Father-and-son duo take eight for 35
TWO contrasting centuries of the highest quality cancelled each other out, but it was the combined bowling of Gayndah's Shepherds which carried the day against Mundubbera in Gayndah on Saturday.
Ordinarily, when two players in a team have the same last name, it means they are brothers: think the Marshes, Waughs, or Chappells.
But this is bush cricket, and Kaleb Shepherd is Dave Shepherd's 13-year-old son.
Shepherd senior, bowling a skiddy stump-to-stump line, excelled in taking 5 for 34 over two spells, before Kaleb was brought on in the 37th over to blow away the tail with 3 for 1, raising the question of whether he may have been brought on sooner.
Winning the toss and electing to bat, Mundubbera streaked away with a strong opening partnership between Blake Augustine and Bailey Kimber.
Shepherd senior eventually castled Kimber's stumps via an inside edge for a brisk 33 off 35 balls, but it was his second wicket, taken the over before the first drinks break, which really invigorated the Gayndah fielders.
"Shep” bowled full and straight, and batsman Shannon Steinhardt smoked an uppish straight drive, which whistled towards the bowler's groin area like a heat-seeking missile.
Shep managed to twist his body out of the way, while getting both hands down to take the catch, the ball hitting his cupped hands with an audible smack.
"It was an act of self-preservation,” he said.
"I wouldn't have caught it if I was wearing a box (protector).”
Next batsman in, Ross Schulte, stuck around with Augustine, nudging and nurdling his way to 24 off 44 balls, but once wicketkeeper Wes Bramley had him brilliantly caught off Shep's bowling, no other Mundubbera made it to double figures.
However, Gayndah still couldn't find a way through man-mountain Augustine, who continued to rain sixes on the short, straight boundaries the moment the bowlers pitched it full.
He went to the second drinks break on 98 and in the first over after, brought up his century with a casual wave to the clubhouse.
It seemed as though he would carry his bat, until Will McLay had him feathering a bouncer through to 'keeper Bramley for 132 off 101 balls, including seven sixes and nine fours.
A total of 246 seemed a steep ask for Gayndah, especially after being dismissed in the 130s the previous time the two teams met, but Bramley, opening the batting, made an unbeaten 124 off 85 balls, to steer the chase home before the 30th over.
It could have been so different though, had a catch at square leg been held off Augustine's bowling, which would have had Bramley back in the sheds before 10 overs were out, but it didn't go to hand and he didn't offer another chance.
In contrast to Augustine, the left-handed Bramley spent much more time on the back foot, which allowed him to essay a series of gorgeous pulls and hooks, which ultimately reaped him 14 fours and two sixes.
He received good support from the other end, with Jesse George, Lachlan Briskey and Braeden Darlington all making runs at more than a run-a-ball.
Mundubbera's best figures went to Bailey Kimber, who took 2 for 33 off his six overs.
The result salvages some pride for Gayndah, who came into the game 3-nil down and the series already gone.
The final match will be played next month on Mundubbera's Martin Love Oval.