Reigning Haisman Shield premier Numurkah returned to its perch on top of the competition on Saturday, but it did not come without gaining a true appreciation of how dangerous opponent Nagambie might be.
Having made 8-309 last weekend, the Blues were thankful their batsmen had produced such a big score as the Lakers’ willow-wielders made 243, a score that would typically win an A-grade match.
The Lakers made a poor start to what was always going to be a near-impossible chase, losing Dale Short (duck) and Ricky Misiti (four) early to be 2-4.
But Luke and Mark Nolan steadied the ship and took over as they have all season, adding 107 runs for the third wicket — their third 100-run partnership of the season — to take the Lakers to 2-111 before Blues captain Liam Gledhill trapped Luke leg before for 39.
Gledhill struck again with Tyrone Muir caught for eight, but the big blow came from Michael Eckard, with Mark Nolan going leg before for 73.
At 5-126, Nagambie looked in trouble but it kept battling. Zac Winter-Irving was run out for 18, but Brayden Biggs (30) and Matt Martin (56 not out) looked the goods before the Lakers were bowled out for 243.
Gledhill finished with 3-49, but his quick-fire double to take the Lakers from 2-11 to 4-126 was the clear defining spell of the match, with Mitch Grandell finishing with 2-30.
While it ended their undefeated start to the season and dropped them to second on the ladder, the Lakers will take plenty of confidence from their strong batting, particularly coming against the typically suffocating outfit that is Numurkah.
Mark Nolan's outstanding season rolled on to give him a whopping 430 runs at 86 — within 34 runs of his entire 2018-19 tally — while partnerships between he and brother Luke are now averaging 76.3.
The Lakers have the bye this weekend and will not play again until January 11, while Numurkah will try and hit the Christmas break with a victory against Northerners.
● Nagambie’s James Auld (4-7) and Sam Villinger (3-8) ripped through Toolamba’s batting line-up to wrap up a C-grade victory for the Lakers on Saturday.
Defending a total of 134, the Lakers wasted little time in dismissing Toolamba for 94 from just over 34 overs.
The Lakers went in to bat for a second time, declaring on 4-89 at the end of the day, with skipper Blair Taylor-Lloyd sitting on 25 not out.