Twenty20 knockout cricket proves a winning spectacle
TWENTY20 cricket proved a hit in Grafton at the weekend.
The brand new knockout started on Sunday as an alternative to the 30-over Monday Night competition, because of the floodlit McKittrick Park being out of action for upgrades this season.
Three matches took place at Ellem Oval and Lower Fisher Turf and was well received by the players, while putting on a spectacle for those on the sidelines.
Westlawn, Coffs Colts and Tucabia-Copmanhurst won their respective matches while Coutts Crossing also go through to the semi-finals of the knockout competition courtesy of a bye.
Pat Vidler led Westlawn in a strong win against Souths Services.
The all-rounder chipped in with 19 runs in his side's total of 8 for 151, which was bolstered to 157 when Souths received a six-run penalty for a slow over rate.
The controversial ruling mattered little as Westlawn restricted Souths to 126 in reply.
"Luke Chard and Ryan Cotten did a good job with the bat, then Nathan Blanch and Brad Inman each took a few wickets," Vidler said.
"I reckon it's a great idea to be playing twenty20, myself.
"The boys in my team seemed to love it, at any rate.
"I think most people would like to see the night comp become Twenty20.
"It's still first grade cricket, but a bit of fun more than anything and played in good spirit.
"It's a nice quick game and a few of us stayed around to watch the second game." Those who did witnessed a thriller between 30-over premiers GDSC Easts and first grade premiers Tucabia.
After Easts posted 157, Tucabia's top order backed up its Saturday efforts - when they posted a mammoth total of 385 against Brothers - to chase down the required runs for the loss of four wickets.
After the likes of Matt Blanch (31), Matt Pigg (41) and Bri Hourigan (28) set up the win, captain Bob McKenzie hit the winning runs off the first ball of the 20th over.
"A really good weekend for us," McKenzie, who also took 3 for 7 with the ball against Easts, said.
Tucabia will meet Coutts in the semi-finals, while Westlawn will take on Coffs Coast, who defeated Brothers.
Brothers posted 8 for 141 with Mitch Kroehnert (42) top scoring, before Coffs chased down the total nine wickets down, highlighted by Ian Slapp (5) and Trent Stratham (37no).