CRICKET: Premiers Gympie added a maiden T20 title to its honour board with a nailbiting win over Maroochydore in the Caloundra Events Centre final on Tuesday night.
A low-scoring contest was resolved with just four balls remaining when the Swans were dismissed for 83, a boundary away from the Gold's 86 on an evening where the ball and the fielders held sway.
Given the option, Gympie captain Josh Brady elected to bat, and Ash Sippel joined Lewis Waugh at the top of the Gold's order, facing Swan's rookie Tom Olsen, who was adding another first to a growing portfolio.
But it was the man with a suitcase of recognition, Shane Newton, who set the pace after his first ball had been dispatched to the boundary by Sippel, gaining revenge the next delivery.
Waugh was to be the Gympie backbone, and the only batsman to dominate with an eventual 46 off 41 faced. He added another 15 before Trevor Brady took strike, only to become Newtons second scalp, and from there it became downhill for the Gold on a pitch not vicious but well exploited.
Only Karl Leupold joined Waugh in double figures as Adam Thornton's nude deliveries stole three wickets in as many overs and Chris Welsh choked the scoreboard, which benefited by just six from his four overs. A worrying 4/66 turned into a catastrophic 8/78 when Waugh departed, with Kelvin Ventura and a returning Olsen showing little mercy to the tail.
In T20 history no score is safe nor hopeless, and Brycen Mitchell's opening over removed any Maroochydore complacency along with Thornton and an elevated Kevin Schultz to hurt the Swans early. Dan Hall dared Josh Brady's arm and lost in the 3rd over, forcing a recovery to gain some innings rhythm from 3/6.
A settling three overs took the board to 24, then Jarrod Sippel came on to wreck hopes, bowling James Chaplin first ball on his way to 3/15. The final delivery of his spell added the wicket of Swans'skipper Gerard Flegler, removing the threat of his pairing with Welsh and setting the chase back at 7/55 after 13 overs.
Gympie had the scent of victory yet there was little run rate pressure, and though Josh Brady removed Olsen at 66, Welsh's winkling and Ventura's 10 from Troy Ashton's last over dragged the total to 8/82 with twelve balls left.
Now the Gympie captain had to dig deep, but this was the man who has wrested the premiership from the Swans with a devastating burst back in March, and the 19th over yielded just the single to Welsh and the wicket of Ventura.
Six deliveries remained from the elder Sippel, with no latitude for the bad ball or missed edge. Neither occurred as Trevor Brady behind held the catch off the second delivery, closing yet another gripping struggle between these two well-matched teams.
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