Tuggeranong Valley skipper Shane Devoy knew he would need another off-spinner up his sleeve when the Floros boys packed their bags for Brisbane.
Luckily he had already had a bloke badgering him for a chance to bowl in Amit Sharma.
He proved why he is worthy of a trundle with a stunning seven-wicket haul to lead Tuggeranong Valley to a 40-run win over North Canberra-Gungahlin at Keith Tournier Memorial Oval on Saturday.
Sharma’s 7-12 from 9.3 overs gives Tuggeranong their first win of the Cricket ACT Gallop Cup campaign and leaves Norths languishing on the bottom of the table.
Norths lost their last eight wickets for 31 runs to fall for 96 in pursuit of Tuggeranong’s 136, and seven of those scalps were claimed by Sharma in a scintillating spell.
It is a welcome sight for Devoy as he looks to plug the gap left by the trio Sharma labels “the backbone of the club”.
Jason Floros spent the bulk of last season travelling from Brisbane to play for Tuggeranong with his brothers Tim and Benji – but now they’re all heading north.
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So it was fitting Sharma found his way back to Tuggeranong this year after helping the Ginninderra Tigers end a 26-year two-day premiership drought last season.
“I said to Shane, ‘I really want to bowl this season’ and he told me ‘you’re up’ I had a bit of luck as well, I just kept on getting wickets,” Sharma said.
“The Floros boys left, which gave me a chance to bowl. They all left to Queensland.
“That’s a big vacuum, they were the backbone of the club. There’s a lot of young guys [at the club now], I could be the oldest.
“He had already confirmed to me I would be bowling this season because we are short on bowling this time around, especially in the spin department. I’d been telling him to give me a bowl.
“Last match [Devoy] wasn’t playing and the boys had already told him it was coming out good for me, and I had a pretty good outing this time.
“It was a good bowling effort, the bowlers did really well, especially the opening bowlers. Then Shane, he is the No. 1 bowler in Canberra, and Craig [Devoy] and I chipped in.
“[Shane Devoy] is one of the best players in Canberra, he is a good captain and always chipping in with messages around what to do and where not to bowl.”
Norths are left to wonder what might have been but Tuggeranong were made to work for the result after limping to 136 via the bats of Jayden Lumley (39 not out) and Blake Ivery (32).
Meanwhile, new recruit Scott Murn scored an unbeaten half-century to guide Western District to a seven-wicket win over Eastlake at Marist College.
Brendan Duffy’s 3-16 saw Eastlake fold for 144 before Murn (50 not out) and Nicholas Broes (37 not out) combined to help Wests ease past the total inside 23 overs.
Vele Dukoski (5-26) and Tyler Van Luin (68, 3-21) combined to see Queanbeyan cruise to a 50-run win over ANU at Neil Bulger Oval.
Weston Creek Molonglo closed out the round with a thrilling two-wicket win over Ginninderra at Kippax Oval.
AT A GLANCE
Cricket ACT Gallop Cup round two: TUGGERANONG VALLEY 136 (J Lumley 39*, B Ivery 32; T Du Toit 3-8, H Jones 3-17) bt NORTH CANBERRA-GUNGAHLIN 96 (G Forrest 21, C Herath 21; A Sharma 7-12, N Joseph 2-12) by 40 runs at Keith Tournier Memorial Oval.
WESTERN DISTRICT 3-145 (S Murn 50*, N Broes 37*; L Blaney-Brown 2-33, D Foy 1-46) bt EASTLAKE 144 (P O’Malveney 41, T Henry 23; B Duffy 3-16, E Bartlett 2-13) by seven wickets at Marist College.
QUEANBEYAN 8-224 (T Van Luin 68, J Coate 28*; B Mitchell 3-36, M Sandery 2-27) bt ANU 174 (N Groenewegon 54, A Jones 42; V Dukoski 5-26, T Van Luin 3-21) by 50 runs at Neil Bulger Oval.
WESTON CREEK MOLONGLO 8-190 (R Trickett 59, S Taylor 37; R Healy 4-24, B Kwong 2-27) bt GINNINDERRA 6-189 (D Faram 42*, B Thomas 34; D Bloomfield 2-38, S Taylor 1-18) by two wickets at Kippax Oval.