Lithgow’s Joel Gurney said that playing on the Sydney Cricket Ground was a ‘career highlight’ for the young fieldsman.
Unfortunately the Central West Wranglers went down in the semi-final match against ACT on Tuesday, February 5.
Gurney said that the boys put in a good effort but ACT boys bowled too well for the side.
“Everyone did a good job but we were 30 runs too short and the ACT team was just too good for us on the day,” he said.
A controlled, unbeaten half century from ACT opener Tim Floros guided the Aces past a spirited, albeit it out-gunned Central West Wranglers.
Set 5-111 after Wranglers’ veterans Adam Ryan (40 off 41) and Jameel Qureshi (28 off 30) put on 71 for the fifth wicket, Floros was dropped early – a tough chance to the right of keeper, Orange’s Matt Corben – but never looked troubled throughout an otherwise classy 66 off 49 balls, guiding the ACT outfit into the grand final.
Floros played a lone hand for the bulk of the ACT innings and at points looked like he may have to do it all off his own bat as the Wranglers fought hard to keep the Aces to 4-52 in the ninth over.
Orange and Centrals skipper Daryl Kennewell was doing the bulk of the damage at that point and had 2-9 after removing Scott Murn (5 off 8).
Kennewell then got the dangerous batsman Rhys Healy (5 off 6) out.
A slow start to the Central West innings was compounded by the loss of early wickets.
The Wranglers were 2-23 at the end of the power play and while they whacked 10 runs in the seventh over it came at the cost of Lithgow’s power-packet opener Ben Sheehan (13 off 16).
Despite Qureshi and Ryan rebuilding the Wranglers’ innings and taking their side up over the 100-mark, it wasn’t enough.
Floros’ knock proved Central West fell about 20 runs short of a genuinely competitive total.
Kennewell finished with figures of 2-25 to be the pick of the Wranglers’ bowlers, while Matt Stephen (1-24) and Nic Broes (1-19) also picked up wickets at the SCG.
“What a privilege,” Qureshi said in the SCG home sheds.
“I really enjoyed it and it’s such a good bunch of guys we’ve got here at the Wranglers.”
The Central West skipper thanked the off-field efforts of Matt Fearnley and Joel Gurney, as well as his entire playing squad before taking the blame for his side’s total against the Aces.
“Absolutely, I’ll put my hand up. I just couldn’t get a boundary away,” Qureshi said.
Central West found the rope six times in their innings, while Floros himself whacked nine fours in his match-winning stint at the crease.
Gurney said he would love the opportunity to play at the SCG again in the future.
“It was great, it was such a good atmosphere so I would love to go back and play there again,” he said.
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