FIELDING powerhouse Russells Creek is celebrating a part-time wicketkeeper’s role in securing its second-consecutive Twenty20 crown.
Working to cover the absence of skipper and regular wicketkeeper Cam Williams, Creek turned to its overseas player, Rukshan Weerasinghe, to don the gloves in its Twenty20 grand final battle with Allansford.
It paid dividends.
With the game in the balance, Weerasinghe dived to recover a wayward ball and pulled off a direct hit run-out to dismiss Allansford star Heinrich Joyce in an act which turned the tide of the match.
Weerasinghe, a former Sri Lankan first-class player, drew praise from Creek coach Jayaweera Bandara.
“He approached me when we knew Cam (Williams) would be away with Vic Country, so we knew he could play as (wicketkeeper),” Bandara said.
“He’d done it in Sri Lanka. I thought he did a fantastic job.”
Russells Creek posted a 112-run total first-up, with Paul Walker (35 runs) and Jimmy Elford (46) serviceable.
Elford struck again with ball-in-hand, dismissing Allansford skipper Chris Bant for just four runs to open the floodgates.
The Gators failed to recover, losing several wickets in succession.
Bandara revealed his men placed a high importance on fielding and used pressure to lay the foundations for the triumph.
“We discuss (fielding) all the time. You just have to put that pressure on. Fielding can win games,” he said.
“We get the opportunity now to play (in the Sungold Cup) and we’re really determined to make some money for the club.”
Creek quick Izzy Yaddehige, who snared three scalps in the final, said the return of Williams and top-order batsman Shashan Silva would bolster his side’s stocks for the $15,000 tournament.
“We played without Shashan and Cam and I think we struggled a bit with the bat, but we bowled very well,” he said.
“They should be back in the next week so that will help us a lot.” The Sungold Cup quarter finals begin next Sunday, while the final is on Australia Day.