Frenchville go one up in grand final race
CRICKET: Frenchville have drawn first blood in the race for the Rockhampton A-grade premiership, scoring a 52-run win in game one of the best-of-three grand final series on Saturday.
The minor premiers won the toss and elected to bat. They put on 8/211 before dismissing arch-rivals Gracemere for 159 in the 50th over.
Frenchville skipper Joe McGahan said it was another great team performance that secured the win and had them well-positioned to defend their title.
Despite the scoreline, he would not go so far as to say it was a comfortable win.
"In the end it looks like that but we had to work really hard to get to that position,” he said.
"We know from experience that those 200-plus scores are great targets to defend and it turned out to be enough.
"We set ourselves jobs at the start of the game.
"Everyone had their role to play and they played it extremely well and that execution helped us get the win.”
Frenchville made a perfect start with the bat, with openers Lachlan Hartley and Sam Chew putting on a 91-run partnership.
Hartley was given an early life and took full advantage, going on to top score with 67.
Chew made a classy 53, McGahan saying he was the pick of the batters.
Paceman Ben Milne had the best figures of the Gracemere bowlers, taking 3/20 from his 10 overs.
Gracemere captain Aaron Harmsworth said his team did well to restrict Frenchville to 211 after their flying start.
"With their batting order, it could have been a lot worse,” he said.
"On that pitch we were a little bit confident going in. We started well with our openers again and then lost our way in the middle order and it became too much at the end.
"Full credit to Frenchville. Across all three formats of the game - batting, bowling and fielding - they outplayed us today.
"In saying that, we fought and still made them bowl 50 overs.
"Hopefully we can come back on Saturday and make it one-all and have a decider on Sunday.”
Gracemere's Mark O'Keefe made 34, Todd Harmsworth 27 and Bryce Heal 25, while McGahan, Chew and Joe Burke took two wickets apiece for Frenchville.
Both captains weren't expecting any personnel changes for the two remaining games.
"We know now that momentum's with us but we're just going to prepare for next weekend the same as every week,” McGahan said.
Harmsworth said his players would need to "step it up” to keep their title hopes alive.