Atherton shoot down big guns in nailbiter
ATHERTON'S confidence is sky high after knocking off competition heavyweights United in a thrilling last-ball victory at Griffiths Park 2 on Saturday afternoon.With the last pair at the crease and needing five off the last over and two off the last ball, Luke Parnell advanced down the wicket and smashed it above mid-off's head to the boundary.
It secured a win that sent the side crazy in celebration and gave them belief they could deliver in the big moments.
The chase for 228 was set up by Gerard Fox (51 from 69) and that innings capitalised on by Fred Pittorino (101 from 91), whose brilliant century got them within striking distance.
At 3-183 and plenty of time remaining, Atherton looked home, but when Peter Sceresini (23) fell trying to clear the mid-wicket boundary and skipper Dan Parnell was adjudged lbw first ball the momentum swung back in United's favour.
Pittorino, who was dropped in single-digits, then broke his bat and a few balls later was back in the sheds when Cam Davis breached his defences.
Suddenly the defending one-day champions were in control and Jarrod Howell (4-44) rammed home the advantage when he bowled Bruce Lang.
Needing a run-a-ball from the last four overs, it didn't look likely for Atherton, especially when a furious Owen Daley (18 off 21) hooked one straight down deep mid-wicket's throat.
But they didn't count on the 10th wicket partnership from Luke Parnell and No.11 Mitch Steele.
Steele smoked a gorgeous cut shot to the boundary from his first delivery and then calmly knocked singles until they needed just the two from the last two balls.
A swing and miss from Parnell made the task tougher but he middled the final Davis delivery to clinch the win in dramatic fashion.
"It was close, a nailbiter," captain Dan Parnell said.
"The boys never gave up, it was set up well by another classy hundred from Fred and well supported by Foxy. And for Luke and Mitch to get us home nine down gives the team a lot of confidence and inspiration."
United reached 228 thanks to asolid platform from James Bolton (57), another handy innings from the promoted Nathan Freebody (39) and big hitting from Steve Porta (62).
Porta is never shy of clearing the boundary and outdid himself on this occasion, landing one on the baskeball stadium's roof that is yet to come down.
NEW CAIRNS.COM.AU COMMENT POLICY
We welcome your comments on this story. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited. Comments submitted without a full name and suburb/location will not be considered for publication. Please read our full comment policy and publication guidelines.
Share this article
Close call: Atherton celebrate a wicket at Griffiths Park 2 on Saturday afternoon. Picture: TOM LEE