Bancroft fails with bat in grade cricket return
BANNED Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft starred in the field but struggled with the bat in his first cricket match on West Australian soil since the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
Captaining his local club Willetton on Saturday, Bancroft fell for four in his team's small run chase against Midland-Guildford in the 50-over match at Burrendah Park.
The 25-year-old was the first wicket to go as Willetton aimed to chase down the victory target of 87 in the WA Premier Cricket League season-opener.
Bancroft looked rusty before opening his account with a cracking cover drive to the boundary in the fourth over. But he fell shortly after, caught behind off Corry Verco on his 13th delivery faced.
He looked unhappy with the decision before trudging off the ground.
It soured what had been a good day in the field for Bancroft.
After winning the toss and electing to field, he was in the play immediately with a low catch at second slip as Midland-Guilford lost their first wicket.
He finished with three sharp catches, the best being an outstretched dive to his left off seamer Aaron McCall.
It was a low-key return for Bancroft, who is serving a nine-month suspension from international and state cricket for his role in the ball-tampering incident against South Africa during Australia's third Test defeat in Cape Town in March.
Only a handful of spectators were at the ground, in a notable contrast to the fanfare that greeted the recent grade cricket comebacks of former Australian leaders Steve Smith and David Warner in Sydney.
Since his suspension, Bancroft had played only in the Northern Territory Strike League in Darwin in July. His ban ends on December 29 and he is likely to move up the ranks through the BBL, with the Perth Scorchers playing Hobart Hurricanes on December 30.
Bancroft will be back in action when Willetton play Fremantle on Sunday.