McDONALD’S sponsored the fifth Tamworth Premier League Twenty20 and McDonald’s overcame a two-match losing streak to win the T20 Final.
Played at No. 1 Oval last Friday night, Maccas were in a load of trouble at 5-26 but managed to scrape together 115 and then bowl out tournament debutantes The Albert Hotel for 75.
It was a final where young State Under 17 rep James Psarakis stamped his class on the match.
Psarakis, who is in Adelaide this week playing in the Australian Under 17 Cricket Championships, held the batting together with a subdued 48 off 43 balls.
He launched one six and three fours in a disastrous start helped along by The Albert’s wicketkeeper Matt Everett.
Everett’s brilliant run out of Cal Rowe, hitting the stumps from side-on on the turn, was a mesmeric moment and left Maccas 3-18.
Worse was to come when Chris Skilton was bowled by Brad Redshaw (2-31) and Shaun Stevenson was lbw to English spinner Stuart Plant, who opened the bowling and claimed 2-14 from his four overs.
Psarakis and South Tamworth clubmate Richard Rowlings (30) set about restoring some order and added a 53-run sixth wicket stand before Nick Leyden (2-6) and Richie O’Halloran (1-1) combined to clean up the tail.
Both snared wickets in their first over, Leyden second ball to bowl Greg Tighe and O’Halloran first ball to have Psarakis caught on the boundary by Plant, one of three catches for the North Tamworth Redback.
Psarakis conceded it wasn’t his side’s finest performance of the season with the bat.
“The top order didn’t do what we wanted to but that happens in cricket,” Psarakis said.
He was pretty happy though to get what they did from the position they were in.
That was down in no small part to him, and Rowlings – their partnership proving vital.
“You have those one or two partnerships in Twenty20 and that does it for you,” Psarakis said.
Chasing a small total, The Albert had its own disastrous start against spin-twins Greg Kellett and Psarakis.
“The deck was a bit skiddy and inconsistent,” Psarakis said explaining why he opened with spin at either end.
It had the desired effect, with both picking up a wicket in their first overs.
Kellett snared Josh Crowe second ball, caught in the covers off a skied sliced drive, and then Psarakis bowled Nick Leyden fifth ball of his first over for three.
When Psarakis bowled Matt Everett (8), The Albert had slumped to 3-15.
“He got me last year too,” Everett said as he prepared himself for post-match teasing by his great mate.
“He probably thinks I’m his bunny now.”
Worse was to follow for The Albert as Kellett struck to remove Layne Berry and unlucky Richie O’Halloran and leave the side 5-20.
However, there was no top order bat to extricate The Albert from its large hole.
Mitch Holt (10) and Aaron Follington (23) gave them a glimmer with a 23-run partnership but when Holt was run out taking a suicidal run the chase was all but over.
Skilton (1-11), Richie Bullock (1-18) and Greg Tighe (1-14) chipped in with wickets but Kellett, who finished with 3-12 from his four overs, and Psarakis (2-12) had done the early fatal damage.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Psarakis said of the way they started with the ball.
“Getting the big three wickets in the first few overs.”
Everett was delighted with the way The Albert bowled.
“We wanted to bowl them out for under 120,” he said.
“When we played them in the first round they got 190.”
He said he couldn’t fault the fielding or bowling aside from dropping Psarakis early but they still should have been able to chase down 116, he thought.
“We’ve only got ourselves to blame with the bat. We played some silly shots,” he said.
They were missing regular skipper Adam Jones.
He was watching the Sydney Sixers take on the Perth Scorchers after son Riley won a competition to do the coin toss.
Everett said he was a big loss but wasn’t using that as an excuse.
He thought Redshaw bowled well with Plant early.
The plan was to keep McDonald’s to as little as they could while the field was up.
“If you win the first six you’re half-way there to keeping them to a low score,” Everett said.
They did, but then McDonald’s came out and did the same.
McDonald’s win saw them claim the trophy for the third time and completed a fifth TPL that again showcased the talents of some of the lower grade and younger players.
None so more evident than the left-arm spin of Jack Richards.
Playing for Steggles in the playoff for third on Friday evening, he claimed 3-16 from his four overs and was on a hat- trick at one stage.
Steggles won that playoff game by 27 runs thanks to a 73-run partnership between Kris Halloran (53) and Ben Middlebrook (54).
Steggles had slumped to 3-34 but Middlebrook , who hit five big sixes in his 37-ball stay, and Halloran, who slammed five fours and a six in his 44-ball innings, gave the side a competitive total against a Halpin’s Plumbing side which lost its way when Simon Norvill (15) went at 35 and Tim Kensell to make it 3-42.