Tongala's Ben Scowen fell agonisingly short of his first century on the weekend, falling for 98 after handling the final ball of the innings.LUKE MCMANUS December 6, 2013 4:05am
Tongala’s Ben Scowen knows all about the ‘nervous nineties’.
Having fallen short of a century ‘‘three or four times’’ in his career, Scowen believed his chance had finally arrived when he reached 98 runs against Stanhope last weekend.
Aware of his absence the following week, it came down to the final ball of the day with Scowen needing just two runs to convert his superb innings into his first ton.
The ball was bowled, then disaster struck.
‘‘I tried to find the gap in the offside, but mistimed the shot, and played the ball into the ground,’’ Scowen said.
‘‘The ball popped up and got in the way as I took off for the first run so, in a bit of a panic, I hit it again.
‘‘I knew it was a double hit. I can’t really explain why I did it, I was just caught up in the moment.’’
Much to Scowen’s frustration, and the utter bewilderment of players from both sides of the fence, he was eventually dismissed, ‘handling the ball’.
‘‘Everyone was a bit confused,’’ he said.
‘‘Even the umpires were confused as to what actually happened or how to give it out. It wasn’t until both sides were walking off the field that I was officially given out.’’
While his teammates and counterparts mulled over the rare occurrence, a dashed Scowen was left to rue another missed opportunity with the willow.
‘‘It was disappointing not to go on with it,’’ he said.
‘‘Against an undermanned opposition, I thought it would be a good chance to get some runs on the board.
‘‘A century is something you always aim for and falling two runs short is frustrating, considering it’s happened a few times before. I’ve made some good starts this season but just haven’t been able to convert.
‘‘I’m just looking forward to the next opportunity.’’
And he’s bound to get another opportunity as well, with the number three batsman averaging 46.40 in season 2013, boasting scores of 72 not out, 67 not out and 54 on top of last weekend’s knock.
Scowen is the competition’s third highest run scorer (232), behind Echuca’s Taylor Beard (289) and Curtis Townrow (235), and has laid claim as the most important member of Tongala’s batting order with each of his half-centuries coinciding directly with a team victory.
Sitting fourth on the ladder, Tongala is within an arm’s reach of the three undefeated teams as it attempts to secure its second consecutive outright victory tomorrow.
If Scowen’s form persists, mixed with regular contributions from teammates, expect Tongala to mount a serious challenge for a top three spot when Goulburn Murray Cricket resumes in the new year.
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