Stuart Naden recorded his best figures of the season on Saturday but a late edge to the wicketkeeper slightly dampened what was an otherwise strong day for his CYMS Cougars.
Naden bagged 6-52 from 25.5 overs against South Dubbo, the clash at No. 2 Oval the only RSL-Whitney Cup match which went ahead after Friday night’s rain.
On a pitch which offered plenty to the bowlers all day, off-spinner Naden was the standout as CYMS knocked over Souths for 170.
The Cougars then had to survive the final 11 overs of the day and the failed to get through unscathed as Naden was caught behind for 5.
“I got a pretty good rock to be honest,” Naden said after being dismissed by the lively Rajat Rai.
“It’s hard to go out there after a long spell but that’s what you’ve got to do and sometimes you just get a good ball.
“But hopefully the boys can finish it off next week and ideally get a bit of a lead and then we have another go at them.”
The Cougars will resume at 1-22 next week, with Ben Strachan (14 not out) and Bailey Edmunds (0 not out) at the crease.
Another 149 runs will hand CYMS the points and with RSL-Colts and Newtown meeting in a top-of-the-table clash the win would be a vital one for the third-placed Cougars.
While CYMS heads into day two on top the men in green were made to work by the Hornets on Saturday.
After Cougars skipper Ben Knaggs won the toss and opted to bowl, his side struggled to hit the right lengths consistently and a couple of catches went down.
Josh Williams and Ed Knight were watchful but kept things ticking over and got the score to 44 before Naden’s introduction brought immediate reward.
The off-spinner had Knight (7) trapped in front and after Williams (37) fell soon after they key pair of Corey McDean and Mat Finlay was at the crease.
But Englishman Naden removed them both in similar circumstances, lofted drives resulting in Finlay being caught at mid-on and McDean dismissed caught and bowled.
Youngsters Jimmy Kuntze and Joe Yeo then dug in and built a handy 33-run partnership, but when the former was removed for 33, handing Naden his fifth wicket, the end came soon for Souths.
“I dropped a catch early and I said to ‘Knaggsy’ I wanted to do it myself after that,” Naden said.
“It can get frustrating but I wanted to get us back into the game. It’s good to take a few wickets but the others contained them and I was able to do that.”
Naden stole the headlines but Bailey Edmunds also performed well with the ball, beating the bat countless times before rolling through the tail and finishing with 3-52 from 20 overs.
“He bowled really well and easily could have had five or six wickets,” Naden said of Edmunds, before praising Souths’ young batsmen.
“They had a few big names missing so some people could have thought we’d have it easy but they really applied themselves and that’s good for a team that’s not in the finals race.”
CYMS welcome back Brock Larance and Tom Coady next week after the pair missed day one due to representative commitments while Adam Wells returns for Souths.
“They’ve got a really strong bowling attack and sides can underestimate that,” Naden said of next week.
“We’ve got to apply ourselves even thought it is another 150 and if it’s another green top it will be tough”