Sungold Cup tournament ain’t over until it’s all over

IN-FORM Woodford batsman Nick Butters has played down the Eels’ favouritism for Sungold Cup glory this long weekend.

Woodford is one of eight regional clubs chasing a share of $26,000 in the inter-association tournament in Warrnambool.

It takes on Noorat in a quarter-final at Davidson Oval at 10.30am tomorrow.

The Eels enter the tournament with the knowledge Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) clubs have won three of the four Sungold Cups since its inception in 2009.

But Butters said that event was hardly a foregone conclusion and was adamant the Eels’ chances were “50-50 as far as I’m concerned”.

“The last few years show that (WDCA sides are dominant) but I wouldn’t be getting carried away just yet,” he said.

“There are three hard games to get there. A lot of blokes do different roles in Twenty20. 

“It can go either way.”

Butters has been one of the major reasons Woodford has surged into the Sungold Cup. The 19-year-old has affirmed his reputation as a hard-hitting match winner with 157 runs at an average of 52.33 in the WDCA Twenty20 tournament. 

He has combined well with fellow young opener Luke Wines, with their partnerships regularly laying the foundation for victory.

The pair have put on 50, seven, 44 and 59 in four short-form matches.

“Personally I’ve had a lot of luck in the Twenty20. I’ve probably used it all up and not get any on Sunday,” Butters said.

“Playing shots is my natural game — getting a bit more freedom, being that bloke who can be aggressive and get away with it. Luke Wines has been very good in the Twenty20. He has been our shining light with the bat.

“He comes out and really dominates bowlers.”

Butters also highlighted the Eels’ depth and the astute leadership of coach John Houston (‘Hooter’) for their Twenty20 success.

“We don’t rely on one or two blokes,” he said. 

“I think with Hooter, everyone knows he’s been around long enough. He knows all the little tactics and how to get on top of bowlers and batsmen.

“I’m expecting Hooter to be batting fairly high this Twenty20 game.

“ I’m just guessing. He’s got every shot.” 

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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