Yambuk batsman Watts earns another shot at grand final success

KEVIN Watts’ only taste of a cricket grand final ended with one of the worst losses of his career.

His East Warrnambool-YCW side needed just 97 from 80 overs to beat Nirranda in 2011-12, but lost all 10 wickets for 57.

Watts made just three. He was one of seven Broncos who failed to reach double figures on a bowler-dominated weekend.

The memories of that grand final, in Warrnambool and District Cricket Association’s division two, remain strong.

He has a chance to avenge the loss on Sunday, but this time for a new club in a different association.

Watts, 29, will help spearhead the Yambuk assault in the Grassmere Cricket Association one-day final against Grassmere at Purnim.

The top-order batsman is among the form players in the A grade competition and is keen to have an impact in the decider.

He has 200 runs at an average of 50 for the campaign, the second-most at the club behind evergreen opener Steve Gleeson.

Watts described his early form for the Buks, only his second club in nine seasons playing cricket, as “pretty good”.

“I started the season off pretty well and then had a couple of lean games in there. But on the weekend a few came out of the middle,” he said.

“Everyone is just enjoying their cricket, everyone gets along. We’re there to have fun but we’re there to win at the same time.”

Watts said he was relishing his time at Yambuk, where his father Harold and a few uncles also played.

The hard-hitting batsman started his career at East, at age 21, and became one of the Broncos’ most prolific run makers for eight seasons. 

He and paceman Jason Alberts crossed to Yambuk during the off-season, linking up with captain Dan Oakley, who previously guided East. 

“Yambuk has been really welcoming,” Watts said. 

“It’s a good club, everyone gets along. My dad used to play out at Yambuk and I’ve got family out there.

The GCA one-day final pits unbeaten Yambuk against a Grassmere side which scraped in courtesy of results falling its way last Saturday.

Gleeson, Watts and Ben Julius loom as the Buks’ major weapons with the bat and will occupy the top three spots.

Alberts, Rob Bleumink and Kevin McElgunn have been the most damaging with the ball.

Oakley highlighted Grassmere pair Braden Hotker and Chris Lenehan as the key batsmen Yambuk had to remove.

“They’re the two keys and Crackers (Craig Spikin) is having a good year,” he said.

“The key to them is they score quick. You’ve got to build pressure at the start and tie them down.

“If we can do that, we’ll back our batting in. Our batting has been reasonable.”

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