Towns defend T20 title in Geraldton men’s cricket with exciting win over Wanderers

Victor TantiGeraldton Guardian
Jai Russell was player of the match with 46 not out.
Camera IconJai Russell was player of the match with 46 not out. Credit: Edward Scown/RegionalHUB

Towns retained the Young Motors T20 title with an exciting victory over Wanderers before a big crowd on Friday night.

Set a challenging 126 to win at Wonthella, Towns won by six wickets but it came down to the last over.

Player of the match was Jai Russell (46 not out) who firmed his status as Towns’ greatest batter after Michael Librizzi.

His brilliant innings featured crisp shot making and his usual delight at saving his best for Wanderers.

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Towns lost Vigil Varghese and Brian Mpofu early so Brady Collins (30) and captain Sam Crouch (24) had to rebuild. After seven overs they were 2-30 needing 7.38 an over.

Then 26 runs came in three overs leaving seven an over to get. But that cost them Collins who batted superbly but was well held in the outfield by Jason Partington.

Russell and Crouch found unlikely singles and turned ones into twos and took 13 off the 12th over, including two Russell fours, reducing the required rate to 6.62.

Towns were 4-87 in the 15th over when Crouch was bowled by a beautiful Clayton Bruce-Cherry delivery but he also incurred a five-run penalty when he gave Crouch a send-off.

It was now 33 needed off 30 balls and Russell and Jay Comben did the rest.

Wanderers’ top-scorer in their 8-125 was Shayne Bidwell (24) with entertaining late runs from Flynn Heberle (19 not out).

Fielding from both sides was under par but a boundary catch by Callum Marquis, who ran from deep mid-on to deep mid-off, was special and critical as it ended Bruce-Cherry’s stay.

Just how valuable was shown the next day when Wanderers and Towns met in a 50 over game at the Rec. This time Bruce-Cherry belted 104 not out (81 balls) with five sixes and seven fours.

He made almost 80 per cent of runs off the bat after coming in at 3-46 as he took Wanderers to 180 in his third ton in six innings since moving to Geraldton.

Towns batted first and made only 123 with Nathan Podmore (34) top-scoring. Bruce-Cherry (4-19) starred and held two catches. Ian Oglesby (2-29) and Gus Heberle (2-28) also shone.

Chapman Valley-Northampton moved into the top three with a 66-run win over Bluff Point at Muir Park. CVN’s James Billing elected to bowl and the Pointers were all out for only 80.

Cody Slootmans (5-21) took two wickets in his first over and the key one of Jay O’Brien in his third.

Aaron Thomas (15) hit out but nicked Zac Williamson to Stuart Gaby. Bobby Gibson (3-7) also impressed. Mitch McAuliffe (18 not out) lifted his side from 8-40.

CVN lost Ashley Campbell in the first over when caught behind by Brendan Millar off Matt Russell (2-18).

CVN settled through Slootmans (17) and an aggressive Nigel Routledge (42) and though Thomas (4-26) and O’Brien (2-17) took wickets, they passed the target safely.

Hayden Dawson (53 not out) then had fun with last wicket runs with Craig Williamson, who played his first game since 2006-07 and would have enjoyed doing so with his son. CVN made 146.

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