Nathan Crosby’s rich vein of form with the bat has helped Albany Cricket Association remain alive in the Country Cup competition after an emphatic 79-run win over Busselton-Margaret River Cricket Association at Forrest Park on Sunday.
A first-up loss to the WA Invitation XI had the ACA on the back foot in the revamped 50-over competition and there was one change to that team from the opening round with centurion Jeremy Wood unavailable, replaced by Patrick Butler.
Crosby however was the cornerstone of the Whalers innings, as he made a patient 97 to help his side set a strong total batting first.
He hit 12 boundaries in the match-winning knock and was the eighth wicket to fall as Albany went on to be bowled out for 206 in 43 overs.
Captain Zane Marwick and Crosby put on an opening stand of 35 but wickets fell regularly to leave Albany 4-69 when Harry Broomhall departed on 16.
After scoring a ton in the ACA A-grade competition the previous day, Crosby fell three runs short of another century but his 97 along with a middle order cameo from hard-hitting import Riecko Parker-Cole (38) ensured Albany were in the box seat.
Nathan Crudeli struck the first blow for the Whalers with the ball just three overs in and then brothers Zane and Coen Marwick helped halt BMRCA to 3-53 when they removed Ben Lloyd (9) and Ben Clarke (9).
A crucial double strike from leg spinner Butler, firstly to dismiss Troyden Thorp (37) and then in the same over Nick Barr (1), ensured Albany would emerge victorious.
Butler finished with 3-22 from his 10-over spell in an impressive return to representative cricket for Albany while Crudeli (2-27 off 10), Coen Marwick (2-29 off 10) and Zane Marwick (2-20 off 10) helped bowl BMRCA out for 128 in reply.
The result lifted the Whalers to second in the Country Cup standings behind Bunbury and Districts Cricket Association ahead of the final round in Albany on November 18.
Zane Marwick said there was still plenty of improvement in his side as they aim to finish in the top two and reach next month’s final.
“We still underachieved a bit with the bat, not batting our overs and getting 250,” he said.
“The bowling and fielding was really good, a lot better than last week. Nath (Crosby) is in very good form and really held our innings together when we lost two clumps of wickets.
“We now play Bunbury who are going to be the best team we’ve come up against, we have to keep improving on the areas we’ve assessed we need to improve and give ourselves a chance of making the final.”