Towns defend Geraldton Bendigo Bank Cricket League title in thrilling one wicket win over Wanderers

Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Towns with their A grade trophy after their victory against Wanderers.
Camera IconTowns with their A grade trophy after their victory against Wanderers. Credit: Colin Sherman

Towns defended their Geraldton Bendigo Bank Cricket League title in a thrilling grand final on Saturday.

A heroic Wanderers all but defended 85 after being sent in on a bowler-friendly Wonthella pitch but agonisingly lost by one wicket.

For Towns, Brady Collins had a career best 6-32 while Nathan Podmore’s gutsy 48 not out was a career best in terms of value.

“We do make it hard for ourselves,” Towns captain Sam Crouch wryly observed.

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“Podmore’s knock was one of the best I’ve seen him play, his application was phenomenal and he had enough support to guide us to a win.

“Collins bowled well after he went for a few in one over but showed what he can do — all our bowlers, and I only needed four, were good.”

Rain delayed play by an hour and the game was cut to 40 overs a side.

Wanderers were in early trouble when a Michael Roberts drive was caught at ankle height by Austin Breen off Tom Forsyth (2-25).

Wanderers then lost wickets to successive Collins balls with Matt Partington bowled shouldering arms and Shayne Bidwell, to his despair, steering one to Kodi Giltrow at point.

In came Clayton Bruce-Cherry (36) who caressed his second ball for four and took two sixes off a Collins over.

But wickets fell at the other end, Gus Heberle caught behind by Jeremy Bedford off Breen (2-17) and Jason Partington well held by Podmore off Collins.

Bruce-Cherry changed to a lower gear as he and Kade Gillingham tried to settle. He dispatched a Forsyth no-ball for six but next ball played late and the ball popped up to Jai Russell.

Collins cleared the tail to end fine work by Towns exemplified by Josh DeLacy who conceded only 11 runs off eight overs.

Towns began badly in the reply with Bedford leg before to Jason Partington (2-21) and Vijil Varghese caught by Bruce-Cherry off Bidwell.

Podmore was assured from the outset and he and Russell added 23 but Russell, dropped before he had scored, was leg before to the first ball bowled by Bruce-Cherry (3-8).

Bruce-Cherry then bowled Collins and had Crouch caught behind by Gillingham. His superb bowling reduced Towns to 5-34.

Podmore endured. He added 20 with Callum Marquis before Marquis was stumped by Gillingham off Heberle and 17 with Giltrow who was bowled by Jason Partington.

Towns were 8-80 when Simon Evans was trapped in front by Ian Oglesby and 9-84 when Breen was run out.

Towns needed one to tie, and in effect win, as they finished higher on the ladder. DeLacy blocked stoutly and Podmore got the winning run next over.

The Bob Taylor best player medal went to Collins. It could easily have gone to Podmore but as he said later: “I got what I wanted.”

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