NSW opener Phillip Hughes cracks a cut shot to the boundary for four against Victoria at Oakes Oval yesterday.
NSW opener Phillip Hughes cracks a cut shot to the boundary for four against Victoria at Oakes Oval yesterday. David Nielsen

Hodge stars in Festival of Cricket

THE last time Brad Hodge batted at Lismore’s Oakes Oval he was out for a first-ball duck in a Sheffield Shield match against NSW.

Last night, in the opening match of Lismore’s Festival of Cricket, he starred with the bat, making a crisp 56 of 58 balls as Victoria chased down the NSW total of 7-235 with one wicket and 20 balls to spare.

Hodge hit six fours and one six in a controlled display in front of a disappointing crowd of about 400 but he was lucky to make his half-century after he was bowled on 12 from a no-ball by paceman Aaron Bird.

“I think I got a first-ball duck, caught at fine leg and everyone else got some runs,” recalled Hodge of his previous visit to Lismore.

“No, that was good fun tonight. We came up here looking for some practice and the facilities are excellent so we are very appreciative of that.

“I played some good shots and it was a little bit difficult with the conditions because the light was a little bit hard but that’s okay.

“It was nice to get some time in the middle as that’s what we’re here for, to find some form. I got a little bit of luck, I guess, you have to take it where you can and a practice match is as good as any time and a bit of fortune never goes astray.”

The Blues will lament not only Hodge’s let-off but also a missed stumping on McKay at a critical time when he was on eight.

While Hodge was the only Victorian to score a half-century most of the Bushrangers made a start.
Captain David Hussey spanked an impressive 39 off 24 balls while Aaron Finch made 32 (27) and Matthew Wade 27 (21).

However, it seemed like NSW could have snatched the match after young leg-spinner Steve Smith snared the wickets of Hodge, Finch and Wade to leave the Vics teetering at 8-203.

But cameos by tailenders Clinton McKay (21) and James Pattinson (19) saw the Bushrangers home.

Earlier, NSW openers Phillip Hughes and Moises Henriques put on a century partnership to give the
Blues a bright start after rain delayed play by more than an hour.

Henriques hit the first ball of the match off McKay for four but he was soon overtaken by Hughes who top-scored with 62 (71).

Henriques made 38 (48) but Dominic Thornely and Steve Smith fell quickly before the left-handed Ben Rohrer smashed 51 off 40 balls to give the Blues a defendable target.

Rohrer was out on the last ball of the innings.

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