Warnervale has captured their inaugural first grade silverware when they claimed the Central Coast Cricket Association’s T20 title, at Baker Park on February 24.
In a pulsating game, which was finished in light rain, the Wildcats prevailed over defending champions, The Entrance, by six wickets.
Warnervale all-rounder, Mitch McNeilly, was awarded the Jay Lenton Medal as Player of the Match.
Early morning showers which brought an end to the Under 21’s decider, saw the match reduced to 18 overs a side, and it was The Entrance who batted first.
The Gulls were immediately on the back foot when NSW Country star, Adam Taylor, was run out by McNeilly in the first over.
Broc Hardy, Ben Day and Ash Hardy, quickly followed, which left them at 4/31.
Skipper, Jason Blackwood, was fighting a lone hand, but when he was dismissed for 29, his side were in trouble.
A defiant innings of 22 from, Nick Hay, enabled The Entrance to post a modest score 79.
Importantly, they only batted for 16 of their allotted 18 overs.
Daniel Hill, was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3/12, however there were also three run outs.
Chasing 80 runs for victory, Warnervale got off to a good start with Skipper, Simon Keen and Tony Cornwall, putting on 27 runs for the first wicket in quick time.
However, when Keen was dismissed for 15, the game changed.
Kaine Harmsworth, came and went without scoring, and with, Kris Capeski, bowling tightly, 1/6 of three overs, the runs had dried up, and The Entrance were suddenly back on top.
A big over from Cornwall, which included two sixes, lifted Warnervale’s run rate, and with the rain starting to fall, supporters were reaching for their calculators in the event of the players having to leave the field.
With the score on 51, another twist occurred, when Cornwall, who was the key for Warnervale, was unfortunately run out at the bowler’s end when the ball ricocheted off Capeski’s foot onto the stumps for 27, and then next ball, Tim Diehm, was run out by a direct hit by, Broc Hardy.
The game was well and truly in the balance, with rain falling and the run rate about even, when McNeilly joined, Brett Russell, at the crease.
McNeilly decided to take actions into his own hands, and with some judicious hitting, including a six and two fours, he was able to get Warnervale over the line with 20 balls to spare, much to the delight of their many supporters at the ground, to witness this historic occasion for the club.
McNeilly finished with 23 not out off 13 balls, whilst Russell remained 10 not out for Warnervale to take the championship.
Media release, Feb 25
Garry Burkinshaw, Cricket NSW