Coolac have finished the 2018-19 regular season with an emphatic nine-wicket win over Lotts, and will now head into the Elders Cup final series undefeated. With both sides missing several regular starting players, the match loomed as a possible danger game for the current competition leaders, as Lotts have been known to dish out an upset in years gone by. Coolac met the threat with the professionalism that has marked their season.
The Lotts bowling attack, while youthful in its makeup, bowled very tightly defending a small total, but Coolac, even without star batsmen Tim Graham, were not about to let a perfect regular season pass by. Their bowlers gave little away, and the top-order batsmen plugged away tenaciously, even when faced with some very good bowling from the likes of Tom Ferguson, Alex Smith and Jacob Ferguson.
Lotts captain, Chris Tozer, won the toss and elected to bat. Without regular opener Tarron Makeham and other top order batsmen in: Dan Attwood, Andrew Smith and Matt Tozer, a reshuffle was required, and it was Craig Ferguson who was promoted to partner Jacob Ferguson, having opened for his side on numerous occasions before.
The two Fergusons got the home side off to a solid start, playing patiently on a wicket where the ball was keeping low, while the Coolac openers of Shawcross and Sharman were not giving much away with stump-to-stump bowling.
Shawcross broke through for the visitors in the eleventh over when he bowled Jacob Ferguson for six. First-change bowler, Rob Barron, wasted no time in making an impression when he bowled Thomas Ferguson without scoring on the fourth ball of his first over.
Lotts were now 2 for 33 in the twelfth over, and while a good platform had been laid, the slowing run rate was a factor that needed to be watched. Alex Smith came to the crease for Lotts and dug-in to support opener Craig Ferguson, who was looking in good touch. Ferguson remained watchful while also dispatching bad balls to the fence, allowing the home side to go to drinks at 2 for 51.
Rob Barron claimed the wicket of Smith in the twenty-fifth over, caught Adam Graham, for ten. The pair had put on a partnership of thirty-four, while new batsmen Shaun Smith was also able to hold up and end when he came to the middle, allowing his more senior partner to get into full swing with the bat. A beautifully timed shot for six over mid-wicket, was one short in particular that gained some momentum for Lotts. During overs thirty and thirty-one, the home side put on nineteen runs.
The flow of runs ended when Ferguson was caught in the deep by Mark Sharman of the bowling of Shawcross for an excellent seventy-five. Lotts then lost two more wickets for a gain of only two runs, and the writing looked on the wall as far as a big total at 6 for 100.
John Smith looked in good touch on eight, until he was bowled by James Scott, but there was no wag in the tail with only a further four runs added before Lotts were bowled out.
The five of the Coolac bowlers performed well, with wickets being shared between Shawcross, Sharman, Barron and Scott. Shawcross and Sharman were particularly economical, while taking five wickets between them.
Coolac started their innings with Andrew Keatinge and Adam Graham. Keatinge looked to be in dangerous touch hitting two fours from three scoring shots, until he was a bit early on a drive, popping the ball up to Lotts bowler, Thomas Ferguson, for a simple caught and bowled.
The wicket breathed some life into last seasons Hogan Cup winners, a further boost being provided by veteran bowler John Smith in the eleventh over, when James Scott was out caught behind to put the visitors at 2 for 31.
Coolac’s score was near to identical to the Gundagai side at the same period, but it was at this point that Adam Graham, and new batsmen Rob Barron ‘battened down the hatches’ to secure the victory for Coolac. At 2 for 63 at drinks, Graham and Barron re-entered the fray with a resoluteness that has been synonymous with Coolac’s entire season. They ran well between wickets to relieve pressure applied by good bowling, and then dispatched the loose ball to promote their position.
During the next ten overs, Coolac took the game away from Lotts, with Graham scoring a well-deserved fifty-three not out before retiring with a niggling injury. That brought George Harpley to the crease, the young batsmen playing sensibly for his twelve not out; Barron finishing with a well-made twenty-eight not out.
While John Smith and Tom Ferguson took a wicket each for Lotts, Alex Smith also bowled very well during his five over spell.
C. Ferguson, c Adam Graham,
b D. Shawcross 75
J. Ferguson, b D. Shawcross 6
T. Ferguson, b R. Barron 0
A. Smith, c Adam Graham,
b R. Barron 10
S. Smith, b James Scott 3
J. Smith, b James Scott 8
E. Murphy, run out 0
M. Murphy, c D. Shawcross,
b M. Sharman 4
L. McGrath, b M. Sharman 1
T. Myers, not out 1
C. Tozer, c James Scott,
b M. Sharman 0
Total, 10 for 113
Bowling: D. Shawcross 10-3-23-2, M. Sharman 7-2-18-3, R. Barron 10-2-31-2, G. Harpley 8-1-26-0, J. Scott
A. Keatinge, c & b T. Ferguson 11
Adam Graham, retired hurt 53
James Scott, c S. Smith,
b J. Smith 5
R. Barron, not out 28
G. Harpley, not out 12
Total 2 for 118
Bowling: T. Ferguson 5-2-17-1, A. Smith 5-1-14-0, J. Smith 8-1-20-1, J. Ferguson 5-0-22-0, S. Smith 4-0-25-0, T. Myers 1-0-3-0, E. Murphy 2-1-0-2, C. Tozer 1-0-4-0, L. McGrath 1-0-8-0.