Willow Cup: Mt Clear snares Central Highlands Twenty20 Final

MT CLEAR confirmed its status as the region’s premier cricket side in the short form of the game with victory in yesterday’s Central Highlands Twenty20 division one final.

The Mounties collected their third Cricket Willow Cup – backing up previous triumphs in 2006 and 2008 – with a seven-wicket win over Bacchus Marsh in Shepherds Flat.

Mt Clear’s win follows its Ballarat Cricket Association T20 crown, which it won off  Wendouree in a thrilling decider this season.

Bacchus Marsh, from the Gisborne District competition, put up a good fight against its more fancied rivals yesterday, posting a competitive total of 6-154 from 20 overs.

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A strong start from openers Matt Goonan and Paull Jeffrey got the Mounties’ run chase off to a good start, with the pair reaching 86 before young leg-spinner Nick Strangio snared the latter for 50 and Ash George first ball to breath some life into the contest.

But the Bulls’ hopes of success were shortlived, with Matt Ward (35) helping take Mt Clear to 3-136 before Darren Fletcher (12) joined Goonan (50 not out) to take the team over the line with 3.4 overs in hand.

Goonan was named man of the match for his unbeaten half-century, which included five fours.

Mt Clear’s victory is a stepping stone in its bid to reach the state Twenty20 final at the MCG, with its path to continue next season.

Earlier in the day, Lucas recorded back-to-back division two titles with victory over Carngham.

The Ballarat Cricket Association district club was bowled out for 150 batting first and then defended the total, restricting its Grenville-based opponents to 9-134 after 20 overs.

Nick Young top-scored for the victors with 46.