If ORC do somehow manage to qualify for and make an impact in the Commonwealth Bank Cup finals series starting in three weeks, they will look back on Saturday’s 10th wicket stand between Mick Fardon and Tim McKinnon as the defining point of their season.
Facing certain defeat against Blayney at Morse Park 2, the number 10 and 11 combined for a superb 119-run partnership, believed to be the best in the club’s history, to keep their side in the hunt for a top four spot going into the final round of the competition against Rugby Union.
Things had looked forlorn at 9-96 needing another 57 for victory but the pair, who have previously put on 95 together, were resolute.
Aside from one particular alarm where McKinnon was shelled at first slip from the bowling of Yousuf Qureshi, you could have been forgiven for thinking the Tigers’ batting order had been reversed.
Fardon was eventually the last man dismissed for 69 while McKinnon was left stranded painfully short of his maiden half-century at 46 not out.
It wasn’t such a memorable day from a Blayney perspective as the competition newcomers produced some superb fielding to get themselves into an almost unbeatable position only for the wickets to dry up when they needed them the most.
“That was awesome,” ORC captain Brendan Inwood said.
“To tell the truth, although you’d never be backing the team who is nine-down to win from that situation, we hadn’t given up hope at all because T-Mack has been doing that all year. Everyone knows that Fardo can bat, he’d be in the top six or seven for a lot of sides.
“The bigger concern was the rain coming and going. We thought that if we could stay out there long enough we were a chance. “It is one thing to think that though, to actually see them do it was something else altogether.
“If that doesn’t motivate us for the last round, nothing will.”ORC resumed their innings at 3-29 chasing 153 to win, but they were soon in strife when Inwood was brilliantly caught at short mid-on from the bowling of Dave Rogerson.
Plenty hinged on the partnership of Jeremy Judge and Ben Cummings, but their union was cut short when Cummings was run-out by a direct hit from point.
At that stage all the momentum was with Jameel Qureshi’s side.
Judge and Trent Fitzpatrick almost hauled their side to parity, but a leading edge saw Judge depart for 29. When Ben Spence was adjudged leg-before without scoring the signs were bad for the premiers at 7-70.
With rain a constant threat, it appeared that one downpour might be enough to end the match and accordingly ORC’s best chance lay in getting ahead of Blayney’s run-rate at the same stage of their innings.
They lost Sam Debenham and Fitzpatrick (31) soon after and were still behind the run-rate but after a brief interruption, play continued.
Fardon and McKinnon weren’t adventurous initially, but as the runs began to build so too did their confidence and the pair unfurled some nice shots.
As tension mounted there were some moments of angst for the pair as Yousuf Qureshi in particular had some close calls.
However, in the 59th over a scampered leg-bye brought victory with it and to rub salt into the wound the ORC duo added another 62.
Rogerson played a titanic hand with the ball, getting through 22 overs in difficult conditions to take 3-80, while Jayden Fuller and Jim Stanbridge took two wickets each.
“I do feel for Blayney, they were the better side for the majority of their innings, it was only in the last 10 or 15 overs that we were able to crack them and then in our innings they were all over us for most of it,” Inwood said.
“But we’ve not had a lot go our way this season so I’ll take it, and I think the job that Fardo and Timmy did is a good lesson to everyone in the side that it doesn’t matter how bad you’re going, you just have to value your wicket and keep trying. You never know what’s going to happen.”
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