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Lakers jump back into Haisman Shield top six

Giving it everything: Nagambie’s William Ulrich. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

Nagambie has catapulted back up in to the top six of the Haisman Shield standings with a clinical 68-run win over Old Students at its Nagambie Recreation Reserve fortress.

Once again inspired by the ever-reliable Luke Nolan with the bat and dominant bowling spells from Nathan Fothergill and Josh Sanderson, the Lakers showed how dangerous they could be at full strength in a performance that would have had other finals contenders quaking in their boots.

Nagambie captain Mark Nolan said despite a few little speed bumps, he was proud to see his side pull through and claim a crucial victory.

Piercing the gap: Old Students’ Ashton Young. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

“It was a pretty good win. To get two wins after Christmas is fantastic and puts us back in contention,” Nolan said.

“We still aren’t playing our best cricket, but to be able to still win is a positive and gives us a lot of confidence that we are right there with the best teams.”

Much like he has been all season, Luke Nolan was the key to success for the Lakers with bat in hand, making a third straight half-century from the top of the order to build a perfect platform for his side.

Cue the celebrations: Nagambie players celebrate a wicket. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

In an innings which matched incredible patience with elegant stroke play, Luke played the anchor to perfection to finish with 56 off 115, balls while Tyrone Muir offered great support, adding 29 of his own in what ended up being an 86-run stand.

Seemingly destined for 200-plus, Gino Saracino’s bowlers showed great character to work their way back into the contest, as Felix Odell broke the key partnership and proceeded to rip through the middle order with four crucial wickets.

Returning to their pre-Christmas form, the Lakers remarkably lost their last eight wickets for 40 runs to have the game evenly poised at the halfway mark with 163 on the board.

Perfect delivery: Nagambie’s James Brook dismisses Old Students’ Gerald Sabri. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

Needing early wickets to wrestle the momentum back in their favour, Nagambie’s bowlers were brilliant from the get-go with Fothergill and Mark Nolan putting the clamps on Old Students’ top order in a scintillating spell of new ball bowling.

Fothergill (4-22) was the one to cash in, ripping through the visitors’ top order to have the Old Students in a world of pain at 5-51.

Odell did his best to replicate his first innings heroics, playing with freedom and positivity to get to 32 off 37 deliveries.

But the counterpunch came to no avail, as Sanderson (4-23) came into the attack and quickly wrapped up the tail to finish the Old Students’ innings on 95.

Mark Nolan said he was incredibly proud of how the bowlers went about it and was excited to see what his side could produce in the run to finals.

“We bowled and fielded very well. We have our best bowling on the park at the moment and are making it hard for opposition teams to score on us with guys like Nathan (Fothergill) and Josh (Sanderson) hitting top form,” he said.

“At Christmas we weren’t in an ideal situation, so it is good to get back in the six with some great post-break form and we will look to continue to build momentum starting with a big game with Central Park next week.”

B-grade action saw Nagambie fall to Old Students by six runs in a low-scoring thriller at Kialla Park Reserve.

Areas: Nagambie’s William O’Brien. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

Bowling first on what proved to be a tough wicket, William O’Brien got the Lakers off to the perfect start, removing both openers in a scintillating spell of bowling that ended up yielding figures of 2-22.

With Students well and truly under the pump, captain William Ulrich took the reins, tearing through the middle order to finish with 4-11 from his nine overs as Nagambie restricted the home side to a lowly 92.

Ulrich continued his great form with the ball into the Lakers’ batting innings, making an aggressive 22 off 38 balls to try and get his team off to a fast start.

However, the Lakers’ worries came from the other end, as the Old Students bowlers quickly got on top and wrestled back the momentum to have the game evenly poised at 4-48.

Needing the middle order to fire to get over the line, things went from bad to worse for Nagambie as Travis Frost came into the attack and made an immediate impact, picking up three wickets.

As chaos ensued around him, Blake Ezard did his best to try and get the Lakers home, making 16 from number nine to take the match right down to the wire.

But Students were too good in the end, wrapping up the Nagambie innings for 86 to come away six-run winners.

Mooroopna was far too good for Nagambie’s E-grade side, coming away with a solid 38-run win.

The Cats’ bats looked in good touch, producing a commanding 185 from their 40 overs.

Skipper Daniel Hatton raised the bat as he put on a supreme 65 runs, with seven boundaries and three maximums to his name.

He had support through Mark Nolen (24), while Xavier Chandler (25) and Cooper Child (20) steered it home from further down the order.

Michael Ford’s five-wicket haul kept the Lakers’ batters mostly quiet, aside from young gun Jeremy Ezard, who smacked a slick half-century to keep his side within touching distance.

They fell for 147 after 39.1 overs, with Lauren Hall (2-14) and Chandler (2-23) also helping themselves to wickets.