Magpies score vital win to boost top four hopes
Denmark have moved a step closer to securing their third finals appearance in the past six seasons after a gritty seven-wicket win over bottom side Royals in Sunday’s sole round 14 fixture, which helped the Magpies return to fourth position.
The Magpies were dislodged from the top four for less than 24 hours after their 27-run loss to fellow finals aspirant Collingwood Park on Saturday.
However, led by all-rounder Ryan Gaerth, the Magpies bounced back in winning fashion as they chased down 152 for victory at Turf East to snatch fourth spot back with four rounds of the regular season remaining.
After a wayward start with the ball, Gaerth helped stem the flow of runs and his 10-over spell that returned 1-11 was vital as the Lions finished with 9-151 from their 50 overs batting first.
A positive start from openers Cary Green and Jujhar Johal was undone when the pair departed in quick succession, but Gaerth combined with Magpies skipper Dan Robson in a 90-run stand to guide them towards their fifth one-day win of the season.
Gaerth batted beautifully, tempering aggression with patient strokes as his unbeaten half-century was the most significant innings of the entire match.
The talented sportsman finished 53 not out with only three boundaries as the Magpies passed the target in the 42nd over for the loss of three wickets.
Robson made a solid contribution with 34, while some lusty late hitting from Hayden Collard (23 not out) made sure of the result.
The Magpies qualified for finals in the Albany Cricket Association A-grade most recently in 2015-16 and before that in 2012-13, and Robson believes his side has the capabilities to reach the most important month of the season again.
“We went into the weekend hoping to get two wins but dropping one and giving Collingwood Park a chance to be part of finals was disappointing,” he said.
“Sunday was a good win.
“Gaerthy batted superbly and we had some handy partnerships.
“I’m confident with the fixtures we have to come that we can make the finals.
“Two wins would be ideal.”
The Magpies victory came without veteran Peter Ross after he was struck a nasty blow from a searing Grey delivery the previous day.
Ross went to hospital to receive stitches above his eye and missed Sunday’s win but he will be a chance to return against Manypeaks this week.
The result means the Magpies join Mt Barker and Park on five wins but with only two regular games to come.
Englishman Johal continued his impressive season on foreign soil after snaring 3-29 with the ball, among his wickets was Lions skipper Jack Hastie for a first-ball duck.
The Lions set a solid platform after winning the toss, with Digby Nuthall and import Shameer Ahmed sharing a 52-run opening partnership.
Gaerth removed Nuthall on 20 and Ahmed was run out on 33 before brothers Tom (26) and Matt Wolfe (23) came together to steady the innings.
It was a fourth-straight loss for the Lions, who can mathematically still reach the finals but would need some big results and for things to fall their way.
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