Purser snatches night shield
BRENDAN Purser was the toast of Westlawn Cricket Club on Friday night after the captain produced a sensational match-winning performance against Brothers.
Purser carried his bat to remain 67 not out in a commanding display of power hitting matched by sublime stroke-play to clinch the Night Cricket grand final.
Purser’s magical knock slightly overshadowed his astute role as captain. He marshalled his troops to perfection in the field with pin-point field placement and shrewd bowling changes.
The turning point of the game came when Purser introduced unheralded leg-spin bowler Luke Chard into the attack. The decision to bowl Chard at a critical stage of the match proved to be a masterstroke.
In the space of one over Chard removed both Mick Summers and the dangerous Brad Robertson, both trapped plumb in front.
Chard was the unsung hero snaring 3-14 with a wonderful display of flight and control.
Earlier Brothers, after winning the toss, lost Sam Jackson in the first over after a Rohan Hackett in-swinging yorker wrapped him on the pads in front.
Andrew Lancaster strode to the crease and after a short settling in period took up the challenge with some lusty hitting. On 33 and looking ominous, Lancaster attempted to loft Nathan Blanch down the ground only to see Pat Vidler take a magnificent running catch inches off the turf.
At 5-69 Brothers last recognised batsmen Troy McLaren, with a lot resting on his shoulders, looked in fine touch before he was sensationally given out handled ball. With 20 runs to his name McLaren danced down the wicket to a Matt Lobsey delivery which trickled down the pitch. To the crowd’s amazement McLaren, in a gentlemanly gesture, picked up the ball and threw it back to Lobsey who was at the end of his follow-through.
Westlawn appealed and the umpire had no option but to raise the finger. Under the laws of the game the rule specifies a batsman cannot deliberately handle the ball without the consent of the fielding side.
There is no doubt McLaren would have made it back into his crease. Call it a brain explosion or an ungentleman-like act by Westlawn, the fact is it’s a rule- and that’s cricket.
Brother’s total of 126 was never really enough and after an 86 run partnership between Purser and Inmon (30) the game was all but over.
Purser was full of praise for his sides batting performance and Chard’s effort with the ball.
“I was proud of the way our guys knuckled down with the bat and didn’t show any signs of panic, we only needed four runs an over,” Purser said.
“I brought Chardy on as I thought they might try and attack his bowling. He has been bowling beautifully in night cricket and deserved his three wickets.
“They bought Troy ( McLaren) on and he tossed the ball up trying to buy a wicket but we kept our heads.”
Brothers captain Mick Summers, although disappointed with the loss, said Purser’s innings was the difference between the two sides on the night.
“BJ’s (Brendan Purser) innings was a great knock, it was a chanceless. It wasn’t our night...we didn’t get the bounce of the ball,” Summers said.
On the controversial McLaren handled ball issue, Summers remained tight-lipped about the bizarre dismissal
“It was unfortunate, the umpires had no option but to give him out but on saying that I have seen Troy do the same thing a hundred times before and other players in the competition do the same thing,” he said.
Purser was named the Man of the Match for his defiant - and match-deciding - knock.
“I was proud of the way our guys knuckled down with the bat and didn’t show any signs of panic, we only needed four runs an over.” Brendan Purser
“I brought Chardy on as I thought they might try and attack his bowling. He has been bowling beautifully in night cricket and deserved his three wickets.” Purser
“BJ’s (Brendan Purser) innings was a great knock, it was a chanceless. It wasn’t our night...we didn’t get the bounce of the ball.” Mick Summers