THE 2023/24 Cricket Far North First Grade senior competition kicked off in style over the weekend as the region’s top teams blew out the cobwebs and had their first taste of 40-over cricket for the year.
Atherton took the trip down the hill to play against Barron River at Walker Road and were met with fierce resistance after Barron won the toss, elected to bowl and struck early with Harry Gardner taking two wickets in the first few overs.
This set the tone for the rest of the bowling attack as they kept pressure on Atherton’s batsmen and steadily took wickets.
A stand by captain Tom Boorman and Caleb Constant gave Atherton some hope as both batmen moved the ball around and punished the loose ones before being dispatched for 17 and 29 respectively. The rest of the line-up were unable to make a sizeable dent and Atherton were bowled out for 101 in the 27th over.
Barron got off to a good start in the chase as opening pair Pat Edwards and Jordan Fulton kept a steady flow of runs supported by Barron’s top order with nearly all getting into double figures.
Adam Trewin decided he didn’t want to play the long game and took it to the Atherton bowling attack, smashing 36 runs off 30 balls with two maximums – one of which being the game-winning shot.
At Griffith Park it was a game of high scores and impressive accolades in the Norths v Cassowary Coast match-up at GP 1 as Angus Warnock made 114 in his team’s first innings, propelling them to a highly competitive score of 251.
He crossed the rope for a total of 13 boundaries including seven maximums before being dispatched by on song bowler Austin Stuart, Charlie Howard continued the striking game however and hit a quick fire 67 off 40 balls.
Stuart went on to take a five wicket haul off seven overs for just 38 runs while Joel Stuart and Andrew McFadden took three and two respectively.
Cassowary Coast was unable to follow through with the bat however and only two batsmen were able to make it into double digits despite batting through to the 35th over.
Norths’ bowling attack kept Cassowary pinned as Howard took 6/27 off his eight overs and recorded three maidens with Mitch Warnock clocking up two and Benjamin McCartney and Conor Pushon each taking one, bowling out Cassowary for 79 runs and giving Norths their first 40-over win of the season.
At GP 2 Rovers went up against Mulgrave and after losing their first two wickets for just five runs, the middle order stepped up to steady the ship.
However, it didn’t take long for the Mulgrave attack to punch through and take out Seth McGinty and Andrew Phelps within just a few overs of each other.
Mulgrave continued to apply pressure and consistently take wickets as Rovers’ tail mounted a resistance and pushed the side over 100 runs before getting bowled out for 104 in the 31st over.
Rovers proved to have a dangerous bowling attack of their own however as opener Brenton Edwards struck fast and early, taking the scalps of both Mulgrave openers.
Matthew Wilkins and Jake Roach came to the crease and chipped away at the total before McGinty bowled Wilkins on 35.
Wade Matthews was next to crease and worked with Roach to whittle away at remaining runs before crossing the line in the 23rd over.
First Grade takes a break this weekend for representative duties before returning next week, Saturday 7 October with Barron taking on Mareeba at Borzi Park, Atherton hosting Mulgrave and Norths and Rovers will go head-to-head at GP1 as Cyclones sit out.
Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Oktoberfest at Hemingway’s Brewery is back and PCYC establishes Cadet Club.