The best in the business

GLIDE: Irrewarra all-rounder Ian Scoble plays a cut shot past Alvie wicket-keeper Liam McGuane and Luke McLennan at Irrewarra Reserve on Saturday.

Irrewarra captain Tim Foley has rated Alvie duo Jake McGuane and Mark Kent as the best opening combination in Division One following their stunning bowling performance on Saturday.
The strong-arm speedsters locked down on Irrewarra’s batsmen at the weekend to inflict the ladder leader’s first defeat of the season and catapult their own team into the top four for the first time since round three.
After stumbling through the one-day and Twenty20 rounds, Alvie has turned it on in the two-day form – as promised – and completed its biggest win of the season on Saturday by bowling out Irrewarra for 170 from 66.2 overs.
Skipper Michal Groves has now led last season’s grand finalists to three straight victories and Saturday’s 99-run-victory – worth 16.69 premiership points – lifted Alvie from fifth to third.
In truth, Irrewarra was pounded into submission by McGuane – the top-grade’s quickest bowler – and Kent – the league’s most accurate and economical seamer.
The one-two punch combined for 5-47 off 36 overs, ensuring Irrewarra was no chance of eclipsing Alvie’s 269 on a rain-affected outfield at Irrewarra Recreation Reserve.
McGuane, 4-19 off 16 overs, and Kent, 1-28 off 20 overs, took the key wickets of Brent Hay, 2, Jack Cole, 4, Foley, 11, Jake Carmody, 5, and Ian Scoble, 10.
By the time they were finished, the duo had left Irrewarra a mile behind the required run rate at 5-80 at tea.
Foley said McGuane’s pace and aggressiveness teamed with Kent’s machine-like line and length had given Alvie the perfect new-ball formula.
“I’d say they’re the best going around at the moment,” Foley said.
“Jake finished with the wickets but I thought Mark actually bowled better,” he said.
“He hardly bowled a bad ball for 20 overs so he was unlucky not to get more wickets.
“If you didn’t see the figures, you would have said Mark was actually the pick of the bowlers.
“Jake just tends to have the golden arm, he is a bit more erratic but tends to pick up the wickets.”
Since McGuane joined Kent this season, the pair has generated 25 wickets at an average of 11.88.
More than that, they have tied up the opposition’s top-order in the first session, which has forced the middle-order to play aggressively against spin brothers Chris and Tim McKay, who have cashed in for wickets.
McGuane claimed 50 CricketStar points for his four-wicket haul and has now taken 18 scalps for the summer – the second most of any Division One bowler.
Irrewarra had little to savour on a day where the club watched its five-game winning streak ended by first-rate bowling and near-flawless catching.
But the return to form of former skipper Kane Quickensted did provide one source of encouragement for Foley and the rest of the Irrewarra hierarchy.
Batting at number seven, Quickensted notched his highest score of the season, a steady 44, during the only meaningful partnership of the day with number six David Jackson, who top-scored with 49 – also a personal best this summer.

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