Some of the leading veteran cricketers in the country ventured to the Limestone Coast last week in the hope of lifting the prestigious Border Cup. Home side South East Coasters was joined by Geelong White, SA Veterans Cricket Association and Hamilton for the three-day tournament spread across the region. The fight for the Border Cup proved to be fiercely contested with South East and Geelong White both recording two wins each.
But the hosts fell agonisingly short of back-to-back titles after Geelong White edged ahead by less than two points on the table. What proved costly for the Coasters was a heavy defeat to Hamilton on the opening day in Penola.
Batting first, South East raced to the dominant position of 0/104 from the first 20 overs thanks to strong contributions from the top order headlined by the flamboyant Dale Bateman with 44 off 22 balls. However, the game took a turn for the worse as the Coasters only added another 45 runs before being bowled out dramatically.
John Crawford was the chief architect with 4/14. South East’s total of 145 proved well below par after the hosts struggled to find breakthroughs and eventually lost by eight wickets. A return to Mount Gambier and the picturesque surrounds of Frew Park was a fruitful one for the Coasters with an important win over eventual champion Geelong White.
After sending the Victorians in, South East’s attack remained potent across the entire 40 overs. Geelong’s batsmen struggled to break free with the top scorer registering 27 as the Coasters restricted their opponents to 9/144. Phillip Dohnt took the new ball and claimed two wickets, while five others took one each. With the top seven all retiring, South East cruised past the target with eight wickets and seven overs in hand.
Bateman again led the way with 43 off just 24 balls and received strong support from Michael Young with a run-a-ball 25. The Coasters’ campaign finished on a winning note against SAVCA at Alan Scott Park. The home team sent SAVCA into bat and Dohnt found his line and length.
He swiftly removed both openers before taking 4/28 from his seven overs. Only Greg Stagg with 40 offered significant resistance, while South East bowled the visitors out for 127. Despite the Coasters rolling to 73 before the first wicket fell thanks to Stephen Bell, Phil Verco and Young, the run chase was not all smooth sailing after Bill Kidd claimed three quick wickets.
However, South East still reached the target with four wickets in hand. The Border Cup completes a busy summer for the Coasters, which also finished fifth in the 14-round SA Veterans Cricket Association zone competition.