WHEN early wickets tumbled at The Scots School the day looked dreary for St Pat’s Old Boys until Connor Slattery and Bailey Brien restored hope to their team’s innings.
The pair’s century stand helped St Pat’s grind out a total of 6-203 at the end of the first day’s play against Rugby Union after being sent into bat.
Rugby’s bowlers were at the top of their game early on in Saturday’s Bathurst District Cricket Association first grade grand final rematch when they removed Nic Broes (5), Tanvir Singh (8) and Ben Mitchell (1) within seven overs.
Rugby’s Aiden McBurney was unstoppable in the first session with figures of 2-8 from his first five overs, sending Broes’ bails flying and trapping Mitchell in front.
Pat’s captain Adam Ryan (21) was joined by Slattery after Mitchell’s wicket and the Pat’s pair weathered a storm of accurate Rugby bowling to reach first drinks unscathed.
When Ryan was caught off the bowling of Chris Albon it brought Brien to the crease at 4-56.
On a day where runs were tough to come by, due to a slow outfield, Slattery (71) and Brien (59) worked their way into a match-saving partnership.
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The pair began to open up towards the end of the day. Slattery smacked three boundaries off a Phil Tonkin over and Brien hit a six to reach his half century.
Their partnership of 113 runs was broken up by Slattery’s wicket, at the hands of Tim McKinnon.
Brien followed suit in the next over to give McBurney his third scalp of the day. The Rugby opener has thus far bowled 20 overs for figures of 3-55.
Josh Wilcox (17 not out) and David Cant (10 not out) saw out the remaining 12 overs of the day.
Ryan said Slattery and Brien were exceptional across their 40 overs together in the middle.
“Connor and Bailey did a fantastic job. It really set us up after a slow start to the day,” he said.
“They took their time, much like [Indian test batsman Cheteshwar] Pujara, and really knuckled down. The pitch did a lot early with the new ball and Rugby were bowling very well.
“A sluggish outfield restricted the runs early … but they capitalised later in the day when it all dried out a bit more.”
Several missed opportunities in the field hurt Rugby but captain Sam Macpherson spoke highly of his team’s efforts on the day.
"It was a pretty good battle between bat and ball all day,” he said.
"The only thing we did wrong was drop three catches and that really turned the game around. All our bowlers, spin and pace, bowled pretty tight."
McKinnon was the next best of the Rugby bowlers on Saturday with his figures of 2-38 from 15 overs.