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'How's the Josh?'- Clarkson's All-Round Performance Push Central Stags to Title

image-lfs2551yJosh Clarkson and Tom Bruce seal the deal for the Stags in the summit clash (Source: Twitter)

Central Stags pipped Canterbury Kings in what turned out to be an one-sided contest with a sizzling Ford Trophy at stake. All these happened only because of Josh Clarkson, who was brilliant both with bat and ball, amassing a match-winning century following an excellent bowling display.

The rescheduled final unfurled, with Canterbury's skipper Cole McConchie opting to bat first. Their openers, Rhys Mariu (24 off 25) and Mitchell Hay (44 off 57) obliged the decision, as both gave the team a decent start. However, once Doug Bracewell broke this 35-run stand with the wicket of the former, the Kings lost wickets at regular intervals and were reduced to 107/5 in the 29th over.

McConchie (54 off 90) needed someone to stick around him, and Angus McKenzie did just what the doctor ordered. While the former scored a gritty fifty, the latter kept the bowlers at bay for 45 balls, adding 30 runs. This partnership worth 61 runs for the sixth wicket saved the 15-time champions from embarrassment. And the lower-order batters Sean Davey (15 off 15) and Blake Coburn (15* off 16) took the total past 200.

Jayden Lennox and Clarkson bowled magnificently for the Stags as they finished with three scalps each.

Chasing an average total to snap the silverware, Central Stags were put down to the mat by the Kings bowlers- Davey and William O'Rourke and were reeling at 49/4 at one stage. 

When things looked gloomy for the home side, the all-rounder Clarkson came to rescue the side with a counter-attacking knock. He smashed 17 fours and 2 sixes in his unbeaten innings off 111 runs, which of course, came at a rate of knots. 

Clarkson was succoured by his leader Tom Bruce as they knitted an unbeaten partnership of 167 runs for the fifth wicket and ensured there were no more hiccups in the run chase. With a boundary of the 3rd ball of the 44th over, Bruce finished things off in style besides completing his half-century as Central Stags lifted the title for the seventh time, with this one coming after a gap of seven years.

Brief Scores

Canterbury Kings - 212/9 (50)
Cole McConchie- 54(90), Mitchell Hay- 44 (57);
Jaydon Lennox- 3/27(10), Josh Clarkson- 3/40(10).

Central Stags- 216/4(43.3)
Josh Clarkson- 111(78)*, Tom Bruce- 51(84)*;
Sean Davey- 2/23(8), William O'Rourke- 2/37(8).

Central Stags won by 6 wickets.