Park seal final spot with late heroics

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

Collingwood Park clinched the remaining place in the Albany Cricket Association A-grade finals after producing a thrilling run chase to snatch victory from Denmark in dramatic circumstances on Saturday.

The Magpies appeared on track to restrict Park, who needed 41 runs from the final five overs chasing 213 for victory, but wicketkeeper batsman Matt Heberle produced his finest innings of the season to steer his side across the line with six balls to spare.

Heberle (47 not out) and No.8 Andrew Larkins (10 not out) belted 30 runs in three overs to guide Park to a stunning win as the Magpies failed to hold their nerve in the field.

The match to decide fourth place finished in almost darkness as Heberle crunched 14 runs off the 49th over, bowled by seamer Ryan Gaerth, including three con-secutive boundaries to clinch the win.

After an impressive reply with the bat led by linchpin Nathan Dovey, Park were in a strong position at 2-105 after 25 overs.

But the key wicket of Dovey for 67 in the 35th over, caught off leg-spinner Jujhar Johal, swung the momentum towards the Magpies as Park still required 82 runs from 15 overs. Englishman Johal applied the screws to Park, conceding only 19 runs from his 10 overs and picked Dovey and Leroy van den Dool (13) in an impressive spell.

Needing 73 runs from the final 10 overs, Heberle began the rescue mission, with his match-winning 47 including four boundaries.

Park captain Tim Pyle lauded the effort of his wicketkeeper, who found timely touch with the bat at the most crucial time.

“We were certainly struggling, so to come back from where we were on such a big occasion was huge,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the Magpies slumped to 3-17 batting first with Johal (10), Cary Green (4) and captain Dan Robson (1) falling in the first 10 overs to effective duo Ben Carter (2-37) and Ricky Weight (2-22).

After handy contributions from Ryan Gaerth (23) and Hayden Collard (23), the Magpies slumped to 6-85 before a 95-run partnership from Michael Pratt and Matt Burton.

Pratt produced his highest score of the season with a timely 69, while Burton also frustrated Park with 26 before their partnership ended on 175 as the Magpies scrambled to 8-212.

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