Central Coast Rush have defeated the ACT Aces by 24 runs in the Grand Final of the 2018/19 Plan B Regional Bash to win the title for the first time at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday night.
The Rush defended a sizeable total of 4/152 from their 20 overs by dismissing ACT for 128. Ben Cohen from the Central Coast was named Player of the Final after a pivotal 44 from 31 balls that included five fours and one six.
Central Coast allrounder Adam Taylor was named Player of the T20 Series. From four matches, he accrued 133 runs to his name at an average of 33.3 and claimed eight scalps at nine.
All four teams that made finals day of the Regional Bash at the SCG on Tuesday, including the Central West Wranglers and the Coffs Coast Chargers, made the elimination stages for the first time.
ACT defeated the Wranglers by six wickets in the Thunder Conference final during the first game of the day, while Central Coast booked its place in the decider with a seven-wicket win over the Chargers.
The Plan B Regional Bash title adds a fourth NSW Country Cricket title to the three already won by Central Coast this season.
It has claimed the McDonald’s Country Colts, Under 16 Bradman Cup and Under 14 Kookaburra Cup and, in the process, already secured the Hogg Silver Shield for the Zone Championship.
After Central Coast won the toss in the Final and elected to bat, it got off to a flyer and was 0/40 in the fifth over.
However, ACT clawed its way back in to the contest with the key wickets of Tony Cornwell (21 from 13) and Taylor (19) late in the powerplay.
Cohen gave Central Coast the impetus it needed to pass 150. He was well supported Steve McCabe (20 from 23) and Hayden Murphy (26 not out from 22).
Accurate medium-pacer Scott Murn (2-29) picked up the key scalps of Taylor and Cohen.
After his brilliant 66 not out from 49 balls in the Thunder Conference Final, the ACT's Tim Floros could not repeat that effort in the decider when run out by paceman Scott Burkinshaw for five during the power play.
It was then up to ACT captain, Ethan Bartlett, to take up the attack to the Central Coast bowlers. He smacked a four and a six from the spin of Adam Taylor to get his innings going but his stay was all too short for the Aces.
He was dismissed for 38 from 25 balls. Sixteen-year-old Broc Hardy then turned the match in the Central Coast favour.
The young off-spinner claimed 3-23 from four overs including the third, fourth and sixth wickets.
The Aces lost 7/25 to be bowled out on the second last ball of the 20th over. Taylor also claimed 3-17 for the champions.
In the Thunder Conference final, ACT reached the 112 set to win by Central West in the 18th over.
Floros shared an unbeaten 63-run fifth-wicket partnership with Jordie Misic (32 not out) to guide the Aces home. ACT made 4/115 in response to 5/111 posted by Central West.
Like he did in the decider, Murn produced the good figures of 2-13 from three overs. Adam Ryan top-scored for the Wranglers with 40 not out from 41 balls.
In the Sixers Conference Final, the Rush secured its spot in the final with similar aplomb. Central Coast chased down 135 to win also in 17.1 overs.
Steve McCabe starred with bat in hand for the Rush. He made an impressive 77 not out from 48 balls.
McCabe shared an unbeaten 60-run fourth-wicket partnership with captain Peter Gallichan (23 not out from 17) who got bragging rights over his brother, Coffs Coast skipper, Richie Gallichan.
The Rush finished at 3/137 in reply to 5/134. Burkinshaw (2-34) returned best figures for the Central Coast.
Luke Cox top-scored for the Chargers with 43 from 28 deliveries.
Scores here: https://bit.ly/2BkPkFU
06 February 2019