A first-time winner of the Bendigo District Cricket Association’s Twenty20 competition will be crowned tonight when Strathfieldsaye Jets lock horns with Huntly-North Epsom Power at the QEO.
The Jets are hoping its third time lucky after two previous defeats to Strathdale in the decider.
While the Power will be aiming to flick the switch under lights as they chase the club’s first trophy since its formation in 2001-02.
The 7pm clash shapes as a contest between Strathfieldsaye’s firing top-order batsmen and Huntly’s consistent bowling attack. The Jets have been the dominant batting team and hit peak form in last week’s semi-final thrashing of White Hills.
Led by skipper Ben Gunn’s blistering 117 off 56 balls, the Jets blasted 3-224 at Integrating Technology Oval before sending the Demons packing for just 64.
“It’s definitely up to our top order to get us off to that good start which we’ve managed to do in most Twenty20 games,” Gunn said.
“If you can get even to 0-40 off six overs it’s just a good foundation to start going a bit harder.
“You don’t know what the deck’s going to be like at the QEO either, 130 could be a good score there – you just don’t know.”
Opening batsman Gunn has been in super touch this season, with the T20s no exception.
He’s scored 250 runs at an average of 50, as the Jets won three of four round matches to qualify for finals.
The Power’s hallmark has been to restrict teams’ star batsmen and it has a deep batting line-up which is capable of tearing attacks apart.
Huntly has injury concerns heading into the match, with young medium-pacer Harry Whittle in doubt with a groin injury, although left-arm spinner Nick Roebuck has put his hand up despite requiring a shoulder operation.
Roebuck has a superb economy rate of under four runs per over in the competition, while Johnston has picked-up eight wickets at an economy rate of less than six.
The Power lost just one wicket chasing Bendigo United’s 6-137 in its semi-final after winning three thrilling matches in a row to get there.
Huntly reached Sandhurst’s 129 with two balls to spare in the final round, after previously restricting Strathdale and Kangaroo Flat in close chases of 122 and 127, respectively.
“I suppose last week’s game batting was the key because we got them one-down, but pretty much every game we’ve played bowling’s been our strength because we’ve been able to restrict sides pretty well,” Johnston said.
While some see T20 as a hit and giggle, the Power won’t be taking the match lightly with its first trophy up for grabs.