AN unbeaten 31 by opener Matt Collier steered United to a win over Gloucester in the Manning tier 1 cricket encounter switched from Chatham Park to Taree Recreation Ground.
This was United's first hit out of the season after the earlier games were washed out, while the side had the bye in the round before the Christmas break.
United set up the win when dismissing Gloucester for 74 after winning the toss and sending the Bushmen into bat. Here Ricky Campbell proved to be the destroyer, taking 4/20 from seven overs. Josh Meldrum, in his first game for United, worked in tandem with Campbell to finish with 2/24 while Jackson Griffith, in his tier 1 debut, claimed 2/4 from just three balls to clean up the tail.
Campbell's haul included the prize wicket of Gloucester captain Harry Clarke, who made 12. The Bushmen were reeling at 3/24 when he was dismissed, however, Mitch Pinch and Tom Kelly took the score to 61 when Pinch was caught behind by Aaron Pin off Campbell's bowling. This sparked a collapse, with Gloucester losing 6/13, the innings wrapping up in 24.3 overs.
However, United had their own propblems in the run chase. Campbell was trapped in front for a duck and Meldrum (1), Pin (0) and Jackson Witts (0) were soon back in the shed with him, leaving United precariously placed at 4/14. Jai Barkwell took two of the wickets.
Tom Kelly rattled Ian Cameron's stumps for 1 to make the score 5/23, however, Collier and veteran Laurie Weeks set about restoring the run chase. Weeks was finally trapped in front for 29, including two boundaries and a six with victory in sight with the score on 67.
Skipper Murray McCartney ensured there were no further hiccups, remaining 9 not out. The reliable Collier hit two boundaries and a six in his match-winning 31.
Barkwell with 3/10 and Kelly (2/16) were the pick of the bowlers.