Kyabram is breathing a sigh of relief after posting its first win since joining Cricket Shepparton's Haisman Shield.By Damen Francis
Kyabram can finally stand up straight again.
The monkey sat on the team’s back for 17 matches — including all 15 of its maiden Haisman Shield campaign last season — before being dumped at Mooroopna Recreation Reserve on Saturday, with a 10-run win against Mooroopna.
Redbacks captain Alec Young said the celebrations were reminiscent of a grand final triumph, but relief and belief were felt in equal measure.
‘‘We were pretty happy,’’ Young said.
‘‘Hopefully it gives us some self-belief that we are a chance to win every week.
‘‘It’s easy to turn up when you feel like you’re a chance.’’
Even on Saturday, they did it the hard way.
Bowled out for 156, the visitors could not afford to make any mistakes and their efficiency with the ball and in the field compounded the Cats’ batting woes.
‘‘It was always going to be hard to get early wickets, because the batsmen don’t have to play risky shots,’’ Young said.
‘‘It was the same sort of situation against Numurkah last week, we just had to keep chipping away and accept you’re never 100 per cent in control against good sides.’’
New ball pair Tom Roberts and Robbie O’Donnell removed Mooroopna openers Brady Mulcahy and Sam O’Brien for ducks, before veteran Shane Hughan and Brad Boyle, in his first A-grade appearance of the season, set about a rescue mission, only to depart in quick succession with the job half-done.
Paul Parsons bowled Boyle for 29 and removed Hughan for 57.
The Cats never really recovered and the final turning point came when O’Donnell ran out an otherwise stubborn Michael Coad for 33.
Roberts knocked off the final two wickets to finish with 3-23 — figures Parsons matched.
Earlier, a late flurry from Jack Young helped give the Redbacks something to bowl at, with 40 not out.
Mooroopna coach Brendan Kenna said little mistakes continued to cost his team dearly.
‘‘When we finished bowling I thought 180 was par, so we bowled well,’’ Kenna said.
‘‘We dropped three catches in the field and we lost a couple of early wickets.
‘‘It was good to see Shane and Brad put together a partnership, which we needed, but we’ve got a bit of work to do with batting through the innings. We needed to push ones and twos and consolidate.
‘‘The positives are someone in the top four got a 50 and we got three run outs.’’
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