LIGHTHOUSE Oval’s groundsman, Eric Bell, was making no apologies for a pitch that produced 289 entertaining runs last Saturday afternoon in the one-day first grade cricket match between Ulladulla and joint competition leaders Nowra.
United skipper Harley Bell got a long head start on Nowra captain Jason Bell by winning the toss. But opener Aaron Wester departed cheaply after being snared at second slip for one, then popular British all-rounder Georgie Walker followed briefly afterwards for six after spooning a catch to square leg as United staggered to 2 for 15 after only 10 overs.
First-drop Harley Bell then joined 22-year-old Sammy Lee and between the wily veteran and the youngster, the pair quickly got into stride.
By the time the drinks tray arrived after 21 overs, United had improved to be two for 54 with Bell sitting on 26 and Lee on 24. Bell, after a barnstorming 37, eventually holed-out in the deep to make it 3 for 82 after 29 overs with scintillating hitting to most parts of the ground.
Lee then linked up with his 20-year-old mate Bradley Field and the two young colts quickly decided that desperate causes needed desperate remedies. Throwing caution to the wind, the pair went after the Nowra attack with full force.
Lee, the more classical left-hander in the Gower mould, smashed the straight balls both high and wide of mid-on and continually indulged himself in monstrous sixes and fours whilst Field did exactly the same once he got his eye in.
Field, a right-hander in the shadow of Peter Burge was sensational in his endeavours and anything short of overpitched was mercilessly pounced upon.
Field was brutal and quickly overtook Lee to arrive first at his half-century with a magnificent six over the mid-off boundary. Six balls later, Lee got his 50 with a four over deep-extra-cover as United pushed further ahead at 3 for 154.
With United’s confidence now soaring, Nowra’s attacking field had virtually disappeared with most fieldsman banished to more useful points of the compass. The partnership ended when the dashing Lee played forward and was trapped LBW after a blistering 63 with United 4 for 202.
The bullocking Field, in a wonderful and determined bid to reach his maiden first grade club century, was cruelly denied when he lost contact with a leg cutter and was clean bowled after a dynamic innings of 93. United finished at 7 for 220 after completing their 45 overs.
The Nowra side in reply struggled right from the start. United were buoyed by the opening performances of both Scott King and Peter King (no relation) with their accuracy and change of pace and direction off the seam playing havoc.
In the delirium, the visitors were 3 for 47 and by the time the dust had settled and both of the Kings had reigned supreme, the joint competition leaders solemnly limped home after being routed for 9 for 59.