West Pilbara cricketers put in brave showing at country week
Two West Pilbara Cricket Association teams have returned from the annual country week carnival in Perth, having put in strong performances at A and E-grade levels.
The first XI were in A-grade for the third consecutive year and once again acquitted themselves well.
WPCA defeated powerhouse Peel on day one, bowling them out for 118 through an inspired spell from Shehzad Gondal (5-24).
Veteran Shane Edwards made a brisk 74 to make light work of the run chase. Losses followed on days two and three to eventual winners Albany and Eastern Goldfields respectively, leaving the WPCA team third in their group.
The team then regrouped for their first play-off game, restricting Albany to 2-147, on the back of 4-34 to skipper Michael James, before reeling off the runs with ease thanks to openers Brayden Lee (82no) and Alex Fitzmaurice (46).
That win allowed the team to avoid the relegation game. Spinner Gondal finished the week with 11 wickets to be one of the leading bowlers in the competition.
The E-grade team enjoyed more success for the week, despite a first up loss to Donnybrook on day one.
Ian Boxall led the batting with 44no as WPCA posted 177, however the bowlers struggled and Donnybrook passed the score in the 42nd over.
The team set about their winning ways on day two, with Brayden Reynolds posting 94 and Lokendra Ranawat 40 as they scored 211 against Warren Blackwood.
Three wickets to Shamsher Singh ensuring WPCA got their first victory.
On day three WPCA played a weakened Northam side, posting 235 with Scott Atkinson’s 43 being the best of an even contribution.
Teenager Jaxon Gordon took 3-20 to lead a rout of Northam as they were bowled out for 62, the win leaving WPCA second in their group and into the semifinals to play Newman.
WPCA again batted first and powered to 230 with strong contributions from Reynolds (53) and Vipan Rajput (44) and three late sixes from Singh.
The bowling was a one-man show, with Gordon marking his 16th birthday with 5-42 as Newman were bowled out for 155 and WPCA marched into the final, and a rematch with the undefeated Donnybrook.
After starting well in the batting, the team fell away in the final to be bowled out for 128.
Reuben McCawley (2-21) took two early wickets to give the team some hope, but in the end there weren’t enough runs and Donnybrook came away with the win.
While there was no silverware to come home with, many players got a taste of representative cricket for the first time and there were some outstanding performances, especially from the younger players, that will hold the WPCA in good stead for future competitions.
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