While all final round senior matches in the Latrobe Valley and District Cricket League were called off as the extreme heat policy was enforced on Saturday, the TDCA pushed ahead with semi-finals being played across all grades with extra and more frequent rest and drinks breaks as the temperature threatened to reach the heat policy cut-off point but didn’t.
Ex Students will shoot for a fourth consecutive A grade premiership this weekend after a clinical win over Imperials to win through to the decider.
The Sharks will meet Toongabbie, who won through to the last dance with some impressive form of their own, brushing aside Gormandale at the weekend.
Ex Students v Imperials
Imperials struck first and won the toss and elected to bat but it wasn’t long before Tom Watson was removed for a duck by Rob Voss.
Danny Revis joined Ryan Morley and the two steadied with a 39-run stand before Morley was out LBW for 25.
Nick Bulcock made 24 while Joel Randall did his best with a late-order fight, belting a top score of 33 as Imps limped to 128 all out.
Lee Stockdale was superb taking 6/31 from 23 overs in a brilliant display and Andy Mathews took 2/30.
The Sharks – as they have all season – never looked in any danger, cruising past the target in 27 overs. Jimmy Pryde was dominant and again proved himself as a finals performer with a brilliant unbeaten 71.
Jordy Gilmore finished on 26 and Lee Stockdale on 25 ensured the Sharks another shot at the title.
Toongabbie v Gormandale
In the other semi-final at the majestic Roger Ries Oval, Toongabbie won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first in the hot conditions.
A solid opening stand of 23 between Tim Dunn (9) and Sam Ellis (8) got the Rams off to a good start.
When the big wicket of Conor Hughes was taken for four, Toongabbie were 3/27 and the Tigers were on top.
A 50-run stand between Rob Wheildon (18) and Garry White (36) was crucial as the home team settled in for a long day at the crease.
When both were dismissed the score was 5/82 and the game was leaning in favour of the Tigers.
Kev Stoddart and Jase Veneman, however, had other ideas as they produced a magnificent partnership of 131 to completely transform the match.
Both played brilliantly to set their team up for a big score.
The Tigers had no answers but a fluke runout ended Veneman’s innings for 59 when Adam Brady deflected a drive onto the stumps.
Shorty after Stoddart was run out with a direct hit from Matt Hibbs for a well crafted 69 .
At 7/222 with 15 overs left the Rams batted out their overs to make 256.
Richard Hughes finished unbeaten on 23.
In a incredible bowling performance in trying conditions the dynamic duo of Shaun Barbour and Adam Brady were back bowling in finals together.
Barbour was inspirational with 3/80 while Brady was equally brilliant with 4/65.
Day two started with the Tigers setting the foundation early with a good opening stand of 37 before Mat Hibbs was out for 17.
Jefferson Daniels went for seven as the Tigers were 2/53.
When Chris Lehner was judged LBW just before lunch the Tigers were 3/73, but the Rams were elated in the second over after the break when the prize scalp of Adrian Burgiel was caught behind for 19 and suddenly the Tigers were at 4/77.
In an incredible turnaround, Bohdi Walker and Matt Dowsett combined to put on 144 runs to take the Tigers to 4/221.
However, with just three balls before tea, Walker was caught on the boundary for a very well made 56.
It was all Toongabbie after the break as the Tigers capitulated, losing 5/19 to go down by 16 runs. Matt Dowsett was superb with a brilliant 93 while Rob Whelidon turned the game after tea with a brilliant spell of 3/15 to be Toongabbie’s best bowler.
Toongabbie v Rovers
Batting first, Toongabbie dominated day one to make 406 with Michael Dunn making 126, Matt Whitechurch 116 and Peter Gilpin 75, punishing the Rovers bowlers.
Steve Carney and John Scurlock each took three wickets.
Toongabbie dominated day 2 bowling Rovers out for 89.
Ex Students v Glengarry
Glengarry batted first and posted 149.
Sam Marks top scored with 38 while Rod Marks made 27. Daniel Churchill and Daniel McGregor each took four wickets.
The Sharks controlled day two with Daniel Churchill making 46 and Mitch Membrey top scoring with 57.