• A Grade, Division 1
A ‘TITANIC endeavour’ was the description of many fans who watched on as Nerrena and Outtrim Moyarra Kongwak battled it out for a place in the grand final.
Picture perfect conditions started the day at Scorpion Park, with Nerrena captain Mitchell Clark electing to bowl first.
Josh Trease and James Hoy opened the attack with a well-practised rotation.
The form of both sides was evident from the beginning.
OMK’s Ethan Lamers settled in for a steady 39 runs from 142 deliveries, however, fellow opener Ryan Williams’ fastruns came undone, lbw at 18. Ryan Clark took his wicket, but his replacement Daniel Mock proved harder to remove.
OMK captain Mock made a very impressive 51, until Trease took a breakthrough in his wicket. Shortly after, Lamers lost his wicket and OMK looked unsteady, now at 3/113.
Two Thomas’s, Wyatt and Keily seemed to have the weight of the match on their shoulders as they both worked to move through single digits.
Wyatt was more conservative, his 56 from 119 was steady and well balanced by Keilly’s 39 from 60 deliveries.
For Nerrena, a late bowler Damien Symmons was introduced to the rotations and proved to be an x-factor.
He bowled both Keily and Nathan Creed, putting restraint on OMK as they stepped into the 200-runs-plus territory.
Nerrena’s Tim Wightman was very consistent with the ball, he bowled 26 overs, including six maidens and taking 2/64.
At the end of OMK’s 90 overs, they posted the defendable score of 8/246.
Day two brought a show of cricket dedication.
The nights of training and years committed to the game was displayed best by Luke Giliam 85 partnered with David Baldi 42.
Giliam’s runs weren’t fast, but they didn’t have to be, his 358 minutes at the crease, saw him face 248 balls and could have seen him go on to a century if it wasn’t for some great fielding by Tom Wyatt.
Giliam batted his side into the 200 territory, removed at 6/218, the final runs were down to Caine Salmon 25 and Ryan Clark 16.
Both players went on to post their second-highest scores for the season and carried their side over the line with class.
Nerrena made the total with 2.1 overs to spare. They will now go on to play in the grand final at Scorpion Park.
As Wonthaggi Club looked sharp toward a five-peat division one championship, Leongatha Town’s leg-spin legend Madura Madusanka wouldn’t settle for second best.
Town openers Sahan Perera and Sachith Naotunnage both worked well at Noel Butch Reserve to take the pace off the new ball, 25 and 27 respectively, until Mark McCall’s pace was introduced.
The work of Club’s McCall claimed both of their wickets, and soon after James Sheerin made his mark, claiming the next three. Town sat at 4/58 when Madusanka first stepped to the crease.
He was joined soon after by the 16-year-old Darcy Hume and together they dug their side out of a rut, putting together a 72-run partnership.
All-rounder Madusanka started his weekend with 47 and Hume top-scored for his A Grade performances with a precise 29 runs.
Their partnership floated Town to 150, a fair score, considering the wicket clearly favouring bowlers.
Day one finished with some of the finals control Club is known for, openers Sam Huitema and Koby Brann set their side steady at 0/30 on Saturday evening.
Both batsmen played their shots well, and into day two, they found the boundary line five times each, but runs weren’t easy in a tight field.
‘Catches win matches’ was the phrase of the day, for Andrew Lloyd at short leg, his three catches set the tide to change and allowed Madusanka to roll his off-spin magic.
After Huitema went out for 36 runs, an incredible diving catch saw Brann removed, at his top score for the season, 71 runs.
Madusanka then began capitalising on the pitch, he spun his way into control, and all of a sudden club were at 3/89.
Club captain James Sheerin looked dangerous at 5 but was then bowled by Madusanka.
Madusanka went on to claim an incredible 8/40 off 13.2 overs.
Leongatha Town will now face Nerrena at Scorpion Park this weekend, conditions permitting.