THE second successive week of rain-affected games has left Busselton-Margaret River’s best cricketers desperately short of match practice as they prepare for an important inter-association game this Sunday.
Busselton-Margaret River will meet Bunbury in the first round of the Country Cup at Barnard Park on Sunday, starting at 11am, in a 50-over-a-side contest.
The match marks a return to 50 overs cricket in the Country Cup, after the Cup was played over the past five years in a shortened T20 format.
If they eventually win their section in the new-style competition, Busselton-Margaret River will have the honour of playing the final at the WACA Ground in Perth.
This Sunday will also be the first time the new cricket headquarters at Barnard Park have been used to host a major game between Busselton-Margaret River and a visiting team.
Nuisance rain across the region last Saturday morning resulted in delayed starts and reduced overs in the games that went ahead in the Busselton-Margaret River competition.
When St Marys met Cowaramup in their A-grade clash at Barnard Park, skippers Danny Hatton and Ben Shepherd agreed to play a minimum format T20 game to give the best chance of a result and to play a game that would be fair to both sides.
After the covers were finally unveiled at 1.30pm, Cowaramup struck two early blows when brothers Jono Lloyd and Ben Lloyd (making a welcome return to A-grade cricket) both fell cheaply to see Saints on the back foot at 2 for 12.
Marc Ford hit hard for 20 before falling to an athletic two-handed diving catch by Tebsy King at mid-on, and then Cowaramup’s Aaron Holben sent down the ball of the day, an off-cutter which just clipped the off bail, to see captain Danny Hatton on his way for a golden duck.
Left-hander Nick Barr swung lustily for 45, including two big sixes over long-off, and teamed with an in-form Shay Thackrah (34) to see Saints finish their 20 overs at a respectable 5-122.
Cowaramup were soon on the back foot as they set about their chase, and found themselves unable to get going with a worthy partnership.
No one reached double figures, extras top-scoring with 11, as the Bulls were ultimately dismissed for 59 on the stroke of their 20 overs.
Pete Morris, Lewis Milligan, Pete Grygorcewicz and Joe Lowe all claimed two wickets, Morris being the pick of the bowlers on the day for Saints.
The other A-grade match scheduled for last Saturday, between Dunsborough and YOBS at the Dunsborough Playing Fields, was set to go ahead after a delayed start until a heavy 15-minute downpour at 1.30pm drenched the wicket. Skippers Nick Ritchie and Ben Payne were left with no alternative but to share the points, as not a ball was bowled.
In B-grade cricket, the only match that was played on Saturday saw St Marys and Vasse also embark on a T20 game at Barnard Park, after a rain-delayed start. Vasse showed good early form to compile 2-118 from their 20 overs, with Sam Shepherd hitting a fine 66 not out and Chris Cook an unbeaten 23.
Saints chased down the target in 17 overs, led by Todd Hartnett (66 not out) and Cam Roberts, who shared an opening stand of 70, while Kye Barrow hit 23 in his first outing for his new club.
The other scheduled B-Grade game, between home club Dunsborough and YOBS, was abandoned due to the weather.
B-grade results: St Marys 2-123 (17 overs) (T. Hartnett 66no, K. Barrow 23, S. Bromilow 1-16, A. Eades 1-21) b Vasse 2-118 (20 overs) (S. Shepherd 66no, C. Cook 23no, B. Mattock 1-13).
Dunsborough v YOBS abandoned without a ball bowled; points shared.
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