Eels too slippery for Gators in T20 final

A SUBLIME batting display from Nick Butters and Luke Wines lifted Woodford to back-to-back Warrnambool and District Cricket Association Twenty20 titles.

The young openers shared an unbeaten 109-run stand in just 11.5 overs as the Eels thrashed Allansford by 10 wickets at Jetty Flat last night.

Right-hander Butters finished with 55 and was the more destructive of the pair, particularly early. His knock included three sixes and four fours.

But left-hander Wines was just as effective in making 48. He hit two sixes and four fours and needed just six scoring shots to race from 28 to 48.

The only chance came from the bat of Butters. He smashed a straight drive back at Tom Loughnan, who did well simply to get hands to the ball.

But the rest of the story was of the pair capitalising on short bowling and keeping out the tricky balls as they reeled in the Gators’ 107.

The win means Woodford, which has a 14-2 record in Twenty20 matches the past three seasons, will get the chance to defend its Sungold Cup title.

Woodford coach John Houston praised Butters and Wines, who have rarely failed in a T20 match this season.

“It’s a super partnership. We didn’t want to be any more than three down when we passed them, that was what we wanted to do,” he said.

“They said ‘well we’re not going to go out’ and that’s what they did. They batted sensibly, they put the bad balls away and the good balls they rotated the strike on.”

The near-flawless run chase came after Woodford fought back to dismiss Allansford for 107 in 18.5 overs.

Gault McCluggage, 27, and Tim McDonald, nine, put on 36 for the opening wicket and the Gators were looking sound at 3-75.

But they lost their last seven wickets for 32. Man-of-the-match Butters grabbed 4-12.

Houston said Woodford would take confidence into the Sungold Cup “but you’re only as good as your next innings”.

“The beauty of it is that squad has been together for pretty much three years. We know each other’s game, we know what each other is thinking,” he said.

Allansford coach Stephen Blacker conceded the Gators were outplayed.

“They tied our batsmen down and we lost wickets in clumps,  which is something we don’t like doing,” he said.

“We thought the wicket, if we bowled fairly full and straight, 120 would’ve been competitive. But we bowled far too short.”

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