Maroochydore snap five-year T20 title drought
CRICKET: Batting second was the secret to success in the finals of the Kennards Hire T20 competition with the winners of the three games having little difficulty in reaching targets set, with Maroochydore grabbing the main prize.
The morning semi-finals pitted Gympie against Glasshouse at Kev Hackney Oval, while Maroochydore and Caboolture faced off on Kerry Emery Oval, home of the Scorchers.
Last year's winners Caboolture batted first, sending Matt Schubert and Glen Batticciotto to open, with Schubert hot after a sparkling unbeaten 73 against Caloundra on Saturday.
His form continued, scoring freely and after four overs the Snakes had reached 31, with the skipper on 4.
Kurtis Watson came on for the fifth over, welcomed by a wide call from the umpire then a six from Schubert, but had the last laugh as the last delivery of the over hit the base of the stumps to send the opener on his way for 36.
Jayden Coffin entered, and with his captain took the tally past 60 when Watson returned for his second over, which removed Batticciotto, then Jordan McManus to totally change the tempo.
From there it was a recovery mission for Caboolture, as the Snakes staggered to 109.
This presented little challenge for the Swans, with Adam Thornton and Callum Stitt racing to 70 as the target and entry to the final was reached in 17 overs.
Gympie was posed a goal of 125 when Ricky Sawyer stood tall for 44 after Glasshouse top scorer Dan Cahill was out for 1, but the Rangers would have needed much, much more as Steve Ledger and Lewis Waugh teed off with 57 and 52 respectively for 126 in just 13 overs to join the Swans in the afternoon final.
Maroochydore and Gympie both had T20 overs in the past five seasons, with the Gold doubling up in 2017 and 2018, and a winning toss saw Swans' captain Blaine Schloss opt to bowl.
Waugh and Ledger had the pads on once more, and reached 32 off four overs when Kurtis Watson weaved his magic spell once more.
His first delivery saw Laren Dyer accept Waugh's edge behind, then three balls later he sent a scoreless Leo Cartwright off at 2/35.
Six balls later Stitt trapped Steve Brady in front, and the momentum was all with the Swans.
Ledger stayed for 36, Josh Brady held the fort for a subdued 18, and Brycen Mitchell hit out to get 23 as Gympie batted out their 20 overs, but a total of 107 was a far cry from the morning glory.
A run rate just over five per over gave Maroochydore leeway for caution, and the experience of Thornton and Stitt showed as they as reaped 63 from seven overs to reduce the pace needed to a canter.
Stitt went at 65, Thornton at 69, but there was little the Gold could do to apply pressure and Luke McInnes was with Zac Willox as the Swans reached home in the 15th over, at 3/112.
A well-led, well-played effort from Maroochydore had triumphed over two good sides on the day, giving the team that missed last season's finals a huge tick on this year's progress.