Cricket: disappointment as Central Highlands suffers collapse

COACH Paull Jeffrey described it post game as “losing the unlosable match”, which is exactly what Central Highlands managed to do against the Inner South East Scorpions in yesterday’s semi-final of the Victorian state cricket championships.

The Highlanders’ under-18 squad let slip a host of golden opportunities in the drawn game at Princess Park, which resulted in a Scorpions win via percentage.

The defending champions suffered a monumental collapse in the field after batting first for a total of 9-146 before keeping the Scorpions to just 5-120 in the first 18 overs of the reduced Twenty20 game.

The capitulation began with a dropped catch at long-on in the last ball of the 19th over, which eventually went for four runs and led to three more dropped catches in the 20th over, allowing the Scorpions to make the equalising 6-146.

“The old saying is that catches win matches and we’ve learned a few things after the game,” Jeffrey said.

“It was one of the worst fielding performances I’ve ever seen, as poor a catching performance as I’ve seen.

“They (the Scorpions) had an extreme amount of luck and we still feel like we deserved to be playing the final at the MCG.”

Were the Highlanders to win, it would have been the third consecutive year in which they would have been contesting the grand final.

Central Highlands captain Pat McKenna again led by example, making 70 runs with the bat and taking 1-23, and subsequently finished with the most runs of all players throughout the series.

“He’s made the most runs for the tournament and I think he’s captained really well over the past week,” Jeffrey said.

“I’m still really proud of the boys for the way they’ve played.”

The other semi-final, held between the Outer East Eagles and the Southern Pioneers, was abandoned due to a wet pitch and will be contested at a later date.

The final won’t be held until February 23.

• Central Highlands under-14 and under-16 girls’ games were called off yesterday due to the heat.

Today’s games have also been abandoned.