Hilliers help Division One to top spot

By Jamie Lowe

The Deni Rhinos have charged their way to the top of the Murray Valley Cricket Association Division One ladder after a dominant win over Finley on Saturday.

In what was ideal weather for cricket, the Hilliers got stuck in to the previously top seeded Cats with bat and ball at Memorial Park.

With a bowling performance that held the Cats to one of their lowest scores of the season, brothers Kai (3/14 off seven) and Charlie Hillier (4/15 off six) grabbed a total of seven wickets between them.

Their older brother Harry finished off their work with the bat, steering the Rhinos to victory with 43 not out in a successful run chase.

After Cats paceman Darcy Webb won the toss for the Cats and chose to bat, it was left to the opening bowlers of the Rhinos to do the early damage.

Opening with a pace/spin attack proved to be the perfect captaincy decision as Chris Pyle (2/13 off six) gave Kai (3/14 off seven) and himself the new ball.

After seeing out the first over of Kai, opening batter Adnan Malik (0 runs) fell to the Pyle spin with the ball defended before taking an unfortunate roll between Malik’s legs and rolling into the stumps in just the second over.

This brought Dan Hughes (16) to the crease. 

Finley captain Cougar McGrath looked to be the more aggressive of the two batters but fell in Kai's second over to a length ball on off-stump that sent the bails flying.

With the Cats shorthanded batting line up getting a mix up, Division Two call up Ian Swain saw his first action of the season, patiently seeing the ball around the oval before lifting his head and falling to a catch on the boundary.

Rhino’s captain Pyle used another spin and pace attack with Anthony Bradley (1/11 off six) and Lachlan Barrett (0/19 off five) up against Hughes and Murray Urquhart.

After taking a ball to the neck off the pace bowling of Barrett, Urquhart put his bat to use slogging Barrett down the ground for ‘four’ the very next ball.

Urquhart’s big hitting didn’t last long however with Bradley dismissing him caught soon after.

Matthew Wilson and Hughes saw the ball out until the drinks break with a lot of work to do in the next 20 overs due to the economic firepower of the Rhino’s attack.

This brought Charlie Hillier, who bowled off-spin on Saturday, into the attack, taking the Cats’ first drop batsman Hughes, whose poor shot choice saw him walk to a plum LBW decision.

It didn’t take long for the wickets to fall after that with Charlie doing the bulk of the damage.

The only resistance came from Cats’ Division Two captain and call up, Ryan Donkin (20) who top scored for the away side with quick aggressive batting.

The Rhinos barrelled through the Cats’ batting line-up in 33 overs, with Finley finishing all out for 89.

Heading in with a small run chase on their hands, the Rhinos looked to put away any loose balls and respect the good ones.

Unfortunately this was not the case for opening batsman Angus Campbell (one), who fell to opening bowler Darcy Webb who did all the work himself, taking an easy caught and bowled.

It was time for another Hillier to step up to the theme of the day with Harry Hillier putting together a 79 run partnership with Rhino’s captain Pyle (31).

The pair managed to push the score to 84 before Pyle was caught.

Strong batting trumped the enthusiastic Cats on the day however, with Kai Hillier (one not out) in the middle with his brother when the Rhinos put away the win with eight wickets in hand in the 19th over.

The Rhinos will now travel to Nathalia on Saturday to take on the bottom ranked side in their effort to maintain their newly earned top spot.

The Division Two Rhinos were unable to overcome Cobram-Yarroweyah United on Saturday, with CYU scoring a three-wicket win.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, the Rhinos finished all out for 101 after 33 overs.

In response CYU managed to chase down the total with four overs to spare, finishing 7/107 after 31 overs.

The Rhinos will have the tough task of travelling to Cobram to face the second placed Tigers this Saturday.