Glory within reach

Traralgon and District has booked itself a ticket to the senior Gippsland Cricket League final against Sale Maffra with a win over Leongatha in the final round of the season.

The competition’s two Provincial Country Week teams will face off on 12 February at Leongatha’s Scorpion Park, with Sale-Maffra aiming for back-to-back titles.

After being sent in to bat at Traralgon Recreation Reserve, the home side posted 6/234 off its 50 overs, with skipper Lee Stockdale scoring an imposing 116.

Stockdale received good support from the middle order, with Jordan Gilmore and left-hander Alistair Jenkin scoring 40 and 29, respectively.

Leongatha’s best bowler James Sherrin finished the day with figures of 3/45.

With a place in the final up for grabs, the visitors could only manage 168 in reply as Todd Mann claimed figures of 3/29 and leg-spinner Michael Warne taking 2/39.

A number of Leongatha players were able to get starts without capitalising.

Jesse Van Rooye scored 39, with Shane Dole making 31 and Amila Ratnaikne posting 26.

The closest match of the round was Central Gippsland’s clash against Warragul and District at Yallourn Recreation Reserve, which came down to the last two overs.

After winning the toss, Central Gippsland played a steady innings to close at 9/211.

Captain Rory Hare was the main stayer with his second consecutive half century for the season, along with Marco Higgins who scored a half century of his own.

Others to get among the runs were Irish import Rob McKinley who whacked a quick-fire 44 and English ‘keeper Jordan Campbell who made 29.

Warragul’s bowling was highlighted by paceman Sam Batson, who claimed a five-wicket haul which included skittling three Central Gippsland players for ducks.

Astonishingly, all five of Batson’s wickets were bowled.

Warragul chased down the required total in the forty-eighth over to end its season on a winning note.

Fraser Duncan was the standout, with the opener making 83 before being forced to retire hurt with a leg injury.

In the middle order Luke Radford hit some powerful shots in his innings of 35, as the final Warragul pair nervously negotiated the final few runs to see the visitors across the line.