ORANGE City’s Royal Hotel Cup title defence is gaining momentum.
After defeating Kinross by seven wickets in round one, the greens scored a 18-run win over Wanderers-Gladstone on Friday night to finish first in pool B.
At the halfway point of City’s innings, Wanderers-Gladstone looked in control of the game having restricted the Warriors to 1-41.
Enter Shaun Grenfell.
The hard-hitting right hander counter-attacked his way to 60 not out, with good support from Adam Cowden (36) and Dave Boundy (17), leading City to 4-134 from its 20 overs.
Wanderers-Gladstone stayed in touch with the required run rate for the first 10 overs of its innings before the chase stalled as regular wickets fell.
Tim Lowe (29) and Scott McDonald (20) got the chase back on track, leaving 20 to get off the final over.
It wasn’t to be.
Evergreen swing bowler Andrew Rutledge bowled the perfect final over, snaring 4-1, taking his innings figures to 6-29 and diminishing any hope of a Wanderers-Gladstone win.
“Rutter’s last over was pretty incredible,” Orange City skipper Matt Findlay said.
“It’s not often you see five-fors in Twenty20 cricket, let alone a six-wicket haul.”
Despite the win, Findlay said the final result was a little too close for comfort.
“We let them get far too close for my liking,” Findlay said.
“From where we were after 10 overs, we did well, but we took our foot off the gas when we should’ve rammed the advantage home.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Wanderers-Gladstone though, they played well and gave us a real run for our money.”
Wanderers-Gladstone skipper Daryl Kennewell was disappointed with the loss, lamenting missed chances.
“We bowled well at the start and tied City down,” he said.
“But we took our foot off the gas and dropped a few catches, which you can’t do in Twenty20.
“If we’d started a bit quicker with the bat we might have got there, but we just got off to a bit of a slow start.”