The Grand Final of Circular Head Cricket Association’s Tall Timbers Twenty20 Cup was a low scoring affair on a slow deck.
The Smithton Recreation Ground is looking luscious as a cool change starts the transition into footy season. Runs are looking increasingly hard to score and becoming more valuable on the long, slow grass.
Marrawah won the toss and elected to bowl, backing in the hot form of their top five to chase down the total set by Forest Stanley. Shane ‘Roundup’ Dennison and Kyle Ollington (1) opened the batting.
Dennison looked to attack during the powerplay, bashing the ball about the park on his way to 32 before pick-of-the-bowlers Mitchell ‘Bucky’ Heald (3/23) forced the top edge and claimed his first catch of the season.
This left the Demons in a commanding position at 2/44 with wickets in hand and overs in the bag.
Nick ‘Lips’ Littlejohn batted time and aimed to consolidate the Dee’s lead.
As Littlejohn nurdled the ball into pockets of space, the middle order came crashing down around him.
Luke Hochman (1/14) claimed Nigel McIntosh just a few balls into his innings for a duck. Coming off an unbeaten ton the previous week, Martyn Carr was removed shortly after for just five off the bowling of Heald.
Bucky also ensured that Brad Hardy (0) came and went swiftly with his first windy woof landing safely in the hands of Aiden Coombe (0/13) at deep midwicket.
Jade Best was eventually able to stick with Littlejohn, hanging around as he patiently continued on his way to a chance-less 50 not out.
The services of Rylee Popowski were called for in the 16th over and the youngster seemed unfazed by the challenge, claiming a catch off his own bowling to remove Best for 18 and earning himself figures of 1/18.
As Popowski bowled the last over of the innings, the Demons finished 7/133.
Power-pair Shane Babcock (35) and Matthew Saward opened the innings and the duo struggled to score early as a high pressure field environment forced the form men to absorb balls.
Attempting to change gears, Saward departed off the bowling of Carr (1/13) for 17.
Looking to find form with the stick, Heald arrived and got off the mark with a cracking pull shot through midwicket for two runs.
Heald showed positive intent calling actively to create runs. There proved not to be a single on the arm of Best however, who ran-out Heald (9) by a country mile.
It became increasingly evident that the Bulls were on track for an upset defeat as the required run rate rose steadily.
Coombe (11), Rocky Poke (14 not out) and Jonathan Arnold (6 not out) all swung hard, but the best efforts of McIntosh (2/18), Shaun Crowden (1/19) and Kade Hardy (0/12) proved too strong for the Bulls.
The Marrawah Bulls posted a total of 5/122, handing the Forest Stanley Demons the cup with an 11 run victory.
The Forest Stanley Demons took home the Tall Timbers Twenty20 Cup on Friday after defeating the Marrawah Bulls, previously their maiden defeat in the season. Pictures: Isaac Popowski.