South Launceston on winning course 

SOUTH Launceston was in a strong position to take first innings points after the first day's play in the two-day NTCA fixture against Launceston at the NTCA No. 1 Ground yesterday.

The Lions won the toss and batted first on what proved to be a tricky wicket, and after making a good start at 1-43  they collapsed to be all out for 123  off 51.2 overs.

Jade Selby top-scored with 30.  Captain Rowan Smith made 24 and Hayden Fenton 19.

The Knights attack shared the wickets, with Jack Young, Ben Austen and Warwick Johnson picking up three each.

South then took to the crease and batted for a session and about 45 minutes to be 5-116  in reply at stumps.

Nathan Philip top-scored with 31. Chris Hay made 27 and Mark Nutting 23.

Lions captain Rowan Smith and Ross Clayton picked up two wickets apiece.

``It was a bit of a lively wicket with a bit of moisture in it,'' South Launceston coach Ben Austen said.

``We kept the ball in good condition and there was a bit of swing and seam.

``They got off to a good solid start and we were able to pull them back in the middle overs.

``The good thing for us was that   when we got on top we were able to keep applying good pressure with the ball, which is an area we've been a bit guilty of dropping off a little bit in a few games, expecting wickets to happen instead of taking the full 10.''

Austen said the Knights bowlers worked well as a unit in what he described as a ``good group effort''.

``There were no real standouts,  just a good solid effort from all the boys,'' he said.

His side had  lost a couple  more wickets than it would have liked in its stint at the crease but was hopeful that not-out batsmen Johnson and Sean Harris could push on in a partnership.

``For us it is not just about getting first innings points next week but also the bonus points available for the first innings,'' he said.

``Every run for us next weekend counts for points, so we will certainly be looking at batting for as long as we can next week and to accumulate as many runs as we can.''

WESTBURY went on a run spree against George Town at Crothers Oval led by an excellent century of 168 not out by Richard Howe.

Batting at No. 7, Howe hit 27 fours and a six  off 131 balls   in 167 minutes in an outstanding knock.

The Shamrocks made it a long day in the field for the Saints, finishing at 9-445 at stumps.

Kieran Hume made 73, Jackson Blair 47 and Michael Lukic 42.

Hamish Jones was the best of the George Town bowlers, picking up  4-93  from 24 overs.

``We bowled well up to lunch and Westbury were 2-70,'' George Town president Bob Pooley said.

``We had them 3-70 and then there was a big partnership of about 90 between Josh Adams and Hume.

``The wicket flattened out after lunch and it was a fast outfield.

``Richard Howe had one life but he batted superbly for his 168 and apparently it was his first hundred.

``At tea time they were 6-208, so they put on 230-odd runs between tea and stumps.''

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