Avengers smash Dogs to rule Smash grand final
An outstanding all-round performance with bat and ball has helped the Elders Avengers claim the first-ever Plunkett Homes Southern Smash title, defeating the Camtrans Bulldogs by 39 runs in last Saturday’s grand final on Turf North.
Played in front of hundreds of spectators, the Avengers set a daunting total batting first, led by Rockingham-Mandurah and Country XI star Aaron Burrage and Albany’s own big hitter Nathan Dovey.
The Avengers finished 6-161 from their 20 overs, thanks to the late Dovey fireworks, and that total was always going to be tough to chase down for the previously undefeated Bulldogs.
After starting promisingly with the blade, the Bulldogs lost three quick wickets to slump to 4-64 and then Pinjarra’s Alex Roberts ripped through the lower order to help deliver glory for the Avengers.
Roberts snared 3-16 at the death as the Bulldogs lost 6-26 to be all out for 122.
The Avengers, led by Dovey and team owner Neill Liddle, had a strong mix of all-round talent in their squad, underlined by the fact Albany paceman Ben Grey was not bowled in the final.
“We were able to capitalise on a reasonable start with the bat and really accelerate towards the end,” Dovey said.
“Even though it is T20 cricket, runs on the board in a grand final is so important.
“It was crucial who bowled into the wind for those 10 overs but we had so many options, guys like Ben Grey and Will Bungey didn’t bowl.
“I thought Rod Shemald’s spell really helped us.” Aaron Burrage, who was last year picked in the All-Australian team at the Australian Country Cricket Championships, was named player of the final after his superb 65 from 46 balls at the top of the order and then chipped in with 2-25 off his four overs to cap a stellar all-round display.
He hit three boundaries and three sixes in his entertaining innings after losing fellow marquee and opening partner Tom Scoally cheaply.
Jeremy Wood played a steady innings at the other end as Aaron Burrage took his side towards triple figures before he was caught off the bowling of brother Cameron Burrage to leave his side 2-92.
Dovey’s second scoring shot was a six and he cleared the ropes five times in a dashing 41 off 21 balls that ensured his side would surpass 150. Vikramjit Singh eventually had Dovey caught in the deep and WA under-19s captain Damien Burrage (2-29) snared the late wickets of Wood and Bernard Hoogenboezem but the damage had been done.
Wood took the key wicket of the big-hitting Bevan Bennell for 18 and former Middlesex player Tom Scollay removed Singh for 20 and from that point on, the Bulldogs never got ahead of the required rate.
Aaron Burrage dismissed Damien Burrage and Matt Clothier in the middle overs, Rod Shemald bowled a terrific spell into the breeze to return 1-21 off four overs and then Roberts cleaned up as the Avengers took home the $500 winners prize.
Wood was named player of the tournament, for his outstanding performance with 127 runs and four wickets to poll seven votes and finish clear of Clothier, who had four votes.
Dovey said there was already talk of expansion for next year, with the local organising committee thrilled by the success of the event.
“We were really happy with how it went and we have a baseline to go from now,” he said.
“Word-of-mouth from the players — they are our best advocates.
“Hopefully we can get a couple more teams next year.”
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