Thursday, February 8, 2024
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Walkerston Roosters Cricket Club are Mackay Cricket Association’s newly crowned Twenty20 First Division Shootout champions for the 2023-24 season.
The resurgent Roosters powered their way to a deserved title with a thrilling 14-run Grand Final victory over Pioneer Valley last Saturday night at Great Barrier Reef Arena to cap a memorable campaign.
Experienced stalwarts Sam Vassallo, skipper Chris Mceldowney, pace ace Adam Knezevic and quick Nick Lotarski featured prominently in the Roosters’ charge to the championship with top performances throughout the series.
Walkerston elected to bat first after winning the toss and posted a competitive 6-126 with valuable contributions from Masters representative skipper Vassallo (36 runs off 32 balls including five boundaries), Mceldowney (26 not out off 29 balls) and Neil Gustavson (20).
Pioneer bowling trump cards Dion Krisanski-Kennedy (3-26 off four overs) and Bailey Camilleri (3-29 off four) kept the Roosters in check with wholehearted performances.
Krisanski-Kennedy was close to best on field – nearly pulling off a sensational victory for the Valley with a dashing knock of 48 before he was stumped by Walkerston keeper Vassallo off the bowling of spinner Adrian Young.
The talented all-rounder cracked six boundaries during his 42-ball stint at the crease and shared a vital third wicket partnership of 76 with opening batsman Mitch English (39 off 47 balls) after the Valley lost two early wickets with only nine runs on the board.
At 2-85 the Pioneer outfit seemed on track to reach their target before the accomplished trio of the lethal Lotarski (3-22 off four), Mceldowney (2-20 off four) and cagey Knezevic (2-24 off four) masterminded an epic Walkerston victory after restricting the Valley X1 to 8-112.
The previous day the Roosters advanced to the trophy decider with a 22-run semi final triumph over Norths Devils at Great Barrier Reef Arena.
Vassallo (43 runs off 38 balls with four boundaries and a six), vice captain Jakob Frerichs (34 off 23 balls), Knezevic (27 off 14 balls with three boundaries and a six) and Luke Jackson (23 not out off 20 balls) helped the Roosters amass 6-143 with Kerrod Tortora (3-19 off four) the pick of the Devils’ bowling attack.
Norths (7-121) fell short in their run chase with opener Darryn Dyer (41 runs off 37 balls) looming as a potential batting hero before he was run out with the Devils well placed at 2-87.
Captains and Umpires for the Twenty20 First Division final played at Harrup Park last weekend. Photo credit: Mackay Cricket