South in box seat for final

HOWZAT: Knights bowler Josh Freestone appeals for one of his three wickets on day one.
HOWZAT: Knights bowler Josh Freestone appeals for one of his three wickets on day one.

South Launceston’s bowling attack have ripped through Riverside’s batting line-up to all but guarantee them of a berth in next week’s Cricket North first grade grand final against Westbury.

The Blues won the toss and decided to bat but would have been left to rue that decision as they were knocked over for 72, off 42.5 overs.

They were in trouble from the outset losing opener Tom Garwood for a duck off the second ball to be 1-0 and then 2-1 when Josh Partridge followed soon after for the same score in the second over.

IN THE ZONE: South skipper Alec Smith prepares to bowl in the Cricket North preliminary final against Riverside at NTCA Ground No.2 on Saturday. Pictures: Scott Gelston

IN THE ZONE: South skipper Alec Smith prepares to bowl in the Cricket North preliminary final against Riverside at NTCA Ground No.2 on Saturday. Pictures: Scott Gelston

When Pete New went for three in the fifth over they were 3-7 and wickets continued to tumble.

YES: Riverside batsman Ramesh Sundra takes off for a much-needed run.

YES: Riverside batsman Ramesh Sundra takes off for a much-needed run.

Ollie Wood top scored for Riverside making 28 but was the only batsman to reach double figures in a dismal scorecard for the Blues.

South’s bowlers shared the wickets with James Beattie taking 3-10 off 8.5 overs with five maidens, Josh Freestone 3-10, off 10 with four maidens and Casey Young 3-13, off his 11 overs with four maidens.

In reply, the Knights finished the day at 5-125, in a strong position having claimed first innings points and a lead of 53 runs with five wickets in hand.

SIGNAL: South Launceston wicket-keeper Charlie Eastoe mid over.

SIGNAL: South Launceston wicket-keeper Charlie Eastoe mid over.

Jack Williams took 2-18 off his 12 overs of leg spin, Lyndon Stubbs 2-20 off 11 and captain Alex Saunders 1-7 off six.

“At the start of the day we would have definitely liked to be in the position we’re in at the moment,” South coach Mark Nutting said.

“Losing the toss – we were going to win the toss and bat but with those guys batting first on a fairly good wicket our bowlers did the job early for us which was great.

“We thought if we could restrict Riverside to anything under 200 at the start of the day that would be great but credit to our bowlers who bowled good areas and were able to move the ball around as well.”

WATCHFUL: Blues batsman Jack Williams keeps an eye on the ball running between wickets.

WATCHFUL: Blues batsman Jack Williams keeps an eye on the ball running between wickets.

Nutting praised the efforts of his trio of wicket-takers for executing the plans they had been working on and their captain Alec Smith who led from the front and top scored with 69 not out.

“It is always hard chasing those low scores so we were always a little cautious and we did lose a couple of wickets early but Alec stood up and played a captain’s knock so far.

EFFORT: South bowler Jack Young following through after sending one down.

EFFORT: South bowler Jack Young following through after sending one down.

“Hopefully he can continue on tomorrow with that – ideally we’d rather be three down than five but we are ahead of the game at the moment so session one tomorrow is very important to us to play very well with the bat.”

Nutting said the Knights goal on day 2 was to bat for as long as they can and score as many runs as possible.

“It makes it harder for Riverside to make a game of it from their point of view if we’re out there batting whether batting time or scoring runs.”

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