• A Grade Division 1
IT WAS out of OMK and Leongatha Town to see who would grab the fourth and final spot in this year’s A Grade Division One final series and at one stage on Saturday, it appeared that neither team wanted it enough.
Chasing the almost unattainable goal of 300, set by Inverloch the week before, OMK were in troubled early and while the chase spluttered and coughed a couple of times during the afternoon, the Diggers never posed a real threat.
Their last hopes seemed to rest with Daniel Lloyd and Jesse Van Rooye when they went to tea after only just reaching their first hundred but wickets continued to fall after the break and they were ultimately all out for 174, well short of what was required.
Lewis Rankin, who missed an Inverloch-Kongwak practice match at Tarwin Lower, against Stony Creek, was the pick of the bowlers, taking 5/34, well backed up by Ryan Thomas who cleaned up the tail.
The out-fielding by Inverloch, admittedly with a big total to protect, was outstanding and could well be a factor in the finals to follow.
Meanwhile at Scorpion Park where Town was defending a modest total of 234, Phillip Island looked the team most likely to succeed especially while Eli Richards 73 and Tony Hornsby 29 were at the crease.
The direct-hit runout of Mitchell Kinghorn from 50 metres out by Mark Borschman was a crucial blow and a mix-up which saw Brodie Johnston run out as well was also a help but when the Island went to drinks, they still had five wickets in hand, needing 60 runs off 15 overs.
Town had just dropped Richards but they needn’t have been concerned because immediately after the break, Ash Hickey bowled Hornsby and a couple of overs later, Richards was gone too and Town were on their way to their first A1 final series in nine years.
Madura Weerasinghe took the final two wickets to fall, giving him the figures of 4/50 to emerge as the day’s best bowler.
Although there’s still plenty to do, starting with Wonthaggi Club at Butch West Oval this Saturday, it was a delighted Town club that went back to their rooms after securing a breakthrough finals berth.
It was all pretty academic for Club and Korumburra which had already secured top spot and second place on the ladder respectively, although Club may not like the way they finished the season, struggling for most of the day against Kilcunda-Bass, who achieved a milestone of their own in avoiding relegation this season.
Chasing only 125, Club made surprisingly hard work of it, being seven down before they finally got the required runs, whereupon Jaceb Thomas and Zane Macdermid figured in a 100-run partnership for the 10th wicket.
Their final total of 264 off 72 overs looks a lot better than it might have been.
Korumburra were untroubled in polishing off Nerrena’s meagre total from the previous week, being only three wickets down when they’d got the required 123.
Several players including Kyle Dorman 56 and Shane Dole 64 got good time in the centre and their match against Inverloch at Korumburra next weekend shapes up as an absolute cracker.
MDU stumbles at final hurdle
• A Grade Division 2
AS IT turned out, three teams have tied for fourth place on the A Grade Division Two ladder, on 66 points apiece, separated only by percentage.
And it was the team that didn’t play at the weekend, Wonthaggi Miners, which has secured the last place in the finals.
And who knows, after a shaky performance by top team Poowong-Loch, with the bat the previous week, Miners might yet be able to make that lucky break count for something over the next few weeks.
It was MDU which had the best chance of overhauling the stranded Miners’ side, after bowling out Poowong-Loch for just 126 the week before at Meeniyan.
But, oh dear, they were in very serious trouble from the outset, having lost a disastrous 5/10 leaving them a world away from the very modest target.
Joel Sinclair 13 provided some resistance but when he succumbed to Matt Loader’s deceptive little out-swingers, they were still only 6/37.
Cam Olden 26 and Mike Olden 31 were the hope of the side when they put on 44 for the seventh wicket but MDU was still a long way from their goal at 7/81 when Cam lost his poles.
The bowlers who’d done so well the previous week for MDU, keeping Poowong-Loch to what looked to be a losing score, offered little or no resistance at the end and as the speedy Jenkins cleaned up the tail.
He finished the day with 4/35 off 20 overs, some of which were bowled the previous week which Loader finished as best, adding a couple more wickets to those taken the previous week to end with 5/19 off 13.3 overs.
So near and yet so far for MDU after a topsy-turvy season.
In the other match with potentially some bearing on the shape of the final four, Imperials fired up late in the day last Saturday to snatch victory from second-placed Koonwarra/RSL.
Imperials had managed the useful total of 199 the week before, apparently with not a lot to play for and after Koony/RSL made a poor start, to be 4/19 in the early stages, with the likes of Sam Hughes out for 8, they were right in the hunt.
Jack Hale and Ben Perry both contributed ‘backs to the wall’ half centuries and it seemed as if Koony/RSL might yet win the day.
But they hadn’t reckoned on the efforts of Rowan McLennan who backed up his 43 runs last week to remove Hale and two more batsmen lower in the order to give Imps the whip hand once again.
Luke Rogers chimmed in with one of the last wickets to fall for a haul of 4/48 on the day but it wasn’t until the run out of Nick Arnup that the match was decided in Imperials’ favour, narrowly holding Koony/RSL off by a mere seven runs.
Glen Alvie easily accounted for Foster which nonetheless stuck around for 50 overs to avoid a complete rout.
Full cricket coverage in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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