Some entertaining big hitting by Henry Smith late in their innings was not quite enough to get the Warriors across the line in their twilight Twenty20 clash with Noradjuha Toolondo Bullants at the Horsham City Oval on Friday evening.

The Bullants batted first and started strongly, scoring seven runs before Josh Lees had Justin Combe caught by Nathan Alexander from the final delivery of the first over of their innings.

Fellow opening batsman Matthew Combe (36) then combined with Tony Caccaviello (60) to take the Bullants’ score to 100 in the twelfth over before Tim Braendler broke this dangerous partnership by having Caccaviello caught by Liam Albrecht.

Over the next eight overs, a catch by Bradley Alexander off Austin Merrett’s bowling, a wicket by Nathan Alexander, and run outs by Merrett and Lees all contributed to slowing the run rate.

After their twenty overs, the Bullants had set the Warriors a target of 156 runs for the win.

Warriors’ openers Nathan Alexander and Mitch Dahlenburg (26) started the run chase strongly and had 35 runs on the board when Alexander was caught for 15. By the time his replacement, Bradley Alexander (below), was dismissed for 37 in the fifteenth over, the team’s score was at 88, but a total of four Warriors had lost their wickets.

With each batsman’s dismissal, the required scoring rate increased until when Henry Smith (above) came to the crease with five overs remaining, more than thirteen runs per over was required.

This prospect did not daunt Smith, as he launched his first three scoring shots beyond the boundary, much to the delight of his teammates.

Both Smith and Liam Preston’s enthusiastic batting drew the Warriors close to their target, but when the last ball was bowled, they were still thirteen runs short of the target.

Smith finished not out on 38, which included four sixes and one four, and Preston was also not out on 20 with one boundary.

With only four Twenty20 rounds to decide the two teams that will meet in the final in this format, the Warriors’ remaining two games are now must-win encounters, with their fate possibly decided next Saturday on Davis Park when they meet the current ladder-leaders, Jung Tigers.

A win in this game will keep them in the running for the final, as they then have to travel to Coughlan Park in Horsham the following week to play the current sixth-placed Horsham Saints in the last of the regular games in this format.

Horsham Cricket Association - A Grade - Round 9 - Twenty20 Match

Noradjuha Toolondo Bullants won by 13 runs

Noradjuha Toolondo Bullants

J Combect. N Alexander   b. J Lees5
T Caccaviello   ct. L Albrechtb. T Braendler   60
M Combect. B Alexanderb. A Merrett36
J Beddisonrun out (A Merrett) 16
B Ward  9
T Dumesnynot out 8
J McDonaldrun out ( J Lees) 0
D Combenot out 4
Sundries  17
TOTAL(20 Overs)6 for 156

West Wimmera Warriors Bowling

     O    M    R    W
J Lees40201
N Alexander   40241
A Merrett30231
T Braendler40401
H Smith40280
L Preston10110

West Wimmera Warriors

N Alexanderct. D Combeb. H Lang15
M Dahlemburg   ct. T Dumesny   b. B Wills26
B Alexanderct. M Combeb. J Beddison37
T Polkinghornelbwb. J Beddison   0
L Prestonnot out 20
H Smithnot out 38
Sundries  6
TOTAL(20 overs)4 for 142

Noradjuha Toolondo Bullants Bowling

     O    M    R    W
D Combe20170
T Caccaviello   40180
J McDonald40320
H Lang40231
J Beddison40352
B Wills20161