An inspired rear guard by Dan Willis and Chris Archer set up a crucial 80-run win for Thornton against Northern Suburbs at Lorn Park in round 11 of Maitland first grade cricket.
The victory lifts Thornton to fifth place on the ladder with 26 points and very much in the mix for a finals spot with Western Suburbs and City United maintaining third and fourth spots respectively with important wins.
City got home in a seven-run thriller against Eastern Suburbs after dismissing the Griffins for 217 at East Maitland Park.
Wests fell two wickets short of gaining outright points after some steadfast defence by David Fairfull kept them at bay for the final three overs of play.
The Plovers had amassed 8-348 on day one and dismissed Kurri Weston for 181 and sent them back into bat with 25 overs to play. The Warriors held them out finishing on 8-95.
At Lorn Park, Willis and Archer’s heroics with the bat enabled Thornton to move from 7/156 with 14 overs to bat to post a total of 239.
Despite a 90 to Norths all-rounder Lincoln Mills, Norths were bundled out in the 150s with the wickets shared around by Thornton’s bowlers and two crucial run-outs by Archer.
“Dan and Chris batted brilliantly, they gave us the runs to defend and we bowled and fielded well to dismiss Norths for a score in the 150s,” Thornton skipper Jake Moore.
“Given the way we collapsed last week losing eight wickets for 20 to go down to Raymond Terrace it showed the type of character we need to get home in games like this.
“Dan batted through some real difficult times, there bowlers were bowling exceptionally and it was a case of him weathering it and giving us a chance to bat out our ovals.
“It was really important they stuck together in the morning and after they came through a really good spell by Lincoln Mills and Chris was able to pick up the scoring.
“Unlike last week the tag really wagged with Elliott Thompson getting some runs at the end as well.”
Thornton resumed on 7/156 with Willis on 63 and Archer 25 and Norths on top.
They took the score to 8/191 when Willis was bowled by Rex Greaves for 82.
The tail continued to wag and Archer hit a swashbuckling 66, including two massive sixes into neighbouring properties before he was stumped by Luke Stewart to give Greaves his fourth wicket.
Elliott Thompson also got in the act making 17 not out.
Norths made a poor start with Archer running out opener Will Fort with a direct hit when Fort was left stranded mid-pitch after a mix-up on a quick run.
Archer would eventually run out Norths other opener Lincoln Mills with a clever kick onto the stumps.
“It was really clever by Arch and we really needed that wicket as Lincoln looked set to get them home by himself.”
Wests fall short of outright
Western Suburbs fell two wickets short of an outright win against Kurri Weston and stealing a game’s break on their rivals for finals action.
Wests posted an impressive 8/348 on day one with several batsman contributing to the big total with Mark Copus who finished on 92 not out after coming in at No.6.
Justin Lantry continued his fine form with 50, Aaron Mahony scored 72 in his 100th first grade game and Andrew Trappel made 76.
“For the first time this season we were able to build several big partnerships,” Wests co-captain Mitchell Fisher said.
Ryan Johnson had the best return for Kurri Weston finishing with 4-50.
Fisher took 4-37 to share the first innings bowling honours with Andrew Trappel who claimed 4-30 as the Warriors made 181. Luke Merchant almost secured the outright points taking 5-8, but the Warriors were able to hold out finishing on 8-95.
City get home
City United got the win and a vital five-point break on Eastern Suburbs in a thrilling seven-run victory at East Maitland Park.
City skipper Matt Trappel led from the front scoring 69 as his side posted a competitive 224 in tough conditions on Saturday.
The middle order provided good support with Jordan Burton making 38, Nick Bower 24 and Anru Kriel 27 before Michael Heinrich hit a valuable 22 late to lift City’s total above 220.
Brendan Allen took 3-36 and Josh Hicks claimed 2-48 for the Griffins.
“Given the pitch I think it was a tremendous effort by our top order. I think overall with the bat and ball it was our best performance this year, although we’re still probably below our best,” Trappel said.
City bowlers Ben Davies claimed four wickets and Tim Baker got three wickets at the end to seal the win.
Trent Park, who was dropped three times, made 75 and Andrew Vickery 41 for Easts.