Norths defeated Brothers by one wicket in Round 2 of the DBCT Poole Cup at Harrup Park. Norths' Conor Bryant (left) walks off with teammate Blair Holden after hitting the winning runs. Photo: Callum Dick
Norths defeated Brothers by one wicket in Round 2 of the DBCT Poole Cup at Harrup Park. Norths' Conor Bryant (left) walks off with teammate Blair Holden after hitting the winning runs. Photo: Callum Dick

Bryant’s bat wins the day in ‘game of inches’

CONOR Bryant strode confidently to the crease with his side eight wickets down needing 19 runs to win.

Replacing Kerrod Tortora in the middle, Bryant stood mostly at the nonstriker’s end and watched as Lane Kohler teed off to get Norths within three runs of Brothers’ total of 210.

When Kohler was dismissed, caught off the bowling of Mitch Wadsworth, Blair Holden joined Bryant with the game resting in the balance.

Holden saw off three nervous deliveries with a straight bat and set the scene for Bryant to be Norths’ saviour.

Shrugging off a hit to the helmet only a few balls earlier, Bryant this time found the middle of the bat, cleared the rope, and ended the thrilling contest in Norths’ favour.

Skipper Peter Shepherd, who was again the pick of the batsmen with a stellar knock of 66, breathed a sigh of relief. The boys in red rejoiced.

Bryant cracked a smile.

“I love it,” he said.

“Cricket is always a bit more fun when it comes down to the wire.

“It’s the intensity of the whole day. You don’t know until that last ball; don’t know until that last run is scored.

“We were nine down. If I get bowled that last ball we lose. (But) I hit those runs, so we win.”

Norths defeated Brothers by one wicket in Round 2 of the DBCT Poole Cup at Harrup Park. Brothers' Mitch Wadsworth bowls to Norths' Conor Bryant. Photo: Callum Dick
Norths defeated Brothers by one wicket in Round 2 of the DBCT Poole Cup at Harrup Park. Brothers' Mitch Wadsworth bowls to Norths' Conor Bryant. Photo: Callum Dick

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Prior to heading to the middle, Bryant leant on a wall and was able to crack jokes with his teammates.

He hoped he would not be needed but knew if he was, he would not be overawed by the situation.

It comes with experience, he said.

“These are pressure situations that playing senior cricket for a long time starts to prepare you for,” Bryant said.

“I definitely didn’t handle this sort of situation well when I first came into seniors.

“Today was a bit easier because we had all those overs sitting there. I could have blocked out for another 12 balls before I had to hit anything, or waited for them to make a mistake.”

After a big win over Pioneer Valley in the opening round, Bryant said Norths steeled themselves for the test against Brothers.

In what is shaping as one of the most even 40-over competitions in recent memory, he said prevailing in “the game of inches” would be crucial this season.

“That game of inches was here today and it was great to get a tight win over a good team,” he said.

“We mentioned it at the start of the game that we have to make winning a habit. We can’t just keep resting on the (formula) of big fellas scoring big runs to win big games.

“No Butters (Jason Butterworth) today so the other boys had to stand up. Sheppy again with another big haul on his shoulders … we bat all the way to 11, which is good. It’s helpful.”

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