Bushrangers’ three-peat

From the first catch, a brilliant second slip effort by Josh Lines to Brodie O’Dea’s slog-sweep for six to win the match, Pekina-Carrieton dominated the Northern Areas cricket grand final against Wilmington-Melrose at Spalding Oval, collecting a handsome nine-wicket victory.

Victorious skipper Kieran Blackwell said the opposition had a small period with the bat where they got a little momentum in a 20 to 30-run partnership, but besides that he felt the team had control of the contest.

“Our fielding and bowling was outstanding,” he said.

“Getting their quality bats early put us ahead of the game.

“Josh’s (Lines) catch was sensational and he has a habit of pulling off some rippers at important times in big games.

“Top order wickets were critical and I said to our bowlers to bowl straight and we’d protect the square fences.

“Getting those early scalps gave us confidence.

“When we went into bat, Zac and I spoke about getting through the first 10 overs.

“Still being together at drinks took the steam out of the game.”

Bushrangers captain Blackwell won the toss and was always going to bowl first.

The bowling attack at Pekina-Carrieton didn’t let its captain down.

Siblings Mack and Luke Bowman both took a wicket each with the younger brother Mack finishing with 1/13 from his seven overs across two spells.

Luke secured the figures of 1/27 also from seven overs.

First change bowlers Kieran Blackwell and Brodie O’Dea continued the frugal attack Blackwell picked up 1/14 bowling seven overs.

O’Dea, a big time player was outstanding with three for 11 including the prized wicket of Wilmington-Melrose’s skipper Ryan Slee for 20 (one four).

Spinner Zac Hutchinson then ensured Wilmington-Melrose didn’t get away at the end.

He collected 4/11 from 6.4 overs including two maidens.

This also included the wicket of number four batsman Andrew Milne who top-scored with 23, from a deliver he got to bounce, was gloved to first slip and caught by Darcy Shute.

On a picturesque, but slow Spalding Oval outfield, Des Taylor with 16 (one four) was the only other Kookaburra’s cricketer to get to double figures.

Wilmington-Melrose slid from 1/29 to 5/40 and after Milne and Taylor put on 29 for the sixth wicket, they lost their last five wickets for 21 runs.

The Wilmington-Melrose team got to the 50 in the 24th over in total faces 36 overs to achieve their total of 90. There were just four boundaries in the innings.

Conversely in the Bushrangers run chase it was a steady progression from the start and they rarely looked troubled.

Zac Hutchinson and captain Blackwell brought up their half-century partnership in the 15th over and the only wicket to fall, Hutchinson caught by keeper Mick Skull off the bowling of Milne in the 22nd over with the score on 69.

Blackwell and O’Dea made short work at the rest of the runs with the skipper being unbeaten on 39 and Brodie O’Dea remaining 15 not out.

Milne bowled his full nine overs and was easily the pick of the Wilmington-Melrose bowlers with 1/18.

Hutchinson hit one boundary in his well compiled 26 while Blackwell dispatched three fours in his 39.

O’Dea hit a boundary and finished the game with that six.

The man of the match honours came down to a three-way tussle between Hutchinson, Blackwell and O’Dea.

In the end Hutchinson’s 4/16 and patient 26 gave him a slight advantage over his team-mates.

When it counted most, the Bushrangers took control of the contest and the season.

Pekina-Carrieton has now won the past three Northern Areas cricket association titles in a row and have four of the past five in the current era.

Declan Duffy, Brodie O’Dea and Riley Blackwell have played in all four titles, while Zac Hutchinson and skipper Kieran Blackwell have participated in the last three in a row as well.