Cricket: Albion on top against Kookaburras

Albion produced what captain Andy Mack labelled one of the best bowling and fielding displays he’s seen from his side to suffocate Kookaburras and take a stranglehold on their clash at Wolseley Oval.

Albion already have first innings points wrapped up and will take a 13 run lead into the second day after rolling Kookaburras for just 53 and reaching 3-66 at stumps, with Mack unbeaten on 43 and Hayden Baker one.

Needing early wickets, James McGowan obliged for Kookaburras picking up Muthusamy Karthikeyan in the first over and then Andrew Wright in the fifth but Mack and Brad Jenkinson (9) quickly quashed the flicker of hope those breakthroughs had provided.

“We’ve got the game under our control now,” Mack said.

Much of the responsibility for that belongs to the bowlers, and their consistent line and length bowling.

“They (Kookaburras) had batted quite well the week before against Court House.

“I said to our guys make sure we’re switched on for the full duration of their innings,” Mack said.

James McGowab gave Kookaburras early hope.

James McGowab gave Kookaburras early hope.

Jenkinson and Luke Ryan set the tone with strangling spells. Jenkinson conceded just six runs in his first spell and Ryan 12 as Kookaburras limped to 1-18 at the first drinks break (17 overs).

There was little reprieve when they handed the ball over, with Hayden Baker and Nathan Millar picking up where they left off.

Playing just his second game for the club and replacing Jenkinson, who finished with 0-6 from his 15 after bowling six consecutive maidens in his second spell, Millar struck with just his fifth delivery of the game and bowled four maidens on his way to 3-8.

“He’s a new recruit come to town,” Mack said.

“He knew one of our second graders and he steered him towards us.”

“Straight away you could see he was a guy with first grade capabilities and he’s proven that in spades.”

“He just bowls a heavy ball, and does a little bit with it. It’s not easy as a batsmen to face him.”

Taking over from Ryan, Baker similarly bowled ‘stump to stump’ and claimed the valuable scalp of opener Cameron Milne, who was Kookaburras’ top-scorer with 18. Captain Shane Riordan (12) was the only other batsman to make double figures as Ryan (3-14), Will Maggs (2-12) and Jamie Eveleigh (1-5) ended their dogged resistance.

While they didn’t have a lot to show for it, Kookaburras stuck it out for 54 overs.

The bowlers were well backed up in the field. Mack could only recall one dropped chance.

They were also effective at cutting twos down to ones.

After a relentless effort with the ball Brad Jenkinson helped Albion polish off the required runs to claim first innings points.

After a relentless effort with the ball Brad Jenkinson helped Albion polish off the required runs to claim first innings points.

Kookaburras skipper Shane Riordan said it was a good learning experience for his young batsmen with the field “very slow” and the Albion bowlers giving them little to work with.

“It was hard work,” he said.

“They bowled well and we’ve got batsmen who are still learning the game.”

He said they are improving all the time in their bowling and fielding, and was really happy with the way they didn’t lose heart in the field.

“They kept trying,” he said.

Even when it seemed luck wasn’t on their side.

They had a couple of lbw shouts on Mack turned down, one straight off which Riordan said would have been good.

On another occasion he nicked one just over the top of first and second slip.