WBCA: Forestry secure place in grand final after defeating Bridgetown

Jethro NamnikManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Forestry celebrate one of many wickets.
Camera IconForestry celebrate one of many wickets. Credit: Jodi Johnston

Forestry have secured a place in the 2023 Warren Blackwood Cricket Association grand final in two weeks time after easily defeating Bridgetown last Saturday.

With the turf wicket still a little damp under foot, both sides were unsure on how it would play.

Bridgetown won the toss and opted for the safe option of runs on the board, which most sides rely on in finals cricket.

Bridgetown captain Darcy Walsh changed things up, promoting himself to open the batting for the first time this season.

Forestry also got funky with their bowling line-up, with star bowler Connor Ipsen surprisingly not given the new ball, turning a few heads.

It ended up being a masterstroke as Kayne Aitken had Bridgetown’s Hugh Mitchell — who racked up a whopping 214 runs last week — caught behind in the second over.

This gave the home side a huge amount of confidence as they went on to take another two quick wickets to have Bridgetown struggling at 3-4.

Forestry’s Daniel Ward was the standout bowler early, with figures of 1-8 after seven overs.

Brendon White (16) ended up giving the visitors some composure later in the innings, joined by Matt Tassos who went on to make 30.

Thomas Clynch (13) and Shane Glancy played with patience, but with Glancy’s wicket, Forestry gained some real momentum.

Josiah Smith (3-10 in under six overs) and Connor Ipsen 2-13 (five overs) ripped through Bridgetowns tail, as the last five wickets fell for just seven runs.

Bridgetown finished on a sub-par total of 84, bowled out in the 33rd over.

With a small total to defend, Bridgetown bowlers had to be on top early.

White bowled with some swing and seam up front, taking the wicket of Sam Vellios caught in the slips.

Star all-rounder Ward refused to let White settle as he started blasting the ball across the field, forcing a few bowling changes from the northern end. However, each bowler seemed to cop the same treatment.

Aitken played a crucial role scoring 23 not out at a run per ball, playing second fiddle to Ward’s 54 not out.

Forestry went on to chase down the total in the 15th over.

The nine wicket win earned Forestry the right to host the WBCA grand final on March 4, while Bridgetown will get a second chance when they take on Manjimup in the preliminary final at 12.30pm on Saturday at Bridgetown Oval.

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