Mariners firsts suffer outright loss while second grade wins thriller

Rockingham-Mandurah is all but out of the race for finals after an outright loss to Willetton in round 13 of the Western Australian Premier Cricket season.

The Mariners first grade are still a mathematical chance but will need to rely on three teams ahead of them to falter, while the second grade have caught fire in the new year to be just two points away from the top six.

At Burrendah Reserve, Willetton’s firsts quickly bagged first innings points, overtaking the visitors’ 168 in the first hour with six wickets to play with.

Rockingham-Mandurah captain Craig Simmons snared his 10th five-wicket haul with 5/58 as the Dragons declared with an 80 run lead at 9/248.

The Mariners lost their first three wickets for 26 and at 5/48, it was only a matter of time. Nick Willis top-scored in the second innings dig of 130 with a resolute 38 not out.

Simmons finished with seven wickets for the match with 2/12 in Willetton’s second knock as the home team polished off the runs two down to keep pace at equal top on the ladder with Claremont-Nedlands.

Second grade had a thrilling one wicket outright triumph, the Mariners fourth straight victory, in a match of great enterprise at Lark Hill.

Rockingham-Mandurah declared just 19 ahead on the first innings despite being just four wickets down. Nathan Hutchison (49) and Eric Botha (43) lead the way for the hosts in the score of 4/188.

Willetton’s second innings was closed after 40.5 overs with 8/193, an overall lead of 174.

Ryan Done claimed 5/83 and Botha’s fine match continued with 3/50 to go with his five wicket first innings bag.

The Mariners had to work fast in an extended T20-style chase and lost a cluster of wickets to be 5/100.

Joel Marion (31) held his nerve and the late order together to get the job completed in the nick of time in 23.1 overs at 9/177.

Kai Harrison top scored with 35 and Botha fittingly contributed with 32 in a match-winning performance of 75 runs and eight wickets over both days.