WATCHFUL DEFENCE: Victoria Country batsman Paul Bradley pushes forward to NSW Country leg-spinner Ben Woolmer
WATCHFUL DEFENCE: Victoria Country batsman Paul Bradley pushes forward to NSW Country leg-spinner Ben Woolmer

Fightback foils Blues


NEWCASTLE builder Ben Woolmer constructed a fine spell of leg-spin bowling for NSW Country in their opening match against Victoria in the Australian Country Cricket Championship at Oakes Oval, Lismore, yesterday.

The 27-year-old all-rounder from Charlestown snared 7-93 from 27.4 overs of bouncy over-spin bowling.

However, Victoria were still able to make 248 before having the Bush Blues in serious trouble at 4-37 at stumps.

When contacted by The Northern Star last night, Wool-mer was unable to explain his first-day success.

"I don't know," he laughed.

"It's a flat track and they just landed on the right spot and the boys held the catches.

"It was a warm, tough day, but we stuck at it."

Despite being a regular Newcastle representative, this is Woolmer's first ACCC. He expects to bat at No7 today.

Woolmer crashed through the Victorians' top order, taking the first six wickets.

At 7-117 the defending champions were in trouble, but sensible batting by the lower order of Paul Bradley (46), Chris Hopper (27), Bradley Hauenstein (26) and Richie Hassett (24) lifted the Vics to an unlikely 248.

To cap their fightback, Hauenstein ? a right-arm medium-fast bowler ? rocked the Bush Blues with three wickets including that of NSW Country captain Simon Moore.

Woolmer was not too worried by the late collapse.

"They got away a little bit at the end of the day," he said.

"But 248 is gettable.

"It's a very flat wicket once you're in."

Dubbo medium-fast bowler Daniel Hughes supported Woolmer with 2-25, while Lismore's Ian Gregory took 1-23.

Lismore's other representative, batsman Tom Cooper, is not playing due to illness.

Queensland look to be in control against South Aust-ralia at Heaps Oval, Lismore.

At stumps, the Maroons were 2-109 with Wade Frazer (60) and captain Brian May (33 not out) the main contributors.

Fast bowler Ben Cust (3-29) and off-spinner Michael Brennan (3-54) were the pick of the Queensland bowlers, while Rohan Reid (51), Michael Johnston (30) and Andy Paltridge (29) were the only SA batsmen to offer much resistance.

At Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino, Western Australia are in cruise control and could be set for an outright win against East Asia Pacific.

The Islanders were bundled out for 115, with only Papua New Guinea opener Arua Uda (29) among the runs.

Craig Tonkin (3-23), Chris Phelps (3-25) and Chris Waddingham (2-24) led the attack for WA.

With Chris D'Mello (35 not out) and Lee Sounness (22 not out) in control, it should only be a matter of time before the Sandgropers take the points.

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