Cam Bancroft returns as Willetton start Premier Cricket season with a bang

Cam Bancroft makes his return for Willetton. Photo: Getty
Cam Bancroft makes his return for Willetton. Photo: Getty

CAMERON Bancroft endured a mixed weekend in his return to competitive cricket as Willetton started their Premier Cricket season in perfect fashion, claiming back-to-back one day victories over the weekend.

Willetton comprehensively defeated Midland Guildford by nine wickets on Saturday after a dominant bowling display to open their season at Burrendah Park.

They then backed it up on Sunday with a fine 13-run victory over Fremantle at Stevens Reserve.

Bancroft was controversially dismissed for just four against Midland Guildford, before he found some form against Fremantle with an important 44.

Dragons hand Midland Guildford comprehensive defeat

Willetton comprehensively defeated Midland Guildford by nine wickets on Saturday after a dominant bowling display to open their season at Burrendah Park.

Sending the visitors in to bat immediately paid dividends for Willetton, with Matthew Hanna taking out opener James Kirwan early at 1-7.

A brief fight back from Hayden Cobley and Sam Evans was halted by Kallen Bond at 2-30, before a devastating middle order collapse saw Midland Guildford dramatically bowled out for 86.

Aaron McCall was tremendous for the Dragons, taking 3-11, while Bond, Hanna and Simon Mackin chipped in with two wickets each, in what was a dynamic bowling display from the Dragons’ attack.

The small total of 86 proved to be a mere formality, with Bancroft’s dismissal at 1-14 the only hiccough.

Aaron Hardie and Iszak Milentis had no issues chasing down the remaining runs, with Hardie notching a bruising half century.

Willetton claim honours in topsy-turvy match

On Sunday, the Dragons backed their batsmen in to do the damage and build a defendable total, which looked to be an interesting choice as Fremantle’s bowlers got on top early.

However, with Bancroft at the crease and the Dragons sitting shakily at 4-63, the Scorchers’ batsman found some much-needed form for himself and Willetton, pushing the total to 95 before he departed.

James Godfrey took over from Bancroft, anchoring the middle of the innings with Alex Hepburn, before Fremantle took three wickets in the space of three runs through Benjamin Moore and Jeremy Carder and turned the match on its head.

At 8-125, the Dragons found important late innings partnerships, as Simon Mackin joind forces with Brennan Wilson (34) and Aaron McCall (32) to bat out the innings and score a respectable 9-191.

Chasing 192 for victory, Fremantle’s run chase got off to a slow start, losing Sam Whiteman for two after just four deliveries.

However, Jeremy Charder and Daniel Kennedy fought through the awkward early session to produce a much-needed 45-run partnership.

With the match appearing to be on Fremantle’s terms, the Dragons struck back and took three quick wickets through Matthew Hanna and Aaron Hardie, leaving the home side floundering on 4-62.

Brayden Sutton and Matthew Micale took the challenge of righting the ship for Fremantle, which they did with aplomb.

Navigating through Hanna and Hardie’s pace attack, Sutton and Micale added 54 runs during an important fifth-wicket partnership.

Just as Fremantle looked to have the match in its control, the Dragons struck back again, this time taking four wickets in the space of 18 runs to cause a middle order collapse as the home side dropped to 8-134.

A late 43-run partnership to Ross Macauley and Benjamin Moore wasn’t enough to save Fremantle, as they were bowled out for 178.

Matthew Hanna was outstanding with the ball for the Dragons, taking 4-31, signalling his intentions as one of the bowlers of the competition again in 2018-19.