STAND OUT: McDonald Lawson’s Jamie O’Brien shows this ball he full face of the bat during his match-winning knock of 83 at Cahill Park on Saturday. Photo: Col Boyd 070315 FirstGrade 596McDonald Lawson all-rounder Jamie O’Brien has starred in his side’s shock upset of Paragon Hotel in their Mudgee District Cricket minor semi-final.
Bulls veteran Greg Parker admitted before the clash his side was a “one-man band” referring to O’Brien, with his words proving prophetic in their 45-run victory at Cahill Park on Saturday.
O’Brien crafted a well-made 83 with the bat to be the rock of his side’s innings as others chipped in and held up an end on the way to a total of 140.
The all-rounder continued to show his worth to the side as he took 4-26 off 10 overs with the ball to help bundle Paragon out of the running for the 2014-15 first division title.
Parker said O’Brien amazingly continued to step up to the pressure of being the focal point of the side even in a must-win game.
“He’s one of the best cricketers in the town so it was great he was able to play well again for us,” Parker said.
“He scored pretty freely and he was able to get some pretty good support from the others who batted with him
“But we fielded pretty well when it was our time as well, so that kept the pressure up.”
With O’Brien setting the tone for his side at one end, Paragon off-spinner David Edwards worked wonders with the ball to wrap up the tail of the innings, finishing with 4-9 off three to ensure his side were not chasing even more.
McDonald Lawson got the start they were after when they secured their first wicket with just 15 on the board before Will Lindsay and skipper Steve Knight started to right the innings.
“I really didn’t think 140 was going to be enough,” Parker admitted.
“Steve and Will started to put on a pretty good partnership at the top of their order and I started to think it might have been slipping away from us a little then.
“But when we got them out, they were always going to be the key wickets, but we had to not get ahead of ourselves too much.”
Both Lindsay (32) and Knight (21) became victims of O’Brien as he broke through to stop the promising partnership at 46.
Wickets began to tumble with Paragon losing 8-28 as their chances of victory evaporated in front of their eyes with Seton Croake providing O’Brien with excellent support with the ball to finish with 3-7 off 10 overs with four maidens.
Paragon captain Knight was left to wonder what might have been from season 2014-15 but admitted his side did not make the most of the chances it created in its last game for the season.
“Credit to Jamie for how he batted for them, but we dropped him four times,” Knight said.
“Catches win matches, and I won’t lie it was a pretty disappointing finish for our season but we didn’t capitalise as well as we should have.”
Despite his side being bundled out in the first round of the finals, Knight said there were still plenty of positives for the side moving forward, the bowling of Guy Hammond being one.
“We’re a side that was put together pretty quickly at the start of the season so Will (Lindsay) and I got things going and I have not been able to question the effort from the guys all season,” he said.
“But a couple of results didn’t go our way, but I think most of the guys will be keen to have another crack next season.”
Knight warned Lawson and Woolpack to take the Bull’s lightly at their own peril, saying their disciplined bowling attack has the potential to take them to a shock grand final victory.
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