Penola is staring down its first win of the Barber Shield after an excellent first day against North Sportsman’s during Round 4.
Penola won the toss and elected to bat, a decision that would pay dividends later in the day.
Early in the day Penola’s decision was still in question as Isaac Mulraney took the first breakthrough dismissing Lewis March for 5.
The wicket of March brought Michael Waters to the crease, and together with Jack Mullan Penola the pair built a strong partnership that North could not break.
The pair was excellent, controlling the match and scoring freely, Mathew Robinson was handed the ball to find the breakthrough and delivered.
March fell just short of his half century, caught LBW on 42.
Not long after the breakthrough Waters was also out caught and bowled by Elliot Fisher for an excellent 61.
Fisher turned the game around with three more quick wickets of Eli Hunter, Nathan Fulton and Mathew Honner.
Jacob Robbie provided some crucial runs in the middle order knocking 33 runs off 65 balls.
The Tigers ripped through the rest of the bottom order to bowl the Eagles all out for 179 after 62.4 overs.
Fisher was the pick of the bowlers, claiming an impressive four wickets for 49 runs in his 19 overs.
Mulraney and Declan Kenny chipped in with two wickets each, while Timothy Young and Robinson each took one.
North had 14 overs to last out for the day and it was not the start it was hoping for.
After conceding just the single run in the first two overs, Penola applied even more pressure with Waters dismissing Robinson for a duck.
Joshua Doyle got the next breakthrough an over later with Alex Hutton going for 6.
Elliot Fisher and Brad Robinson attempted to build a partnership and see out the day but it was not to be.
Fisher was caught on one in the eighth over, and Robinson fell just short of surviving the day out being bowled in the 12th over.
At stumps, Nick McInerney remained unbeaten on four runs, and Nicolas Brown, who came in as a nightwatchman, was not out at six.
Joshua Doyle and Michael Waters led the Penola bowling attack, with Doyle taking two wickets for eight runs, and Waters contributing with one wicket for 10 runs.
The North Sportsman’s team will be looking to rebuild on the second day and close the gap on Penola’s first-innings total, and with an inform McInerney at the crease it is still possible .
With Penola in a commanding position, North Sportsman’s will need a resilient batting performance to make a comeback and remain undefeated in the 2023/24 season.