By David Nagel
Learning from past mistakes and being switched on – they’re the two basic ingredients that helped Tooradin (204) deliver an 87-run wake-up call to top-of-the-table Kooweerup (117) at Denhams Road on Saturday.
A true captain’s knock from Cal O’Hare (80), and a game-changing low-order partnership between Tyler Evans (33 not out) and Ben Parrott (27), helped the Seagulls pass the physcological 200-run barrier and set the path to victory.
It was then a matter of holding on for dear life, surviving some brutal hitting from Demons’ skipper Chris Bright (52), to make it a 50-50 split between the top two teams in the competition over the last fortnight.
O’Hare, well he was just impressed with his side’s ability to learn on the run and turn up with a winning mentality on the weekend.
“I was impressed with how much we learned from the week before, all the things we did wrong the week before, we really improved in those areas,” O’Hare said.
“Things like when we get into a partnership, to really make the most of it, and to not lose wickets in clumps like we did against Koowee last week.
“But our attitude was probably the main thing, the week before you could tell we weren’t fully switched on, but this week we were there to play and ready for the contest against one of the best teams in the competition.
“I think the attitude of the playing group was huge for us on the weekend.”
O’Hare played a cracking knock on Saturday, aggressive early before losing key partners in Tom Hussey (6), Russ Lehman (5) and Aaron Avery (7).
A 30-run stand with Brad Butler (19), and 39-run union with Josh Lownds (19), saw the skipper achieve his mission of treating every partnership like gold.
Once dismissed O’Hare sat back and watched Evans and Parrott turn the screws with a 54-run stand in the latter overs.
“That’s been part of our improvement this year, we’ve had different contributors at different stages with players like Tyler and BJ (Parrot) making runs at crucial times,” O’Hare said.
“To be able to bat deep down the list like we do is a massive advantage, especially in one day cricket where wickets can fall pretty quickly.”
And what of his own improving form…and innings on the weekend?
“I started off a bit slow this year but things are improving and I’m just taking it week by week really,” he said.
“This year we have had a lot of blokes go on and get 40-odd, but we needed someone to go on and get that 70 or 80 score.
“It was the difference the week before with (Luke) McMaster getting a big score and none of us kicking on, so it was nice to contribute that way.
“That was my role on Saturday after we lost a couple of early ones.”
Having set the Demons an intimidating total to hunt down, the Seagulls struck in the opening over with McMaster (0) being late on a pull shot and skying a Kallan Braid-Ball (3/38) delivery to Parrott behind the stumps.
McMaster found it difficult to back up his imperious innings from last week…a bit like how a pro-golfer finds it difficult to replicate a nine-under-par 63!
The Seagulls then had one major obstacle to overcome…the dangerous Bright who looked in very ominous form.
Two massive sixes off Braid-Ball, and several classy flicks and drives to the boundary, had the Gulls on the back foot for the first time in the contest.
Bright was forced to bat more circumspect after losing five partners, and eventually nicked off to Parrott off the bowling of Lehman (2/32).
O’Hare was rapt to see the back of his past Country Week teammate.
“With Wombat (Bright), I think it’s important to set fields to where he’s hitting the ball and making sure the bowlers are changing it up and making life as difficult as possible,” O’Hare said.
“That’s one of the things we’ve questioned this year, whether we’ve changed it up enough when someone is going like that. Some good players have got big scores against us this year and we need to work out a way to stop that.
“Changing pace, changing the angles, and being switched on in the field, knowing a chance is coming, is basically all you can do.”
The Seagulls were a satisfied group after the win, their depth against the Demons stood out…with the home side having a Bright-or-nothing look about it as they attempted their chase after tea.
The Demons were bowled out for just 117…in 22.1 overs!