Hastings River progress to final with two-wicket win over Manning River

DESPITE a two-wicket win with five overs to spare, Hastings know they have to be better.

The host side qualified for the inter-district final on January 22 when they successfully chased down Manning River’s competitive total of 262 on Sunday.

Team manager Matt Day said it was a measured run chase which saw Hastings River cruise home, set up by a swashbuckling 46 from opener Chris Cole at the top of the order.

“At one stage we were going at eight an over after eight overs so we were always on track,” Day said.

“It was a really good effort by the boys and while Manning were a little understrength, you’ve still got to be able to do the job.”

After the scintillating start, Cole was dismissed and Hastings proceeded to score just 14 runs off the next 10 overs.

Contributions from everyone down the batting order made the task of going at five runs per over much easier.

Aaron Hagenbach (34), Jack Connolly (32), Josh Hyde (29), Jeremy Cowin (26), Liam Coelho (22) and Ethan Hyde (20) all chipped in.

But it was a late-innings cameo from Wauchope’s Bailey Smith (29 not out) that completed the job.

Day said the team took confidence out of last week’s loss to Coffs Harbour in Dorrigo where they fell just short of chasing a similar total.

They did the job by setting small goals along the way.

“We spoke about that (the Dorrigo game) before our innings and said where we wanted to be at certain points,” he said.

“That’s what you’ve got to do in run chases like that one. We wanted to be one down at the first drinks break and we were.”

After fielding first, an imposing score of more than 300 looked likely when the ball was flying to all parts of Oxley Oval.

Enter Smith.

The Wauchope RSL spinner was the pick of the bowlers and put the brakes on the scoring rate, finishing with the figures of 2-24 off 10 overs.

“They batted well, no doubt about that and while it’s easy to say now, I’m confident we could have chased down a target of 300,” Day said.

“260 was still a good score and we’ve got to improve.”

With the ball, Luke Boxhall took one wicket, while captain Josh Hyde claimed three and Brendan Badenoch finished with 1-38 off 10 overs.

“Other than Bailey there weren’t really any standouts with the ball,” Day said.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do with our bowling.”

The two sides will meet again in the final which will be held in Taree.

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