West Panthers’ Bonnie Holmes.
West Panthers’ Bonnie Holmes. DARRYN SMITH

Wests shock champs

Wests drove home the upset of the season over Brothers United on Saturday, catching the defending premiers off guard to snatch a 6-4 victory.

In their first hit-out for the New Year an inspired Wests fought back from a 2-1 deficit in what player-coach Michelle McKeown described as “their best performance in a long, long time”.

It could not have been more sweetly timed for McKeown, celebrating her birthday as she was thrust into playing commitments to cover her bare-bones team.

“It was the best birthday present I could hope for,” she said.

“Everyone just played like troopers, took some great catches in the outfield and batted and pitched well.”

Wests jumped to a 1-0 lead after the first innings, only to fall behind courtesy of two Brothers’ runs in the second stanza.

Wests replied with two of their own in the next, followed by three in the fourth innings to set up a healthy 6-2 lead.

Two runs by Brothers came too late as they slumped to their first loss against the cellar dwellers in three seasons.

McKeown now has her sights set on the rest of the competition.

“I said to the girls if they could beat Brothers they could beat everyone else and beat Brothers again in the final. They all had cheesy grins on their faces, but I know they agreed with me,” she said.

It was not all smooth sailing for the victors though, having to overcome some early-game nerves before they shot to the lead.

“They were all very tense and tight, so I had a bit of laugh and got them to relax,” McKeown said.

“I think that change of attitude really helped.”

Before the holiday break Wests had endured several demoralising thumpings, but McKeown’s positive approach to the New Year has rubbed off on her team.

She joked that it was her influence as a fill-in player in the field that got them home.

But her plaudits were spread right throughout the side.

“I couldn’t pick a best player – everyone just chipped in really,” she said.

The Moray Eels and Souths Sluggers game was also a tight affair at the weekend.

The Eels eventually prevailed over the Sluggers 5-2.

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