COMPOSURE: Matt Farrell (14) helped Harwood to their first win of the season against Valleys at Harwood Oval on Saturday.
COMPOSURE: Matt Farrell (14) helped Harwood to their first win of the season against Valleys at Harwood Oval on Saturday. Tim Jarrett

Harwood lift to edge Valleys for gritty first victory

NCCC PREMIER LEAGUE: The weight has been lifted off Harwood after a first win in the North Coast Cricket Council Premier League for the season at Harwood Oval yesterday.

Coming up against league leaders Valleys, Harwood needed to improve to avoid any more dropped points and, despite setting a below-average score of 157, they held strong to get their opposition out for 142 and clinch a 15-run victory.

Harwood club captain Ben McMahon was pleased to take the pressure of a first win off the side but he said there was still a long way to go as they look to recapture their form from last season.

"We were happy with the win but we still have a lot of improving to do for the rest of the season,” McMahon said.

"As I've said the last few weeks, our batting needs work moving forward.”

McMahon and his side made a much better start yesterday but this time it was the tail end struggling to find runs.

"We came out well and were three for 100 off around 20 overs but we got rolled for just 157 which was pretty disappointing,” he said.

"Everyone knows we need to get to work on improving our numbers.”

With a very catchable score set, McMahon knew they had their work cut out for them during the Valleys' innings.

"I knew we didn't have enough runs to make it comfortable for ourselves but I think we bowled and fielded really well,” he said.

Valleys' Brodie Bartlet in Harwood vs Valleys at Harwood Oval
KEY MAN: Valleys' Brodie Bartlett put up a fight with two wickets and 63 runs scored at Harwood Oval on Saturday. Tim Jarrett

McMahon praised the Valleys' top order for putting up a solid fight at the crease.

"They've got good cricketers in the club. Brodie Bartlett (63) is one of best batsmen around and he showed why with a solid knock. Stuart Moore (1-3-27) put it to us as well,” he said.

Harwood now turn their attention to a second match-up of the season against fierce rivals Sawtell after the southern club claimed a win at Harwood in their opening clash.

"We need to make sure everyone starts firing a bit more with the bat in hand. We were really strong at the crease last year so we'd like to recapture some of that form,” McMahon said.

"It can make games a lot more comfortable if you can set a solid score or have confidence giving chase.”

In the other encounter for the NCCC Premier League yesterday, Sawtell were humbled by new boys Northern Districts Rebels after setting an unusually low score of their own, reaching just 141.

Team leader Richie Gallichan (5) fell for a small total and Tyh Murphy (38) did his best but Anuroop Grewal (1-4-19) had a field day taking a solid haul for the afternoon.

It took the Rebels just 33 overs to reach 142 runs and seal the eight-wicket win over Sawtell thanks to a huge partnership from Mark Maharaj (49 not out) and Damon Rootes (54 not out).

Valleys remain on top of the table while Harwood, Sawtell and the Rebels sit just behind.