ONE of the Central West's best bowling line-ups in recent memory has delivered a one-wicket win over Central Highlands in Longreach at the weekend.
The powerful bowling attack, led by Longreach captain Paul Currin (3-30), took no prisoners in the one-off representative fixture.
The CH visitors were left floundering in the top order at 3-44 and then 4-49, before a patient half century from Rolleston's Isaac Jones (51) steadied the ship.
Emerald wicketkeeper Rowan Richardson also made a handy 20 runs, together with a quick-fire 21 from CH captain Chris O'Shea, before the side was bowled out for 165.
O'Shea said early wickets were a must for CH in the second innings if they were to have any chance of taking a win.
Cue the invaluable contributions of Nick Winen (2-26 off six overs) and Magpies' all-rounder Nev Suell (2-46 off 10 overs), and bettered only by Jamie Schultz (3-23 off 10 overs) late in the match.
However there was little any bowler could do to halt the progress of the Longreach wicketkeeper who stole the show with an unbeaten 67 runs. The playmaker plied a 55-run partnership with Sam Gilbert (22 not out) to take the game in the 43rd over.
O'Shea said the nail-biting encounter was a testament to the skills shown by the Longreach bowlers.
"It's the best bowling line-up we've come up against pretty much as long as we've been playing," he said.
"But it's always tough travelling out there.
"We were missing at least five of our under-19 players who were away with CQ cricket.
"But that's no excuse, we batted poorly."
The attention now turns to the four-way Central Queensland representative competition, with Central Highlands taking on Rockhampton next weekend in Emerald.
And the task won't be getting any easier either, as Rockhampton looks to maintain its 10-year winning hoodoo over Central Highlands in round one of the series.
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