THE decision to combine a family holiday break with playing cricket has paid off for a group of St Andrew’s cricketers after finishing runner-up in the T20 competition at the famed ‘Willowfest’ in Mildura.
The renowned Australian Cricket Club Championships has just completed its 36th year, with a record number of players taking part across five grades of competition, as well as the much loved ‘Willowfest Whack’ and ‘Willowfest Express’ contests for longest hit and fastest bowler.
Having competed in the 50 over competition a couple of years ago, Matt Hill and Simon VanKalken thought it would be a great idea to spend the Christmas-New Year’s holiday having another go, but this time wanted to spend a bit more time relaxing with family.
So when Willowfest organisers opted to add a T20 competition to the festivities, they jumped at the chance and quickly managed to arrange with some teammates and their families a community trip to sunny Sunraysia.
With the T20 games taking a lot less time than a normal match, it meant that there was plenty of time to enjoy what else was on offer, arranging after match barbecues, relaxing by the Murray River and having the chance to meet competition ambassador, former Australian opener and wicketkeeper Wayne Phillips.
As much of a peaceful atmosphere as there was, there was still the important matter of some cricket to be played and here the competitive nature struck back with a vengeance.
There were six teams vying for the T20 title and ‘The Drews’ were drawn to play against the Sharp Fine Legs for their first match.
The Sharp Fine Legs batted first and with James Hartnell making 62, looked to be going well, however, four wickets from two Brendan Huf overs late in the innings and four catches from wicketkeeper Geoff Barker dragged them back in a burst netting 5-11, leaving The Drews with 134 to win.
Scott Keatley (6) and Huf (16) were out before the halfway mark was reached, but Jamie Logan and Matt Hill were soon thumping the ball around in a 72-run partnership which brought the target into range.
The pair went out five runs apart, with Logan on 58 and Hill 44 and, although, two more wickets fell in the mad scramble, The Drews had the first win on the board with 6-136.
Full story in the Spectator on Tuesday, January, 7, 2014