SOUTH Launceston bowled itself into a good position on a rain-disrupted first day's play in the NTCA grand final yesterday.
The Knights went into the season-decider at the NTCA No.1 Ground as underdogs but performed well with the ball to have reigning premier Westbury in trouble at 5-83, when rain forced players from the field about half an hour into the second session.
No further play was possible, with stumps called about 5pm.
Shamrocks batsman Wes Ripper will resume this morning on the second day on 12 not out, with John Kedey 7 not out.
Westbury won the toss and chose to bat but was in early trouble when Josh Adams was caught in the slips off Kyle Bowie in the second over leaving the Shamrocks 1-0.
Sean Stevenson and captain Dane Anderson saw them through the rest of the first hour unscathed taking the score to 1-52, but Bowie struck the crucial blow in the 16th over for South when he claimed the all-important wicket of Anderson after he played a delivery onto his stumps and was dismissed for 36.
Stevenson was then caught at mid-on off Mark Stewart for 22 soon after to make it 3-61.
Bowie and Stewart bowled tightly in an impressive, combined unchanged opening spell of 26 overs and kept the pressure on the Shamrocks batsmen throughout.
Graham Donaldson and Jeremy Jackson were introduced into the attack just short of lunch with Westbury going to the break at 3-70.
Donaldson struck immediately after lunch when he had Matthew Battle caught in the slips and followed the very next ball with an lbw decision to dismiss Paul Claxton for a duck.
Westbury was in trouble at 5-70, John Kedey surviving an lbw decision on the hat-trick ball.
South wicketkeeper Nathan Philip missed a stumping chance on Kedey in Jeremy Jackson's next over and the Shamrocks batsmen had struggled to 5-83, off 36.4 overs, when the rain came.
Donaldson finished with the impressive figures of 2-9, off his 5.4 overs.
Bowie took 2-33 as reward for his hard work and Stewart 1-32.
``We're fairly happy with where we're at but we are by no means comfortable at this stage,'' South Launceston coach Ben Austen said.
``We've still got another five wickets to go before we bat and we can't allow any partnerships to grow in the next five wickets.
``We were rapt with our bowling performance and the guys responded by backing up from last week.
``We had our plans and we have achieved those so far but we're only a third of the way through this game so there is still a lot of cricket to go.''
Westbury coach Adrian Tudor said he was disappointed with the Shamrocks' batting performance so far.
``It wasn't a great day for us and the honours definitely go to South Launceston for the first day,'' he said.
``We're looking forward to the second day and we have two very good batsmen at the crease and we have a tail that we're reasonably confident has runs in it so all is not lost.
``We're looking still to add a substantial amount of runs, there is plenty of play left in the game and as a collective group we think we can still post a competitive total.''