Impressive ACA fall just short
Albany Cricket Association have fallen just short in the opening round of the 2019 Belt Up Country Cup against WA Invitational XI.
Albany went into the clash with an undermanned team but nearly pulled off a remarkable upset.
The ACA made 165 batting first, a target that was tough to chase down for their opponents, who thanks to a brilliant batting cameo from former Whaler Julian Crudeli, got home with 19 balls to spare and only two wickets in hand.
Albany captain Mitch Green won the toss and elected to bat first on the turf at the newly refurbished Pingelly sports centre.
Openers Coen Marwick and Green were unable to get used to the conditions in the first three overs, only managing to score four runs.
Green and Marwick quickly built their opening partnership, scoring 26 off the next four overs.
Marwick was trapped in front by Daniel Gollan for 7, leaving Albany 1-43 after 11 overs.
Green continued to press on as he posted a half century in the 18th over.
Aidan Dalllimore was removed for 11, bringing Nathan Crudeli to the crease at 2-82 at the midway point.
Damian Burrage hit Nathan Crudeli on the pads to send him back to the pavilion before Nathan Dovey lasted just seven balls skying a high ball.
Green had moved his way into the 90s and with another century this season in on the horizon, Burrage did the damage again taking the key wicket, leaving Green seven short of triple figures.
Green hit eight fours and two sixes in his impressive knock of 93.
With Green dismissed, Albany were left at 5-140 after 41 overs but no other batsmen could get going away as the last four wickets fell for just 20 runs, with Sam Want, for the second day in a row, not managing to trouble the scorers along with Seb Stanton and Noah Middleton.
Albany went into the clash with only four recognised bowlers and no spinner, so they had a big task in front of them.
Nathan Crudeli got ACA off to a flying start, removing Perrin Quartermaine, Damian Burrage and Aaron Burrage in the first five overs to have WA Invitational XI in early trouble at 3-13.
Seamer Coen Marwick trapped Troyden Thorp on the crease for a duck to continue the early dominance for the Whalers, as their opponents slumped to 4-20.
Julian Crudeli came to the crease at 2-12 and while batsmen fell around him, he was not going to let his former association beat him.
Wicketkeeper Lincoln Joy and Julian Crudeli put on 54-run partnership to get their side back into the contest.
Batchelor picked up Joy for 24 and then when Nathan Crudeli claimed his fourth the next over, the game swung back into Albany’s favour with WA Invitational XI at 6-77.
Batchelor picked up his second wicket catching Lewis Parsons off his own bowling to have them 7-98 off 30 overs.
Julian Crudeli, however, continued to be the man controlling the innings. He posted a half century as some lusty hitting from Grady Francis pushed their side closer to victory.
Francis, picked for his bowling, showed why he bats up the order for his local club Cuballing in the Upper Great Southern Cricket Association.
His 27 from only 11 balls put his side in the box seat.
Batchelor claimed Francis as his third scalp with the score at 8-145 with 10 overs remaining.
Needing another 22 runs to win and with two wickets in hand, the game was up for grabs but a cool head from Julian Crudeli got the WA Invitational XI over the line with 19 balls to spare. Julian Crudeli finished on 79 not out while Francis (27) and Joy (24) were also impressive with the bat.
Nathan Crudeli was clearly Albany’s most damaging bowler with 4-26 off his 10 overs while Batchelor took 3-35.
ACA captain Mitch Green said his side held their own.
“I’m proud of the way the boys played,” he said. “We gave ourselves a good chance with the bat. I think we built a good platform to launch.
“They bowled well at the death and restricted us in the final 10 overs — 20 or 30 more with the bat would have been nice.
“Some very promising signs from Noah Middleton and Ted Batchelor with the ball. They more than held their own.”
Green said Albany had a big fixture coming up this weekend.
“Big game against Bunbury this week — they are a strong and proud association, so we will need to be at our best,” he said.
“We hope to be near full strength.”
WA Invitational XI coach Tim Edmunds said his side had to work hard for the win.
“It was a tough grind and pleased to get through in the end after it looked less likely at the start of the run chase.
“Our plan at the start of the competition was we wanted to give opportunities to young players in the UGSCA, especially in this match.
“I was pleased they were able to play some important roles. There is certainly some talent in this region and they will be part of the WA Country colts squad in December, too.
“Julian Crudeli’s innings was very impressive, too. He led the side extremely well and it showed we were prepared and planned well for the match”.
The Albany side impressed Edmunds.
“They have some very classy players and two of them nearly took the game away from us,” he said.
“Mitch Green’s innings was very classy what you would expect from him and Nathan Crudeli was impressive with the ball and put us on the back foot.
“In the end, their lack of preparation probably hurt them”.
Albany must rebound quickly as they face Bunbury and Districts Cricket Association in a must-win game in Bunbury this Sunday.
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