The Dolphins 2nds had a resounding win on Sunday, November 24, capitalising on good conditions for the bat and ball on their home turf.
Local curator Rob Withers and new helper, Warwick Chapman, have done a superb job in working with local council staff to see the wicket square improve in the trying conditions.
The Dolphins batted first and made the most of their 40 overs, with a number of batsmen knuckling down to grind out an innings or hit the loose ball as able, even though there were only two dominant scores.
Skipper Ryan Clark was superb in batting 99no in a near run-a-ball innings, with his running between wickets a feature.
He is a talent and will be looking to maintain his form and discipline as he leads his young squad throughout the year.
He was in at 1/34 and maintained focus, first in a big partnership with the talented Liam Simpson (46 off 40), while youngster Drew Townsend (16 off 33) assisted, along with a run-a-ball 16 from the free-scoring Adam Lewis which saw a very good 7/246 achieved.
The bowling group then had their turn on a wicket which had something for the bowlers who bent their back and bowled at the stumps.
Openers Dave Balaam and Jack Howard reveled early and both snared immediate wickets to have the Bushrangers at 2/0, before Balaam grabbed a second to have them in trouble at 3/14.
When their skipper Harry Clark was out for 21, the visitors' wickets started to tumble in a steady stream as all the home sides bowlers found form.
Only J Cornelius (24) was able to hold out for a while before being stumped by Lachie Monks off the day's chief destroyer in Blake Clark (4/14), following his brother's lead in taking it to the opposition.
It was a big day out for namesakes as young leggy, Will Clark (no relation), also bowled very well to take 3/18.
Balaam (2/16) and Howard (1/19) were not required for a second spell and the Bushrangers were arrested at all out for 78 in only the 23rd over.
Their well-known fast scoring rate may have to be added to with some more stringent application as they have had a couple of short innings since pasting the Dolphins at home in Round 1.
But their talent should come through and they will be keen, like all clubs, to have the comp continue, drought conditions allowing, as the season unfolds.
The Great lakes 3rds had a fine afternoon with the bat as well and posted what many thought was a match-winning score of 179 at Lake Street.
Skipper Mick Adams did well for 24 before last game centurion Joel Elliott had to cobble together the innings after a stream of wickets at various interludes affected the score.
He batted well again and showed form can last to add a neat 70 to his season tally.
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Lower order support from brother Will (22) and a swashbuckling 17 from Tim Steinmetz gave some hope of a win but it was not to be.
The Old Bar Harrington bats showed they were up to it and C Harper (82no) opening played a skipper's knock to guide his side to a win in the 38th over.
He was well supported by A Murray (36) and S O'Brien (35) as all of the Dolphins bowlers had a go but couldn't get on top.
Will Elliott (2/29 off 8) and Warwick Chapman (1/22 off 8) showed some form and held the opposition to a decent run rate whilst other bowlers weren't able to shackle them and dropped chances and a generally lax fielding effort was reported.
Manning Comp officials are in discussion with Mid Coast Council as everyone tries to manage the crippling drought, and while cricket is important to many, the overall community matters more vital and sensible decisions will be at the fore to look after the local facilities.
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