ACA Masters 3-169 d Grampians 7-118
A MAGNIFICENT century to South Australian Ben Johnson was the difference in the ACA Masters’ 51-run win over Grampians Cricket Association at Central Park, Stawell on Friday night.
The former Redback brought up the third ton in ACA Masters history in the final over to guide his side to a defendable 3-169.
Former Australian test opening batsman Matthew Elliott also contributed with a patient 56.
His opening partner, former Canadian international player John Davison, did not have as much luck, getting caught off Ararat paceman John Butler’s bowling for a golden duck.
Tight bowling from Ararat-bred Melbourne Cricket Club bowler Sarah Cunningham, 0-14 off three overs, helped keep the score below 200.
Cunningham won the ACA Masters scholarship, which consists of $1000 towards her cricket development, a Kookaburra helmet and 12 months of mentoring from a Masters player.
Aradale paceman John Butler was the leading wicket-taker for Grampians, taking 2-34, while Swifts-Great Western veteran Marc Brilliant had 1-30.
The Masters set a good platform for themselves, with Elliott and Johnson bringing up the team’s century in the 15th over.
Johnson smashed three consecutive boundaries to finish Jackson Dark’s third over and the score was 1-115 after 15 overs.
Brilliant copped some punishment early in his second spell, with Elliott hitting 18 off the 18th over to reach his half-century before getting caught in the deep off Butler the following over.
Johnson needed one run off the final over to notch up a well-made ton – and he got it with a single in the fourth-last ball of the innings.
Murray Goodwin hit the next ball over Brilliant’s head before getting caught two balls later by Tatyoon’s Tim McDougall, as the tourists reached 3-169 off their 20 overs.
Grampians got off to a flier thanks to left-hander Sam Cocks, but the Swifts-Great Western batsman didn’t last long as veteran fast bowler Craig McDermott had his measure in the third over.
In-form number three batsman Travis Nicholson, fresh from a century against Buangor the previous match, was next at the crease.
Nicholson appeared to be stumped off spinner John Davison’s bowling in the sixth over, but wicketkeeper Jimmy Maher didn’t have the ball when he whipped the bails off.
But in a near carbon copy of his near-dismissal, Maher caught Nicholson short off the ground two overs later and the score was 2-23.
Vice-captain Jared Blandford and wicketkeeper-batsman Travis Horvatek lifted the tempo in the middle overs as the pair attempted to get the run rate to more than four runs an over.
Blandford got the association past 50 with a lovely straight drive off Matthew Mott, before hitting another boundary off the next ball to finish the 13th over.
But his innings ended on 16 after he hit a Peter Sleep delivery straight to Davison at deep mid-wicket in pursuit of quick runs.
Buangor batsman Harry Ganley didn’t last long after being stumped off Mott for two, while the Sleep-Maher team claimed Horvatek not long after.
Sleep and Maher combined again for Dark’s wicket, before Tom Hannett was run out shortly after.
McDougall, 24 not out, and Youth Club’s Ethan Marrow, 14 not out, provided some entertaining hitting during the final overs, but it was too little too late as Grampians fell well short of its target.