Former Cooma stalwart Brayden Stone guided Kyabram Fire Brigade to a narrow win against his previous side on Saturday.By Geordie Cowan
Kyabram Fire Brigade coach Brayden Stone returned to haunt his former side, Cooma, as he guided the Flames to a narrow two-wicket win on Saturday.
Stone, who spent 16 years at Cooma before moving to Fire Brigade this season, scored 38 not out as the Flames passed the target of 115 in the final over.
The win means Fire Brigade is one of three undefeated teams, joining Echuca and reigning premier Rochester Tigers after three rounds.
In a tough low-scoring battle, Stone’s innings proved the difference between the two teams as he and Jarrod Chapman (12 not out) put on about 30 runs together to earn the win.
Earlier, Cooma posted a competitive total thanks in main to the aggressive innings by captain Michael Hill.
Coming in to bat at 2/7 and under early pressure, Hill first had a 34-run partnership with opener Nick Hubble (13) and then 42 runs with Tannar Cerrone (20).
The captain struck seven boundaries on his way to making a half-century, before the home side closed its innings on 9/114.
Part of the reason for the low score was Fire Brigade’s bowling attack, which saw Tyrone Isitt capture two wickets and concede just four runs from his eight overs, while Joe Taylor was the prime wicket-taker with 3/50, with Chapman (2/21) and Brendan White (1/10) chipping in.
In reply, the Flames started extremely well and were coasting at 0/39 in the 14th over before Taylor (18) was caught behind square leg off Hubble.
Trevor Watts (19) was next to go and the wickets kept tumbling with Hubble (4/22) proving exceptionally fruitful.
Wickets to Hill (2/21), Liam Barrett (1/28) and Russ Napier (1/12) saw Fire Brigade collapse to about 8/90, before Stone and Chapman scored the final runs.
Flames captain Daniel Kent said Stone played an excellent innings in the context of the match.
‘‘He was under a lot of pressure, being (against) his old club and the circumstances of the game,’’ Kent said.
‘‘He played a really experienced knock and won us the game.’’
The captain said Stone was the only batsman to truly adjust to the slow wicket — as shown by many players caught at cover and mid-wicket — but had hoped for an easier chase.
‘‘But (Cooma) bowled and fielded really well,’’ Kent said.
‘‘We knew it was going to be a tough game ... but I was never too stressed because we bat down to 11.’’
Kent praised the performances of his bowlers, especially the two out-swing openers in Isitt and White.
‘‘They were really, really unlucky. They beat the bat about 15 to 20 times each,’’ he said.
‘‘Tyrone will have a day out and get six wickets one time. He is a top-line bowler.’’
‘‘Our goal was to get to 3-0 and we have achieved that without playing great wicket, but we are looking forward to the two-dayers.’’
Cooma captain Michael Hill said it was pretty disappointing to not come away with the win but there were still many pleasing aspects for his young side.
‘‘At stages during our bowling innings we probably should’ve won from where we were,’’ he said.
‘‘But they got off to a pretty good start, so to tie them back — with Nick Hubble taking four wickets in the middle really bringing us back in the game — was really good.
‘‘The pressure we put on them in the field and a lot of the young boys were really good.’’
Hill said the team knew what it had to work on and was now looking forward to the start of two-day competition.
The Flames now have the bye and will return at home against Rochester United on November 16, while Cooma will travel to play Moama.
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