Laidley's Ben Gibson put in a strong bowling performance against Centrals.
Laidley's Ben Gibson put in a strong bowling performance against Centrals. Cordell Richardson

Centrals, Laidley in stalemate as Brothers cruise

WAYNE Jones' feelings toward his own innings mirrored that of his views on Centrals' batting performance after day one of the battle for the IWMCA First Grade minor premiership concluded at Bichel Oval on Saturday.

Centrals finished the day at 8/225, with Jones falling agonisingly short of a half-century to be out on 49, while Dave Tyler (51) impressed in the Kookaburras' middle order.

Jones described his innings as "a bit rusty and a bit scratchy” before categorising the 225 total as slightly under par.

"I would have liked to get another 25 runs. I think 250 is probably par for the day, but we still have two batters left who can push (the total) up,” Jones said.

"(Laidley) have a pretty strong batting line-up, so we can't be complacent.”

Jones preferred not to discuss his innings, but was full of praise for the performance of Tyler to get to 51 on a "pitch that was playing a few tricks”.

"Benny Gibson and Alex Welsh had us tied down with dot ball pressure,” Jones said of the Laidley bowling attack.

Gibson (4/62) and Welsh (3/68) made the breakthroughs, but it was Michael Topp (1/11 off 10 overs) who really made life difficult for the Centrals batsmen with his pace.

The minor premiership race is still firmly in the balance, a scenario Jones enjoys.

"It's good getting to the last week of the season not knowing what the make-up for the finals will be,” he said.

"They'll feel confident to chase our total down, and we'll feel confident to bowl them out.”

At Strollers, Brothers kept their chances of a second-placed finish alive with a day one demolition job of Redbacks.

Mick Ridgewell made 122 and former Redback Cameron Wood finished on 73 not out, as the Brethren declared at 6/317 before rolling Redbacks for just 59 in reply.

Brothers will have a whole day to bowl at a seemingly fragile Redbacks line-up as they eye an outright victory and with it, a road back into the top two should Laidley lose to Centrals.

IWMCA

Centrals 8/225 v Laidley at Bichel Oval

Brothers 6dec317 v South East Redbacks 59 at Strollers