Port Adelaide beats Adelaide in T20 Showdown cricket match while raising over $1 million for the bushfire relief appeal
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Round one of the AFL season is more than a month away, but the Twenty20 Showdown has given footy fans a taste of what is around the corner and also showed the influence sport can have in times of need.
Port Adelaide beat the Crows by 14 runs in front of a strong crowd of 34,219 at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, as footballers on both teams showcased their cricket talents while raising a stunning $1,015,239 for the SA Bushfire Appeal.
Like a footy Showdown, both clubs’ songs played as teams entered the ground, Taylor Walker was engaged in plenty of banter with Port opponents and Connor Rozee caught the eye with his aerial prowess.
But there were also some unusual sights – Hamish Hartlett bowling with a cap, Greg Matthews-style, a rule that stopped players from getting out first ball and Rashid Khan spilling a catch.
The Power’s innings began with big-hitting from Travis Boak, who top-scored with 44, and ended with Adelaide Strikers captain Travis Head (43 not out) belting four consecutive sixes off Crows skipper Rory Sloane.
Not only did Head raise $500 with every boundary, but he would have been able to take out some frustration from the Strikers’ eight-run knockout final loss a night earlier.
Port’s total of 7/231 was always going to be difficult for Adelaide.
Tom Lynch (38 off 24) and Matt Crouch (36 off 22) looked the best batsmen out of the Crows players, but their side lacked the boundaries to keep up with the run rate.
Fittingly, it was Kangaroo Island-raised Strikers player Bridget Patterson who ensured Adelaide came close, belting 30 runs, including 22 off a Dan Houston over.
Her last-ditch knock came after Rozee produced one of the game’s highlights, a brilliant boundary catch on the run to dismiss Strikers batsman Jake Weatherald.
Rozee said it would have been a “pretty standard catch” if he had been paying attention.
“I was halfway through signing someone’s bat on the boundary and I turned around and the ball was about halfway to me,” said Rozee, a former East Torrens junior cricketer.
“It just stuck in my hands.”
Rozee, who made 23 before Khan bowled him, also impressed with the bat.
He described Brad Crouch as “pretty nippy” with the ball, but “Tex not so much”.
Walker was one of those at the forefront of helping to pump up the game – originally a Twitter idea from Crows fan Scott Elderfield.
In the lead-up to the match, Walker sledged Power players, including skipper Tom Jonas, on social media and from the outset on Sunday “Tex” was involved in everything early.
He bowled an untidy first over, butchered a run out chance and slipped on his backside while fielding before getting dragged, taking it all in great spirits.
Later with the bat, Walker fired back after a slow start to hit a big six off Tom Clurey on his way to making 32.
Jonas got the last laugh on the field, bowling Walker to leave Adelaide 8/175.
Off it, Walker was also smiling, thrilled to play his part in a memorable day.
“When we first spoke about it we wouldn’t have guessed it would be that (crowd and money raised),” Walker said.
“It’s amazing. When our country and state are burning, it’s for people to come out, show their heart and support a great day.
“There was a lot of hard work from both footy clubs, the SACA and Adelaide Oval.
“It was a lot of fun.”