Bennell the difference

Justin Fris and Jason MennellSouth Western Times
Bevan Bennell showcased the full range of his talents to deny the BDCA A Section glory on Friday at the WACA.
Camera IconBevan Bennell showcased the full range of his talents to deny the BDCA A Section glory on Friday at the WACA. Credit: Tori O'Connor/Kalgoorlie Miner, Tori O'Connor

The Bunbury and Districts Cricket Association’s bid for glory at 2020 Alcohol Think Again Senior Country Week Championships fell short against Eastern Goldfields, who claimed Friday’s A Section final at the WACA by 54 runs.

Ultimately the match was decided by decorated Eastern Goldfields batsmen Bevan Bennell (90 off 100 balls) who used every ounce of his representative experience in terrorising the BDCA bowlers.

Much to the delight of association officials and his teammates, his innings ultimately ensured country week silverware for the first time in 16 years.

Winning the toss and electing to bat, Eastern Goldfields opening pair Michael Noble (46) and Chris Cole (13) were starting to look settled before the BDCA finally managed to secure a breakthrough courtesy of John Richardson (2-57 off 15 overs), who removed Cole.

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That brought Graham Kennedy (54) to the crease, who forged a 45-run partnership with Noble before the latter was dismissed by tireless all-rounder Brayden Clarke (3-60 off nine overs).

At 2-78, it could have been argued the match hung in the balance. Bennell strode out to the middle with three double figured starts and a duck next to his name for the carnival.

But as we have so often seen in big matches, the cream rises to the top.

The influential playmaker shrugged off any signs of a form slump, with the South West side trying everything in a bid to slow his roll.

Bennell was eventually caught off Richardson for 90, but he had well and truly set off a series of alarm bells in the BDCA’s dressing room.

A late cameo from middle order batsman Michael Worthington (73 off 66 balls) put the tally over 300, which appeared to be a mammoth task for Tom Buchanan’s side.

The BDCA’s run chase began disastrously, with Kurt D’Agostino (0), Clarke (1) and Liam Renton (0) all falling early.

Needing some stability in order to keep alive their flickering hopes of securing the silverware, Richardson and Buchanan took it upon themselves to hang around and try to steady the ship.

Both men were asked plenty of questions by a probing Eastern Goldfields bowling attack, however it appeared for the most part as if they were holding their own.

However once Richardson (67 off 79 balls) was eventually removed by Kennedy, momentum swung back to the fielding side, who sensed their chance to seize the contest.

Aside from Buchanan and a late flurry from Clint Hewson, none of the remaining BDCA players was able to build on their starts and the team was dismissed for 253 in the 54th over.

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