Hillgrove claims Twenty20 honours

HILLGROVE pocketed the first piece of silverware on offer for the year in Armidale with a four wicket win over Easts in Saturday’s Twenty20 final.

After bowling Easts out for 104, Hillgrove reached 6-106 in reply to cap off a good day for the club.

Its seconds had earlier defeated Easts in their final.

The first final of an Australia Day triple header saw St Kilda defeat Servies Blue to take the third grade honours.

Hillgrove were unbeaten heading into the (first grade) final and produced a good bowling and fielding display to restrict Easts to just over 100.

“We bowled and fielded quite well,” skipper Brad King said.

“We bowled to the plans we had for batsmen.”

And they caught well.

Alex Frost made 23, Ben Hanlon 21 and Dean Moore 18 but they were the only batsmen to really make an impression on the scoreboard as Andrew Curry and Matt Schaefer cleaned up.

Curry bowled well with the new ball and took 3-22 while Schaefer finished with 3-14 and was in everything.

“He took three wickets, a run out and a catch,” King said.

He had to watch from the grandstand after tearing his hamstring during Friday night’s Premier League and was happy watching them keep Easts to what they did.

“We thought 120 would be competitive.

“Anything over 120 would be hard to chase down,” he said.

As it was they were chasing only 105.

Things didn’t start well though with Schaefer out for a duck the third ball of the innings.

“We had a bit of a hiccup there to start with, and Sully (Adam O’Sullivan) went not long after.

“He got bowled,” King said.

“They got a bit of a sniff.

“But we ground away from there.”

Bentley Cropper, Josh Croft and Michael Dawson led the recovery and between them scored the bulk of the runs.

Croft was the top-scorer for the match with 36, while Cropper continued his good form making 22 and Dawson hit 21 and almost got them home.

He was out with three runs to get.

In the end they did with an over and a couple of balls to spare with Scott Brennan and Tom Armitage seeing them to victory.

“Losing big wickets like Sully and Matt Schaefer, I’m proud of the other guys and the way they stepped up,” King said.

Shaun Brennan (2-16) was the pick of the Easts bowlers