Woodford backs its T20 record on big stage

WOODFORD paceman Hank Schlaghecke believes experience will play a role in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) Twenty20 grand final.

Woodford takes on Allansford in the short-form decider at Jetty Flat today from 5.30pm, with the winner to represent the WDCA at the Sungold Cup.

The Eels enter the match as the reigning WDCA and Sungold Cup champions and own a 13-2 record in T20 matches since December 2011.

They went on a 7-0 run last summer, while they qualified for the final this summer by going 5-1 during the October round-robin.

Hard-hitting opener Nick Butters has been the cornerstone of that success, making 432 runs at 30.86, with three half-centuries.

Schlaghecke, 22, said Woodford, under the guidance of astute coach John Houston, had developed into a resilient Twenty20 side.

“We know what to expect having played Twenty20 before,” Sch-laghecke said. 

“We want to get there again. It was a good experience playing in the Sungold Cup last year.

“We have our set plans and try to stick to them. If something in the game changes, we’ve got to adapt to that and do what’s going to be best.

“You just change your bowlers up a fair bit and look at the other team, whatever is going to work against them, do the best to beat them.”

The Twenty20 final is the third time Woodford and Allansford have played each other this season. The sides first met in a Twenty20 round robin match in October, with the Eels scoring a five-wicket win with nine balls to spare at Mack Oval.

Their second meeting is in progress. The Gators have 133 on the board after day one of a two-day match at Jack Keane Oval last Saturday.

Schlaghecke said the Eels “got on top of their top order” last weekend. He and Tyler Fowler each took three wickets and Butters grabbed two.

“Once we got their strong batsmen out they fell away a bit. But their Twenty20 side might be a bit different to what we faced on Saturday,” he said.

While Woodford has been the form Twenty20 side of late, Allansford is also a former WDCA and Sungold Cup champion, in 2010-11.

Skipper Kyall Timms said he was encouraged by the Gators’ results this season. 

Like the Eels, they qualified for the final with a 5-1 record.

“From a batting perspective, we’ll look to build an innings, set a platform and have wickets in hand,” he said.

“With our bowlers, we’ll try and bowl good areas and take those half-chances that come your way.”

Timms said he was unfazed by the Eels’ T20 record in previous seasons, or its win against the Gators in October.

“From our point of view, we’ll focus on ourselves. Obviously Woodford has that record but that’s all it is, it’s a record,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean they’ll come out and be successful on the day. We’ve got our own structures in place and our own set plays.

“If we execute those set plays we’ll give ourselves the best opportunity.”

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