• Stewart Moses

Penrith fall at the final hurdle


Penrith has failed in its attempt to win its maiden Kingsgrove Sports T20 Cup, going down by 36 runs to Sydney Cricket Club at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday night.

As current holders of the limited overs title won less than ten months ago, Penrith went into the T20 Cup final as slight favorites on the back of being the only undefeated side throughout the campaign.

But they disappointed when it mattered most, allowing Sydney to claim their second T20 title in the ten-year history of the competition.

Jordan Silk showed his class both in the outfield and with bat for Penrith during his brief stint in the T20 Cup. Credit: Ian Bird.

In overcast conditions, Sydney won the toss and elected to bat first, but by the end of the power play, the Tigers found themselves in trouble at 3/35.

However some sloppy fielding, missed chances and loose bowling from Penrith, allowed Delray Rawlins to swing momentum the Tigers way with a well compiled 57 from 42 balls.

Ably supported by Beau McClintock (unbeaten on 41 from 33 deliveries faced) and Nathan Sowter (19 from 10 balls), Sydney had more than recovered to post a more than competitive 7-158 at the end of their 20 overs.

For Penrith, bowling surprise packet Brent Williams (2/19) was the pick of the bowlers, while Michael Castle (2-27) and Luke Hodges (2-29) had their moments.

But despite having the likes of England T20 international Sam Billings and BBL players Jordan Silk and Ryan Gibson at their disposal, Penrith were never in the hunt and saved their worst effort of the campaign with the bat until last.

Ryan Gibson, who had batting restrictions placed on him by his BBL team, Sydney Thunder, top scored for Penrith in the T20 Cup Final (30). Credit: Ian Bird.

Penrith's run chase was suffocated after losing the early wickets of Castle for a first-ball duck, John Di Bartolo (10) and Jordan Silk (5).

The Black Cats were soon 4/48 when Billings was dismissed for 18 and the game was effectively over when top-scorer Ryan Gibson (30) was the sixth wicket to fall with the score on just 77.

Ryan Smith (24 not out) provided some respectability to Penrith's score but were the Black Cats were well and truly outclassed, dismissed for just 122.

Coach Michael Wholohan said it was a disappointing way to end what was otherwise a very successful campaign that netted the club $4,000 prize money for making the final.

"Until tonight we were undefeated but we met our match in Sydney, who were way too good for us," Wholohan lamented.

"They executed a lot better than us in all three facets of the game so good luck to them.

"But in saying from the position they were in at one point, in all fairness to them, we shouldn't have let them score 158.

"I think we were a little bit inconsistent with the ball tonight.

"We didn't bowl particularly good lines which has otherwise been one of the features of our game.

"Also our fielding which has been top-shelf in the last couple of months in all formats of the game, was tonight a little bit sloppy and that cost us probably at least 15-20 runs.

"You also need to take your chances and we couldn't afford to give players like McClintock (who should have been run out for 0) a chance and it was certainly a crucial moment, no doubting that.

"I always thought that total was always going to be a challenging one.

"Runs on the board in any form of cricket is always hard to deal with and unfortunately we were on the wrong end of the ledger tonight."

Sydney Sixers' Sam Billings provided Penrith with plenty of speak in the field and made some handy contributions with the bat in the T20 Cup. Credit: Ian Bird.

Smith, who was the hero for Penrith earlier in the day taking 4/18 in the conference final, was particularly expensive against Sydney, conceding 1/48 from his four overs.

However skipper Michael Castle opted against using spinner Jake Wholohan as an alternative bowling option, which while it took coach Michael Wholohan by some surprise, he refused to concede that the team should have played an extra batsman instead.

"I thought Sydney used their spinners quite well and in hindsight it might have been a better option for us to use another spin option," Wholohan admitted.

"But with these things its always in the heat of the battle that the captain needs to make those decisions and that's the way it went tonight.

"(Another batsman?) Possibly. But I think we got the selection process right, we just didn't execute well enough on the night.

"But it certainly gives us something to think about for next year though."

Penrith had plenty of colorful support in the Members' Stand at the SCG. Credit: Ian Bird.

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