West Pil­bara off to Coun­try Cup

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr and David Eck­hart

Kar­ratha and sur­rounds has con­tin­ued its 2016 sport­ing dom­i­nance over Hed­land, this time with a com­fort­able eight-wicket win in the coun­try cup qual­i­fiers to se­cure a spot at coun­try cup fi­nals.

The West Pil­bara Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion team cruised to Port Hed­land’s 131-run tar­get off the back of a dom­i­nant bat­ting dis­play from Corey Rut­gers (62) and Bray­den Lee (41no).

Hed­land won the toss and elected to bat first but strug­gled to get a part­ner­ship go­ing.

Richard An­der­son proved de­ci­sive with the ball, claim­ing 3/24 to have Hed­land reeling at 4/40 off nine overs.

Wayne Stokes (42no) and Ra­jind Panagodage (42) com­bined for a 77-run fifth-wicket stand to gain some mo­men­tum back for the vis­i­tors, help­ing them to a com­pet­i­tive 6/130.

The game un­rav­elled early for Hed­land in the field, with two sim­ple catches put down early, which would have seen top-scorer Rut­gers de­part with­out trou­bling the score­line.

They were made to pay, with Rut­gers and first drop Lee com­bin­ing for a con­trolled 106-run stand to put the match be­yond any doubt.

Rut­gers was trapped leg-be­fore with nine runs left to chase down, but the big-swing­ing Muham­mad Khan made light work of the fi­nal few runs.

With one win down, West Pil­bara squared off against Fortes­cue Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion to ce­ment a spot at coun­try week.

Again, the home team were put out in the field first but a team ef­fort from the bowlers — each one claimed a wicket — had Fortes­cue limp­ing home to 7/115.

Look­ing to chase the to­tal down quickly, opener Cam Nowotny (21) went down swing­ing, while Rut­gers (15) was again out LBW.

Lee (37no) showed a good head, with a mix of tra­di­tional shots and kitchen sink-throw­ing leav­ing him un­beaten at the end of the match again.

With West Pil­bara through to coun­try week, the fi­nal game be­tween Fortes­cue and Hed­land was all about pride.

Port Hed­land bat­ted first but were straight on the back foot as young spin­ner Jack Goesch (3/26) ripped through the top or­der.

In re­ply, Fortes­cue open­ers Jay­den Ben­nell (36no) and Matt Charlesworth ticked off 43 from the tar­get in quick time.

Chris Pi­lot steered Fortes­cue home in the 13th over with an un­beaten 24.

Wayne Stokes gets un­der a ball from Daniel Carse.

Pic­tures: Tom Zaun­mayr

Hed­land's Lee Ir­win puts the ball on a good length to Bray­den Lee.

Cam Nowotny skies a drive back over the bowler’s head.

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