Willetton win Hardie sur­pris­ing

Canning Times - - SPORT - CRICKET Dustin Ed­wards

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.

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