By LIAM TWOMEY
A SEVEN-wicket haul from gun quick Jake Haberfield has put Footscray Edgewater in the box seat of its Premier Cricket clash with Melbourne Uni.
In the first match back from the Christmas break, Haberfield picked up exactly where he left off in the first half of the season, removing opening batsman Thomas Polkinghorne for a duck.
That was only the beginning of the pain for the batting side though as the former South Australian proved a constant headache throughout the innings.
Haberfield’s figures of 7/67 take his season tally to 34 at an average of just 14.15.
The constant flow of wickets restricted Melbourne Uni to 227 from 72.4 overs.
Mark Simpson was the pick of the batsmen with 61 while Daniel Hutton also made 38.
For Footscray, the remaining wickets were taken by Hamish Winter-Irving (2/35) and Michael Kelly (1/33).
Footscray captain Dean Russ was full of praise for Haberfield.
“The big thing that surprises me the most about Jake is his ability to bowl long spells and maintain his pace,” he said.
In his opening spell he bowled 12 overs on the trot and bowled 23 overs for the day which is just an outstanding effort. It just shows his quality as a bowler.
“I would have thought 250 to 270 is probably par at that ground. The deck was quite tacky and offered us a bit early. Having them 4/50 we wanted to strive to contain them to under 200. At the end of the day, rolling them for 227, you would take that.”
With 14 overs left in the day’s play, Russ and Anthony Barton padded up for the Bulldogs and raced to an impressive start.
The pair added 52 for the first wicket before Barton was removed by Fawad Ahmed for 23.
Footscray will resume its innings this week at 1/56, needing a further 172 to claim victory.
Russ said batting in partnerships and the battle with Ahmed would be the key to chasing down the remaining runs this week.
“I think if we can starve him (Ahmed) from wickets, that is probably the biggest one,” Russ said.
“He is a very good bowler. If we can stop him from getting wickets as much as possible and score at the other end, that will be a key.
“The biggest thing is just partnerships. If one bloke in the top five can go on and get a 70 or an 80 at least, that should be enough to see us through.”