Redbacks claim T20 double

STRATFORD cricketers were given an early Christmas present when its division one and two teams won their respective Sale-Maffra twenty20 competitions this week.

The Redbacks completed an unbeaten campaign in both grades.

STRATFORD controlled most of Tuesday night’s division one final against Bundalaguah to claim back-to-back titles.

After electing to bat first, the Bulls never really got going in their innings, only managing to score 9-100 from their allotted 20 overs.

Jack Wrigglesworth’s first over of the game was a maiden, which set a high standard for the Stratford bowlers.

Skipper Jack Rietschel was injected early, and took the key wickets of Cloete Buitendag and Steve Spoljaric cheaply.

Bundalaguah’s woes with the bat meant it chalked up just the single boundary in the power play, which came courtesy of a French-cut.

At 3-18, things were looking south for the Bulls, and their situation only got worse when Sam Bedggood was bowled by Will Mayne to leave them 4-38. Gayashan Munsinghe and Jarryd Floyd built a bit of a partnership in the middle to late stage of the innings, but when the former was dismissed to give Mayne his second wicket, the score was still only 5-72.

Floyd knocked the ball around for most of his innings before he departed for an innings high 32.

Stratford bowler Daniel Richardson picked up two wickets in his second spell as the Bulls searched for quick runs.

Wrigglesworth came back and collected a pair of scalps, with his bowling highlighted by a number of perfectly executed and deceptive slower balls.

The five Stratford bowlers used contributed valuable wickets and dot balls. Richardson ended with 3-22 and Wrigglesworth conceded just 11 runs from his four overs. Mayne (2-17) and Rietschel (2-28) also put the ball in good areas, while wrist spinner Sam Anstee sported a headband for the occasion, reminiscent of Australian counterpart Adam Zampa.

In reply, Stratford opener Cormac Hassett set the best possible tone by cracking the first ball of the innings to the cover fence. Unfortunately for Hassett, his stumps were disturbed the next ball, as Bulls quick Munsinghe found his rhythm.

Munsinghe bowled with venom with the new ball, and sent them down at a good click. When he trapped Chris Aurisch leg before wicket, the match was suddenly alive at 2-12.

Rietschel then joined Dylan Bolton at the crease and the pair eased a few nerves with some sensible batting.

Bundalaguah got back into the game thanks to a double wicket strike from Buitendag, and when the score fell to 4-42, the pressure was on incoming Stratford batsman Wrigglesworth.

Wrigglesworth was up to the challenge and bunted the ball into gaps as he and Rietschel put on what was to become the match-winning partnership of 56. With the game petering out, Bundalaguah got through its overs as quickly as possible, as Stratford’s victory was stalled by two late wickets by batsman trying to bring up the winning runs with a big shot.

Stratford eventually got home with two overs to spare, winning by four wickets.

Rietschel hit the winning runs and was named player of the match for his all round performance of 57 not out, 2-28 and two catches in the deep.

There was further good news for the Redbacks, as they collected $800 in prize money for winning the tournament. Bundalaguah was also given a slice of the pie, taking home $400.

STRATFORD’S division two side was equally clinical in its final against Collegians on Wednesday night.

Batting first at College Oval, the Redbacks got away to a flyer, with Ben Channing and Andrew Tatterson putting on 90 in the first eight overs.

Tatterson made 31 before Channing was joined by Nathan French, who scored 29 from 22 balls.

Channing continued to hit the ball cleanly and was eventually dismissed for a fine 77 from 46 balls.

Collegians pegged the run rate back late in the piece, and was able to keep things under control after the early Stratford onslaught.

Youngster Maddix Malone was productive in the field, taking 2-20 and affecting a run out.

Chasing 178, Stratford bowler Liam Durkin had Nathan King caught behind for a golden duck to get the Redbacks off on the right foot.

College pair Geoff Wells and Nick Anderson then put on a 117-run partnership to keep their side in with a show.

Comparing the sides’ scores at the 12-over mark, College was only four runs behind as Wells and Anderson continued to knock the ball around.

A calm catch by Jake Rietschel on the deep square leg fence saw the back of Anderson for 55, while an equally good catch by Noah Bennett saw Wells dismissed for 59.

Bennett back-tracked after delivering the ball and had to use his best judgement to take a caught and bowled over his right shoulder.

With the two set batsman back in the sheds, Stratford was able to defend the remaining overs, as balls were hit to fielders patrolling the boundary.

Bennett and Durkin each finished with figures of 2-27 as Collegians closed at 5-161, 16 runs in arrears.

Ben Channing was player of the match.