WOODFORD all-rounder Jack Clifford produced the knock of his life yesterday to lift Warrnambool Blue to a first-up victory at Horsham Country Week.
Jack smashed 12 sixes and six fours in his 116 not out as Blue overcame Horsham in 39-degree heat at Horsham Lutheran Primary School.
Blue was battling at 7-80 chasing 8-105 when Jack came to the crease in a match reduced to 35-overs-a-side due to a wet pitch at original venue Sunnyside Oval.
Jack helped secure the points before writing himself into the record books with a devastating display. Warrnambool Blue finished on 7-202.
“I came in to bat about seventh drop and went from there,” he said.
“I normally bat like that. As long as we got over the line I thought I’d go for it.”
Jack said his previous-best score was 69 playing for Western Waves.
He said wayward bowling which played to his strengths helped him reach three figures — “they were bowling short length”.
The individual display, which also included 3-19 with the ball, stole the spotlight from other members of the team.
Brad Hunt took 2-12 while Jarrod Petherick, 21, and Charlie Locke, 16, also impressed.
Jack said Warrnambool Blue had the team to win the tournament.
“I think we can because of the way we’re going at it. We’ve got good batting and bowling strengths in the whole team,” he said.
The opening day of Horsham Country Week delivered contrasting results for Warrnambool teams.
Warrnambool Gold went down to main rival South West by three wickets at Dimboola Road.
Officials split each side’s innings into 25 and 20-over blocks due to the heat, and Gold made the early running.
It reached 3-79 in its first stint at the crease and later powered to 5-178, with Shannon Beks making 37 and Callum McIlveen taking four wickets.
South West was 3-93 at the 25-over changeover and reached the target in the last over, finishing on 7-190.
Hamish Huffadine top-scored with 34 not out while Josh Hickey took 14 runs off the last six balls to deliver victory. Chris Gurney took 4-30.
South West coach Jason Fowler said he was proud of his young players.
“Any time we can get over the top of the Warrnambool sides we’re doing well,” he said. “It was good to have a win.”
Fowler said the decision to split the innings was the correct one.
“All the boys would rather play the 45-over game. It was just fantastic, it meant we got a full 45 overs in,” he said.
“You didn’t have boys falling over in the heat.”