Willow Warriors take victory in nail biting grand final

The Margaret River Chicken Treat Big Bash Season is now completed with a record 175 players taking part in the eleventh season of competition.

A huge thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors, the eight team captains and to Shane and his staff at the AMR Shire for helping to produce the best T-20 playing arena in country WA. Also a big thanks to the Augusta Margaret River Mail for terrific coverage of our Big Bash season. Finally a massive thank you to Neil McCormack, who is the heart and soul of this competition.

PRELIMINARY FINAL:  Tuesday afternoon’s challenge was to see who would into the grand final to meet the Warriors. Madness, who finished on top of the ladder met with the Bush Choox who were hoping to play in their fourth grand final in a row. Bush Choox batted first and went to the crease with a different opening batting combination of Muzza and young Cody. It worked perfectly with both men retiring, Muzza with 26 from 15 balls and Cody with 25 from 14 balls. The Choox amassed 0/54 from the power play overs with a run rate of 10.40.

The Choox kept up a good strike rate with another 40 runs for the loss of two wickets in the second quarter to be 2/94 at half time. The third quarter was also a good one for BC as they hit 45 runs and lost another two wickets making it 4/139 at 3/4 time. The final quarter saw 3 wickets fall with the addition of 26 runs, Captain Sebby smashed two 6s and three 4s on his way to a retired 30 from 13 balls to help his team reach 7/185.

Madness needed to score at 9.25 runs per over to make it into the Grand Final and they came out all guns blazing with 24 runs in the first over, 12 in the second and 28 in the fourth to put a total of 0/75 from the 5 over power play. Luke Godrich belted 25 runs from 11 balls including a 6 into the top of the trees. The second quarter was a bit more subdued with 34 runs being added but 5 vital wickets fell for a half time total of 5/109. The Choox did as they have done many times in the past and that was to slow the run rate down with only 26 runs added in the third quarter with the loss of another 3 wickets. The final quarter belonged to the Choox as they took the final three wickets and only conceded 26 runs to have Madness all out in the final over for 161. The Bush Choox won their way into their fourth grand final in a row and Madness left to think about the one that got away.

GRAND FINAL: Friday was the last game of the season and the two teams in the best form met for Big Bash Play Off No.11.

The Willow Warriors who finished the series in second position took on fourth-placed Bush Choox. It was a windy afternoon on the Western Oval and the Warriors won the toss, electing to field first.

With an opening combination that had seen them off to many great starts this season, Muzza and Chooky strode to the crease. With Muzza falling early to a brilliant catch from Forey on the point boundary off the bowling of the Cam Bean, the Choox supporters were temporarily silenced. Chooky battered brilliantly to retire on 25 from 16 balls. The Choox had 1/41 on the board from the power play at a strike rate of 8.20 runs per over.

The second quarter was slightly better with 43 runs added for the loss of two wickets but this was also helped by the Warriors giving up 14 runs in wides. At half time the Choox were 3/84. The Warriors dominated the third quarter by restricting the runs in the term to 32 but this included another 10 sundries. Smithy scored 16 runs from 16 balls to help the total to keep moving in the right direction. The final 5 overs was going to have to be something special  to set a decent target for the Warriors to chase. With 30 balls left and only 3 wickets in hand the Choox swung at everything, some they hit, some they missed. Ten of the last 30 balls were either wickets or dot balls and the boys from fowl house corner were all out with one ball left in the innings. Jake Rodgers hit 17 from 7 balls but he was the only shining light in the lower order.

They managed to put on 40 from the final 30 balls and ended their inning on 156 with the help of 38 sundries.  Big Hazza was the best of the Warriors bowlers with 3/12, Cam picked off 2/7 and Garsty was tidy with 1/10, Forey took 3 solid catches In the out field.  The Warriors will need to score at 7.81 runs an over to win this grand final. 

In front of a big crowd the Warriors started with 21 runs from the first over with Garsty opening up with a 9 run netter and a 6. He retired on the second ball of the 4th over with another 4 and 6 back to back to end with 34 from 13 balls. The power play was brilliant with 1/54 at 10.80 run rate. The second quarter was a tight battle as the Choox conceded 34 runs as the run rate dropped to 8.80.

The half time total was 2/88 just 3 runs ahead of the Choox half time total. Needing 69 runs from the final 60 balls the Warriors made 32 runs in the third quarter for the loss of 3 wickets and were now 5/120 at 3/4 time. Mitch's slow but valuable inning of 25 from 26 balls kept his team in touch. Robbo was the star with the ball for the Choox taking 3 for 8 to help tighten up the game. The Warriors needed 37 from the final 30 balls for victory.

Muzza bowled the 16th over and it went for 6 runs, the 17th and 18th overs went for a combined 24 and Warriors were now needing just 7 runs from the final 12 balls with 5 wickets in hand. Six runs came in the 19th and with 6 balls left the grand final scores were tied at 156 runs each. 

Chooky took the ball to bowl the final over and the first two balls were quick and unplayable but on the third ball of the last over Forey belted a boundary that saw the Warriors claim the 2018 Premiership. Forey ended up with 26 not out from 19 balls and along with his 3 outfield catches was awarded the man of the match. The Bush Choox were brilliant this season but now hold the unenviable record of losing four grand finals in a row. 

Next season will kick off in November, for more information visit www.facebook.com/Margaret-River-T-20-Big-Bash