The Central Coast Rush defence of their Plan B Regional Bash title has ended, following two narrow losses to Newcastle and Lake Macquarie during Round 2 of the competition.
In the opening match of the day at Baker Park, both the Rush and the Newcastle Blasters were unable to be separated after the allotted 20 overs each, and as such, the match was decided by a super over, which saw the Blasters score the winning runs with one ball to spare.
Batting first, the Rush were solid early with the bat before an unbeaten 59 run partnership between Ryan Fenning and Brendan Charlton saw the Rush finish their 20 overs with a very respectable 5/136.
Fenning finished with 59 not out from 45 balls featuring two fours and three sixes.
Charlton was an excellent foil for Fenning, finishing unbeaten on 22 from 17 balls.
The Rush started well with the ball, with Dylan Robertson picking up the key wicket of Blasters’ skipper, Nathan Price, in the third over.
However, Robertson was forced to leave the field shortly thereafter with a side strain having the figures of 1/3 off 2 overs.
In Robertson’s absence, Newcastle Blasters’ pair, Ben Balcomb (60 off 33 balls, 7 sixes) and Aaron Wivell (46 off 53 balls), upped the tempo and had the Blasters well on top requiring just a run a ball off the last six overs with 8 wickets in hand, normally an easy scenario in T20 cricket.
The Rush were not done however, and excellent bowling from, Simon Keen, Chris Archer, Scott Burkinshaw and Adam Taylor, restricted the Blasters batting and saw them need six runs to win off the last over bowled by Keen.
The equation ended up with Newcastle Blasters needing two runs to win off the last ball and unfortunately for the Rush, a missed run out opportunity saw the Blasters scramble through for a single to tie the game, and send the game into a super over.
Ben Cohen and Adam Taylor opened the batting for the Rush and tight bowling saw the pair restricted to six runs from their one over.
In reply, a boundary off the third ball eased the pressure on the visitors and a single next ball saw them home in a great game of cricket.
The Rush moved to Sohier Park for the second match of the day, and they took on the undefeated Lake Mac Attack, knowing that only a big victory would see them progress to the SCG.
Lake Mac Attack batted first and got off to an excellent start, but once again, excellent bowling through the middle and late overs by Blair Lindsay, 3/14 off 3 overs, Chris Archer, 2/23 off 4, and Simon Keen, 2/24, reduced them to 8/135 off their 20 overs, meaning that the Central Coast Rush would need to replicate their early score of 136 to win the match.
Unfortunately for the Rush they got off to the worst possible start, with Keen and Ben Cohen back in the sheds in the first over.
First game star Fenning followed shortly thereafter and when Adam Taylor was run out for 8, the Rush were in trouble at 4/21 in the fourth over.
Steve McCabe (30) started a rescue mission.
However, when he was dismissed with the score on 7/66, the mission had become very difficult.
Enter Blair Lindsay and Harry Woodhead, who between them combined with some big hitting to put on a 42 run partnership in quick time, to give the Rush a sniff of victory.
Unfortunately, they were dismissed in quick succession to see the Rush bowled out for 117, 19 runs short of the required target, with 11 balls still to be bowled.
Lindsay topped off a good match with 30 off 20 balls, with two sixes, whilst Woodhead scored 20 off 15 balls, also with two sixes.
Lake Macquarie progressed through to the finals at the SCG in January, 2020, whilst the Central Coast Rush finished third in their pool.
The Central Cost will now turn their attention to the McDonalds NSW Country Championships, which will be played on the Central Coast from November 1.
Media release, Oct 21
Garry Burkinshaw, Central Coast Cricket Association