Woodend earns a top spot in McIntyre Cup race

Woodend's Warren Else top scored on Saturday. Picture Shawn Smits.

Woodend has joined the battle for top spot on the ladder in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association’s McIntyre Cup.

With a win over Diggers Rest Bulla on Saturday, Woodend jumped to the top of the ladder above the Burras and Riddell, which have shared the lead all year.

An interesting final round is in store with just 1.32 points separating the three sides.

Woodend captain Adam Johnstone said it was the perfect time to be on top of the ladder.

“The season has been so close with some teams beating the top teams unexpectedly,” Johnstone said. “Being on top of the ladder does help … looking at the fixture for next week, there could still be a lot of movement. We’re very happy with the spot we are in.”

Johnstone said his players thought they were a 50 per cent chance of victory sitting at 4-28 chasing 149 going into day two of the clash against the Burras.

“We spoke about their bowling … that is their strength, no doubt about it,” he said.

“A combination of a couple of things went our way. We were lucky they put down a few chances in the field that could have changed the game.

“We also got some luck with a couple of non-recognised batsmen doing a defensive-type job to stay with the batsmen.”

Woodend went on to make 241, with Johnstone praising the efforts of Tom Robson and Greg Matthews.

“Tom came in late on day one of the match and survived a few overs,” the skipper said. “On day two, he batted for three hours making 28. Greg batted well with Warren Else. We still needed 30 runs at that stage for victory. He stuck around until we could get the win.”

Else top-scored with 69 while Johnstone, who sits in the top 10 run scorers for the competition despite missing three rounds, chipped in with 53.

Johnstone said that once the victory was secured it was all about getting as many runs on the scoreboard, with every run counting towards points.

“We talked about it and tried to take advantage of making as many runs as possible,” he said. “It’s how we nudged above Riddell.

“It’s an interesting points system they’ve introduced and it has changed the way teams look at things.”

Other results

Meanwhile, Riddell suffered a shock loss to Sunbury, Gisborne defeated Sunbury United and Bacchus Marsh was too good for Romsey.

In a catch-up game on Sunday, Romsey defeated Sunbury.