley impress but Hamilton takes the win

A REPRESENTATIVE team from the Portland and District Cricket Association hit the road on Sunday destined for Monivae College and an intertown clash with the Hamilton District Cricket Association.

The 50-over one-day contest, played as a part of a regional Festival of Cricket between associations in Portland, Hamilton, Warrnambool and Grassmere, began with the toss – won by Hamilton captain Mitch Lang who sent his team out to bat.

While first drop Lang (2) and opening batsman Lachie Field (3) were removed with little resistance in a positive start for Portland, Brendan Huf and Tobi Cook worked hard in the opening two hours of the match to put a win out of reach from the travelling team.

After slipping to 2-10, Hamilton then put on 190 runs for the third wicket.

Huf cruised to 128 runs from 148 deliveries, hitting 11 fours along the way, while Cook reached 88 before being dismissed. Hamilton’s innings ended at 6-268.

Captain Will Oakley was the pick of the bowlers for Portland, taking 3-44 from his seven overs and also snagging the catch that dismissed Cook.

Oakley said despite conceding a sizable score, he felt everyone who bowled in the opening innings found a way to contribute.

“I thought our bowling was good, the wicket was extremely batting friendly,” he said.

“In general I thought everyone who bowled, bowled good areas and certainly didn’t give away too many bad balls.

“Hamilton’s score was big, but certainly on a ground that was quick and on that wicket it was probably a par score when a team is batting first.

“Brendan Huf was exceptional, he didn’t give us a chance and played a class innings.”

Portland’s run chase then got off to a nightmare start with instant loss of Paul Procter, removed without a score facing his first delivery.

Procter was quickly followed by first drop Lachie Warburton (4) who hit his first boundary and was dismissed two deliveries later.

The loss of Warburton introduced Luke Evans to pitch and in spirited attack on the contest, he worked his way to a team-high score of 56 runs.

Evans faced 106 deliveries for his half century and hit just one boundary, arriving with his team’s score at 2-4 and leaving at a greatly improved 7-123.

Evans was supported along the way by Glenn Hollis (13) and Jake Cowie (23) in brief supporting roles.

Portland was given one last highlight in the final overs by Oakley, reaching an unbeaten 14 before Portland was dismissed in the 45th over for 143 runs.

Oakley said he hoped everyone in Portland’s squad learned from watching Evans in action on Sunday.

“After losing early wickets, Bomber (Luke Evans) played a really calm and collected innings,” Oakley said.

“It certainly involved some classy stroke play. It was a really solid innings, particularly coming in when we’d lost two wickets and scored four runs in the first 12 balls of the match.

“Overall I was happy with the batting performance.

“Bomber’s half century was an obvious highlight, but I was also really happy for Jake Cowie too – he put together a very good innings.”

Losing is rarely, if ever, enjoyable, but putting aside club rivalries and making the trip to Hamilton together as a team was well worth the journey and Oakley said he hoped everyone who took part in the match will have learned something they could bring back to club cricket.

“The team was a battle to get together at short notice and we had three changes on Saturday night with a few blokes pulling out,” he said.

“We had a very young line-up – only two players who played on Sunday were older than 22-years-old.

“After fielding for 50 overs in pretty warm conditions, then going out to bat, it was always going to be a tough chase.

“So all in all, I was happy that we posted the score we did.

“I was really impressed, particularly with the young guys, their energy in the field and overall attitudes were fantastic. It was a really good experience for them to have a taste of senior representative cricket.”

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