Many magic helps premiers avoid outright loss to Sawtell
NCCC PREMIER LEAGUE : Harwood have bounced back from a horror opening day of a two-day match against Sawtell on Saturday to avoid an outright loss at Richardson Park.
The defending premiers were clean bowled for just 96 in a woeful batting display before Sawtell streamed out to a 3/87 start but some decisive bowling and a resilient batting display meant Harwood held on after a strong second innings.
Given the difficult task of halting a solid Sawtell middle order, Harwood captain Ben McMahon (3 for 36 off 12.2), Doug Harris (2 for 27 off 8) and returning star seamer Luke Many (5 for 52 off 14.0) ripped their way through the opposition to keep them to 161 all out.
From then on, the mission was to stay in at all costs and Harwood held true.
Sawtell skipper Richard Gallichan looked dangerous once again after a five-wicket haul in the opening innings, taking opening pair Matt Farrell (9) and Mark Ensbey (9) early on in the piece.
But a mammoth effort from Hayden McMahon (24 off 106 balls) to stay in for close to three hours alongside middle-order man Dylan Causley (30 not out) was enough to prevent an outright win to title hopefuls Sawtell.
Gallichan led the charge for his side with another five-wicket bag but Trent Dierick (1 for 23 off 10) was the only other wicket taker as Harwood finished on 6/96 after 50 long overs.
In the other match of the round, Northern Districts Rebels clung onto a draw against Valleys at Rowe Oval after batting for 51 overs and holding on to their last wicket to post a defiant 9/137 in reply to their opponents 7/252 (dec) last weekend.
Justin Gilbert's (107) huge total put Valleys in good stead for an outright victory but after Clarence product Luke Cox (4) was dismissed early, Rebels' middle men Ian Slapp (28) and Alex Byrne (22) dug deep to hold off any advances from Josh Bartlett (3 for 30 off 14) and Wil Thomas (3 for 16 off 8) to see the game through.
Sawtell host Valleys and Harwood go to the Rebels next weekend.