EAST Albury’s chances of avoiding relegation sky-rocketed when the Crows scored the upset of the Cricket Albury-Wodonga Provincial season by toppling St Patrick’s at Alexandra Park on Saturday.
With skipper Joel Shepherd making his first appearance this season due to injury, the home team knocked over the perennial heavyweight for 101 and chased down the target with the loss of only one wicket.
The win moved East Albury to within three points of seventh-placed Albury after the club’s season looked doomed only two rounds ago.
Englishman Tom Wells was outstanding with the bat and ball, taking 2-15 off six overs and top-scoring with 56 not out, with Shepherd admitting his arrival had been a godsend.
“It was a good toss to win and the boys played well,” Shepherd said.
“Our bowling was the main thing and I just think everyone is starting to back themselves a bit more.
“We have been training hard and getting some confidence in ourselves.
“Tom has been really good as well and hopefully we can keep it going.”
St Patrick’s never looked comfortable after being sent in on a lively wicket with Kane Arendarcikas (26) and Luke Restall (20) saving the Patties from complete embarrassment after they were bowled out in the 42nd over.
The wicket-taking spree looked set to continue when East Albury lost opener Hayden Coulson for a duck.
But Wells and Shepherd (41 not out) then came together and put on an unbeaten 102-run partnership to steer the Crows to their best win of the season.
Wodonga slipped out of the top four after losing to Belvoir by 29 runs at Les Cheesley Oval.
The Eagles made 9-224 after being sent in with Josh Freake (40) and Cameron Lodding (37) enabling the visitors to put a respectable score on the board against some solid bowling from Byron Hales, Jack Craig and Leigh Collins.
Wodonga’s batting has been plagued by inconsistency and it again proved its downfall as Mick Russell and Ryan McNeil held the Bulldogs to 198 in the run chase,
Lavington won a hard-fought tussle against Albury by 24 runs at Lavington Oval.