ACT/NSW Country has fallen an agonising 19 runs short of victory on the final day of its Toyota Futures League match against Victoria at Junction Oval on Thursday.
The visitors were dismissed for 396 after they resumed the day in the strong position of 2/221. Opening bowler Xavier Crone led his team to victory with ball in hand. He claimed 6-88.
Tailender Joe Kershaw (41) was the last remaining hope with a single wicket in hand. Together with No. 11 Tom Pinson (8 not out), Kershaw put on 36 for the final wicket and a miracle seemed possible until Jake Reed (2-60) intervened to dismiss the No. 10.
Kershaw also shared a 38-run eighth wicket stand with allrounder Tom Engelbrecht (49) to give ACT/NSW Country a chance at claiming the outright points.
It was the first loss of the season for ACT/NSW Country.
Earlier in the day, opening batsman Henry Hunt fell two shy of his second century in the Futures League this season. He was dismissed for 98 from 180 balls, bowled by Crone, after he was 95 not out overnight.
Sydney Sixers’ batsman Justin Avendano (82) was the next best score for ACT/NSW Country after the day started with so much promise.
ACT/NSW Country began the day needing 194 to win with eight wickets in hand, but the loss of Hunt and Avendano, both to the bowling of Crone, proved definitive.
Despite valiant efforts from Engelbrecht and Kershaw, the visitors lost consistent wickets and were unable to develop a partnership that could steer the side to victory.
Reed, who replaced quick Jackson Coleman during the match as a substitute, and Sam Grimwade (2-37) both joined Crone in the wickets column for Victoria.
Scorecard here: https://bit.ly/2B215kN.