CAPTAIN Daniel Maher has little doubt that Cardiff-Boolaroo would have lost to Wallsend in the same circumstances last season.
Set 258, thanks to unbeaten centuries by Wallsend skipper Brett Jackson (108) and all-rounder Scott Beveridge (100), the CBs needed six runs off the final three balls with two wickets in hand to snare the points at Cardiff Oval on Saturday.
Leg-spinner Gautam Gandha was the new man at the crease after Beveridge bowled Hayden Callinan.
The 18-year-old, who had scored 28 runs for the season in the top grade, hit his first ball for a two. He repeated the act next delivery, leaving two off the final ball for victory.
Showing nerves of steel, Gandha swung the ball out to deep mid-wicket and scurried through for the required two runs, much to the delight of his teammates.
The win was an example of the new-found belief of last season’s winners of the wooden spoon, who now sit just outside the top four.
‘‘Young Gautam came in and got us home at the end, but everyone chipped in,’’ Maher said.
‘‘If you bat your overs, you should win more games than you lose. It doesn’t matter if it is 50 overs or 90 overs, that is our focus.
‘‘Winning the close games is the difference between having a good season and an average one.
‘‘When you get yourself in position to win, you want to be winning. The last couple of years we have lost those games.
‘‘We weren’t that far off in a lot of games but we lacked that killer instinct.’’
It was a team effort on Saturday. Gandha may have stolen the spotlight but there were many contributors.
Chris Rendina top scored with 50 and received support from Tom Jewell (40), Maher (34), Joseph Wenta (34), Stephen Bradbury (32) and Ray Cooper (20).
‘‘We were reasonably confident,’’ Maher said.
‘‘It was a pretty flat wicket and we bat a long way down.
‘‘You normally need a big partnership when you are chasing a decent score but everyone chipped in and did their job.’’
The undefeated 108 was Jackson’s second ton for the season – both against Cardiff – and was laced with 13 boundaries.
Beveridge brought up his first century for the Tigers off the last ball of the innings, the 88th he had faced.
Cardiff’s win moved them to 41 points, three adrift of fourth-placed Wests, whose game against Newcastle City was one of two washed out on Saturday. The clash between Waratah-Mayfield and University also fell foul of a lunchtime downpour.
Both games were delicately poised.
University were 6-28 in pursuit of the Tahs’ 93 and Wests were 0-6 chasing 120 for victory.
Cardiff have 90-over and 50-over games still to play against Wests. The round 15 and 17 fixtures will go a long way to determining each team’s finals chances, but Maher was not looking that far ahead.
‘‘It will probably go down to the wire, but we haven’t really looked at it,’’ he said. ‘‘If you do the business each week the ladder takes care of itself.’’
The other three games on Saturday were disrupted by rain, and resulted in revised totals for the team batting second.
Toronto rolled Merewether for 162 at No.1 Sportsground, and that target was reduced to 130 from 40 overs.
Toronto, after being 7-52 early, looked set to inflict the Lions’ first loss.
They needed 11 runs with three wickets in hand but crumbled to be all out for 124. Dan Morton was the main destroyer with 4-23.
All-rounder Matt Webber led the way for leaders Hamilton-Wickham, blasting 55 in their 9-262 against Charlestown at Passmore Oval.
The target was cut to 242 from 46 overs but Charlestown were never in the hunt. Webber took 3-26 and Callum Single 3-28 to help bundle the visitors out for 139 and claim two bonus points.
In the final game, Mark Littlewood (79) and Marcus Hainsworth (57 and 4-10) steered Belmont (216 reduced to 130 from 31 overs) to a comfortable win over Stockton-Raymond Terrace (66) at Cahill Oval.