Mariners wear crown


Sam Whiteman scored an unbeaten 113.
Sam Whiteman scored an unbeaten 113.

The Western Warriors wicketkeeper-batsman steered the Mariners to an eight-wicket grand final triumph over southern rivals Fremantle after telling contributions from Brendon Diamanti and captain Craig Simmons.

Simmons blasted 53 from 56 balls as he and Whiteman put on 115 for the second wicket, while Diamanti snared 4-61 to contain Fremantle.

On a day where he passed the 6000 run barrier for the club, Simmons said he was ecstatic with his side’s all-round effort.

“What a day. We executed with bat, ball, in the field, everything went our way and I’m pretty proud of what the guys achieved this season,” he said.

Coach Mark Atkinson echoed the sentiments of Simmons, saying the key to the title came from an even spread of sources over the full season.

“I don’t think we could ever imagine we would be standing here after a wonderful season, a season that we’ve had a really good contribution from everyone here, it’s been fantastic,” he said.

“To have three guys in the top 10 run scorers of the competition, to have five blokes over 400 runs, to have three guys over 20 wickets it’s been a really good contribution from everyone.”

Play got under way on Sunday after day one was washed out, meaning Fremantle had to push the game to force a result; as minor premiers the Mariners could settle for a draw whereas Fremantle had to win to claim the title.

Diamanti struck twice early to put the Port under pressure at 3-27.

The New Zealand all-rounder defied a calf injury sustained in the semi-final against Perth a week earlier.

Somehow, he rattled through 15 overs as Leon Coombs (1-13) and Joel Marion (1-27) helped out.

Fremantle were led by captain Ashton Turner (72), who was dismissed by leg-spinner Kyle Gardiner (1/32) just as he tried to up the ante after lunch.

The navy blues then set their sights on taking 10 wickets as they declared at 8/198 after 45 overs.

The Mariners would not need 40 of the 60 overs left to overhaul the total as Whiteman put Fremantle to the sword.

He said he was thrilled to score the runs to secure the Mariners’ first ever premiership.

“It was disappointing to miss out last week in the semi-final and obviously very satisfying to score a hundred but more importantly to hit the winning runs was an awesome feeling,” he said.