Country Cup drought over for Whalers

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

Albany Cricket Association has regained the Toyota Country Cup for the first time in 30 years after eclipsing Bunbury in the Twenty20 finals competition at Breckler Park in Perth yesterday.

Led by man-of-the-match Jeremy Wood, who blasted 77 runs from 50 balls, the Whalers set their rivals 139 for victory, which proved too much as Bunbury were worn down from the start of their powerplay.

Wood, representing Albany for the first time, smashed five sixes in his masterful innings that guided the Whalers to an imposing score.

The former Scarborough batsman was dismissed in the 16th over off left-arm spinner Joe Barningham with the score on 114, which halted Albany’s push towards 150.

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All-rounders Matt Walters and Nathan Crudeli chipped in with vital knocks of 17 each as Albany took 15 runs from the final two overs to finish 6-138.

Bunbury’s run chase began slowly and was on the ropes when speedster Ben Grey claimed the key wicket of captain Jono Whitney (6), with Wood producing a spectacular one-handed catch on the midwicket boundary to remove the danger man. With wickets falling around him, wicketkeeper Paul Jones provided much-needed impetus with an entertaining 36 from 27 balls until he became the ninth wicket to fall.

Youngster Michael Ferreira produced a direct-hit run out to remove dangerous opener Rod Shemeld (12) before the pace battery of Ben Grey (3-13), Coen Marwick (2-27) and Brendan Grogan (2-13) wreaked havoc as Bunbury slumped to 6-63 from 13 overs and could never recover.

Albany captain Zane Marwick praised his side, who reclaimed the cup for the first time since the 1987-88 season and ended a string of recent runner-up finishes.

“The efforts of the guys were unbelievable all weekend — I thought our fielding really set it up for us,” he said. “I thought Tonky (Craig Tonkin) and Woody (Jeremy Wood) were fantastic at the top of the order in all the games.

“It’s a great reward for the guys who committed and gave up their weekend and gave their time to represent this association.

“To break that drought is pretty special and we are going to remember this for a long time.”

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