Midland-Guildford claim maiden Premier T20 Title

A player of the Match performance by former WA quick Josh Nicholas inspired Midland-Guildford to their maiden WA Premier Cricket T20 title, overcoming the highly fancied Willetton by 13 runs in a thrilling Grand Final played at the WACA Ground last night, Sunday December 3.

The decider saw the two most in-form teams face off, with Willetton winning four of their last five matches while Midland-Guildford remained undefeated in the T20 format.

There were plenty of quality cricketers on show, with Willetton buoyed by the addition of WA stars Cameron Bancroft and D’Arcy Short to their batting lineup to complement young guns Izak Milentis and Blair Walsh.

Midland-Guildford have been the surprise packets of the season, with their pace battery of Nicholas, Justin Kandiah and rookie contracted WA quick Josh Vernon catapulting them into the upper echelons of the ladder.  

Midland Guildford got off to a shaky start after winning the toss and electing to bat, with opener Dylan Sharman dismissed by for just one by Matt Hanna with the score on three.

Former WA batter Tom Beaten (24 off 27) then got the innings going, as he and captain Keaton Critchell (35 off 25) combined for a 57-run partnership for the second wicket.

Critchell was particularly impressive with his power-hitting, with his innings including three sixes.

Middle order batters James Godfrey (35 off 25) and Jordan Mast (23 off 14) continued the momentum for the Swans, with the pair finding the boundary at regular intervals during their stays at the crease.

Willetton’s bowlers fought back late in the innings, taking 4-22 to restrict Midland to 9-144 off their 20 overs, highlighted by terrific spells from Luke Holt (3-21 off three overs) and experienced seamer Matt Hanna (2-23 from four).

Tasked with a manageable chase of 145, and with an impressive batting lineup, Willetton would have felt comfortable at the halfway mark, but the early wickets of Kallen Bond (1) and Bancroft (3) saw them fall to 2-6 in the second over.

Short (49 off 30) and Walsh (25 off 28) resurrected the innings, producing a 66-run stand to get Willetton back into the contest, before Liam Tresvaskis (2-27 off four) got the key wicket of Short just as he was looking threatening.

Walsh fell shortly after, with Hudson Knight (1-29 off three) managing to bowl Walsh around his legs attempting a sweep shot.

Consistent wickets were the theme of the second half of the innings for Willetton, with Kandiah (2-17 off four), Josh Nicholas (3-20 off 3.4) and Brayden Brehaut (2-24 off four) all chiming in with key scalps to see Midland-Guildford home in the tense final stages.

Nicholas was a deserved Player of the Match, with his ability to swing the ball at pace proving a difficult task for the Willetton batters.

Midland-Guildford 9-144 (20) (Godfrey 35, Critchell 35, Holt 3-21, Hanna 2-23) defeated Willetton 131 (19.4) (Short 49, Walsh 25, Nicholas 3-20, Kandiah 2-17)

Earlier, it was Willetton who cruised victory in the Colts Final, smashing Claremont-Nedlands by eight wickets with more than 10 overs to spare.

Batting first, the Tigers were no match for Willetton, with Holt (3-19) and Kade Povey (2-33) running through the Claremont batting lineup, eventually bowling them out for just 103.

In reply, Openers Walsh (56 off 31) and Lachlan Lake (27 off 21) snuffed out any chance of a miraculous Tigers victory, putting on a 93-run partnership for the opening wicket, before Ethan Smith (9 off 3) and Povey (3 off 4) finished the job in the tenth over.

Blair Walsh was crowned Player of the Match, with his half-century guiding his side to an easy victory.

Claremont-Nedlands 103 (18.5) (Tibballs 28, Holt 3-19, Singh 2-16, Povey 2-33) were defeated by Willetton 2-105 (9.5) (Walsh 56, Lake 27)