Willetton win Hardie surprising
AN impressive batting display highlighted by Aaron Hardie’s simply superb 94 helped Willetton overcome South Perth by 78 runs and retain top position on the WA Premier Cricket ladder.
The Dragons batted first in the windy conditions at Burrendah Park, where captain Cameron Bancroft and Iszak Milentis dug in to record a 47-run opening stand.
Another steady partnership from Bancroft and D’Arcy Short followed the dismissal of Milentis, with the pair adding 49 to boost the total to 96.
Although Willetton was seemingly in control, Darius D’Silva managed to take the breakthrough wicket, claiming the dangerous Short for 27. Bancroft fell soon after, ending with a hard-fought half-century.
With the match evenly poised at 3-104, Hardie and Sean Brennan found a new gear, swinging freely and turning the strike over.
The pair put on an impressive 92-run fourth-wicket stand to elevate Willetton into a dominant position.
However, at 3-196 South Perth captain Chris Chellew claimed two quick wickets to put the match back in the balance at 5-204.
Hardie remained dominant with the bat as he and James Godfrey added another 47 before Godfrey fell with the score at 251.
Three runs later the dangerous D’Silva struck again, claiming Hardie for 94, which included five fours and five sixes from 86 balls.
Willetton’s innings ended shortly after Hardie’s dismissal, finishing on 7-256 after the 50 overs.
With a huge total to chase down, South Perth stumbled its way through the opening overs, falling to 3-50 in the blink of an eye.
Hilton Cartwright was able to steady the innings for the visitors, producing 44 handy runs with the help of D’Silva.
Hugh Brown and Tom Banton kept the run chase moving in the right direction with a 40-run partnership before Alex Hepburn and Matthew Hanna struck to rip the heart out of South Perth’s chase.
They took four wickets for 16 runs, with Hepburn finishing with 3-24 in a devastating spell.
Willetton start a two-day game against Mt Lawley at Hillcrest Park on Saturday.