By Russell Bennett
For an incredible fourth year in a row, Pakenham and Kooweerup are going head-to-head for the WGCA Premier crown.
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After drizzly rain early on Saturday, Kooweerup won the toss and has elected to bat.
1:00: Tom Tyrrell and Chris Smith are opening the bowling to Chris O’Hara and Mark Cooper.
1:20: In the fourth over of the day, Mark Cooper is GONE – given out caught off Chris Smith after an extended discussion between the two umpires in the middle of the ground. Out for 6. Kooweerup is 1/11 with Tyler Clark the new batsman.
1:40: Kooweerup has steadied after the early wicket. 1/27 off 12.
2:00: Kooweerup continues to build – 1/39 at drinks under sunny skies. O’Hara and Clark the not out batsmen.
2:20: Kooweerup loses the key wicket of Chris O’Hara – bowled by Dale Tormey for 19. The Demons are now 2/44, with Lachie Ramage joining Tyler Clark (15*)
2:40: Tyler Clark caught by a ripper catch from Troy McDermott at shortish cover off a full-blooded lofted drive. The Demons are in real strife now at 3/44 off 27. Mitch Cammarano is the new batsman.
3:00: The Demons survive a run-out chance at the stiker’s end – Cammarano remains. The following over Ramage guides one past an outstretched gully off Williams.
3:20: Tea… impressive rearguard stand by young guns Cammarano (23*) and Ramage (5*). Kooweerup 3/73 off 43 overs.
4:00: After tea, Cammarano and Ramage are starting to acccelerate in the baking sun – dispatching the short balls. 3/96 off 48.
4:20: Just after reaching a superb 50, young Cammarano departs – clinically caught up to the stumps by Elston off Tyrrell, ending a 67-run stand. Chris Bright strode to the crease at 4/111 in the 53rd. The score is now 4/113 off 55.
4:40: Could this be the 20 minutes that defines the innings? Ramage (17) just exuded positivity until his untimely dismissal, caught particularly well at slip by McDermott off Jason Williams. Bright continued to hit the bad balls in his area. Pakenham had a strong off-side field to him, including a short extra cover, as they look to apply the clamps at this crucial stage. Luke McMaster replaced Ramage at 5/119 but soon departed, bowled all ends up by Dale Tormey at 6/126. Jess Mathers replaced him, and then Bright fell to a well flighted delivery by Williams – caught at wide mid-on. 7/126 with Matt Bright joining Mathers.
5:00: Just after drinks, Mathers and Matt Bright remain. This is the crucial stand from here – they must keep the score ticking over, while still keeping their cool and ensuring their side bats out the overs. Kooweerup is 7/140 off 66.
5:20: Matt Bright holes out to Chris Smith at midwicket off Tormey. 8/153 in the 71st. Nathan Voss joined Mathers and had to be there in a supporting role for the Demons to get near 200, but was triggered LBW – also off Tormey – at 9/155. Riley Clark is the last batsman to the crease.
5:25: Kooweerup is dismissed for 161, with Mathers holing out to Jack Anning in the deep off Jason Williams for 20. Pakenham to face three overs before stumps…
Bowling: Tormey with four wickets and Williams three.
5:40: Ben Maroney opened with Jack Anning but didn’t last long – triggered LBW to a massive Jess Mathers appeal in a decision that shocked onlookers. 1/1 at stumps.
1:00: Two fours to Jack Anning off Jess Mathers’ first over – an upper-cut, and a flick off the pads to backward square – have Pakenham sitting on 1/12. Dan Vela is the other not out batsman.
1:20: Vela caught for 2 at midwicket off Luke McMaster early in the fifth over of the first session. 2/14. Chris Smith joins Jack Anning at the crease. Anning is showing real positive intent against Mathers and McMaster, despite the early loss of Vela. He’s leaving plenty alone, but going after the deliveries in his areas. Very smart batting early. He threw the hands at one off Mathers but was dropped at gully – a very sharp chance.
1:40: Pakenham 2/32 in the 17th. This partnership hasn’t been chanceless so far, but it remains unbroken.
2:00: Matt Bright comes on to bowl the 22nd, with Pakenham 2/40. Kooweerup now has spin operating at both ends, with Cooper and Bright replacing Mathers and McMaster. DRINKS: 2/41 off 23.
2:20: Just when Pakenham had control of the contest, Mark Cooper strikes – trapping Chris Smith sweeping, LBW. Dale Tormey joins Jack Anning. It’s now 3/53 after 25.
2:40: Cooper strikes again, with Anning (32) out caught behind by Chris Bright. 4/60 in the 30th over today. Zac Chaplin joins Dale Tormey, who once again looks in scintillating touch – powering anything over-pitched or too short to the fence after an early, full LBW appeal against him was turned down.
3:00: Tormey stays patient, respecting the good balls, and then puts a short one from Cooper over the square leg fence, and another one in his next over for four behind square. Mathers, at the other end, has a massive LBW shout against Tormey turned down. 4/81 off 41 today.
3:40: Just after tea, Tormey and Chaplin are looking ominous. 4/97 off 48. Tormey with a couple of massive cuts for four off wider shorter balls from McMaster.
4:00: Koowee snares one of the key wickets – breaking the Tormey-Chaplin stand by removing Chaplin LBW to Mathers for 7. It’s now 5/114 in the 56th. Troy McDermott has joined the in-form Tormey, who Koowee must remove soon if they’re to triumph. He’s just sent a series of booming shots to the fence on both sides of the ground, bringing up his 50. A huge appeal to remove McDermott caught behind off Cooper soon after is knocked back in the windy conditions.
4:20: McDermott confidently sweeps Cooper for four off the final ball of the 59th and victory is well within sight for the Lions – 5/128. Soon after, Tormey’s superb stand comes to an end to the applause of the large crowd – caught on the mid-wicket fence by Nathan Voss, just in front of the Pakenham players, for 61. McMaster with the wicket and the Lions are 6/128 with skipper Rob Elston joining McDermott.
4:40: Despite the loss of Tormey, Pakenham is well and truly in the box seat with Elston and McDermott looking comfortable – 6/134 off 65.
5:00: The victory line is within reach for the Lions now – 6/149 off 70, with McDermott and Elston looking solid as a rock; putting the bad balls away but staying watchful in defense.
5:10: PAKENHAM WINS BY FOUR WICKETS. Captain-coach Rob Elston controls the tempo superbly and hits the winning runs with a pull through mid-wicket for four – his second in as many deliveries.