HIS team may not have got the result they were after but Dubbo cricketer Tim Armstrong will be able to say he shared the field with two of Australian cricket’s greats.
Armstrong’s move to Perth paid dividends when he lined up for Western Australia in Tuesday’s Ryobi Cup loss to Tasmania, which saw him play under the captaincy of Mike Hussey and bowl to former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting.
The former RSL-Colt, who was joined in the west by his brother Alan earlier in the season, took 0-37 off seven overs, claimed a catch and made just one with the bat but would have gained invaluable experience despite Western Australia losing the match.
A maiden one-day domestic century from the Armstrong’s former Australian under-19 teammate Mitch Marsh was not enough for Western Australia to book a place in Saturday’s Cup final, with Tasmania winning by 51 runs.
Having won their past two one-day cup games, WA needed to beat the Tigers with a bonus point to feature in the final at the MCG against Victoria.
WA skipper Michael Hussey won the toss and sent Tasmania into bat, so the Warriors would know exactly what score they would need off 40 overs to win with a bonus point.
But the fairytale looked decidedly unlikely when Ricky Ponting’s 95 led the Tigers to 6-307 from their 50 overs.
The Warriors needed to score at 7.7 runs an over from the outset and in an attempt to get off to a flying start but slumped to 5-78 with Liam Davis (28), Sam Whiteman (13), Hussey (four), John Rogers (12) and Tim Armstrong (one) all falling relatively cheaply.
However, the one positive for WA was having 21-year-old Marsh at the wicket in his first match since tearing his hamstring on November 17 last year.
Hilton Cartwright briefly joined up with Marsh before he fell for 20 from 24 balls.
But then debutant Ashton Turner came to the crease and he and Marsh, for a brief moment, gave the Warriors some hope of what was becoming a near impossible task. The pair put on a partnership of 86 in just 75 balls before Turner fell for a swashbuckling 51 from 43, with six fours and two sixes.
Marsh continued on, though, and brought up his maiden one-day century for WA before falling for 104 to a brilliant direct-hit run out from Ponting, who was near the circle at backward point.
That ended Marsh’s knock on 104 from 96 balls with six boundaries and five clean sixes.
With the bonus point win and place in the final gone, WA went on to be bowled out for 256 to lose the match and finish the one-day season on the bottom of the table.
Faulkner took 3-62 for Tasmania, with Evan Gulbis claiming 2-57, Timm van der Gugten 2-44, Ben Laughlin 1-37 and Harry Allanby 1-50 in a solid bowling display against some big hitting.