Top teams breeze on through to the TDCA GF




THE top rated teams in A Grade both flexed their muscles on Traralgon District Cricket Association semi-final weekend, setting up what is shaping to be a fantastic Grand Final.

Ex Students, who finished second on the ladder after the regular season, hosted Yarram District, who finished third, at Terry Hunter Oval (a ground that Ex Students A Grade haven’t lost at since the 2020/21 season).

Winning the toss, and deciding to bat first on the good wicket that was prepared, Matt Dyke and Mitch Harris got the honours of getting things underway, but after Pelicans opening bowler Ant Scott got a few to rise and even hit Harris high on the body, it looked as if Yarram District were trying to make a big statement early and set the tone for the game.

The batsmen not only combatted the tough start, but took the bowling on, and in quick time the Sharks were 0/60 until Harris ran down the wicket to Brayden Askew and was stumped for 22.

This brought Lee Stockdale to the crease, who put on 76 with Dyke before Jeremy Babb bowled Stockdale for 31.

Jackson McMahon then looked to get things moving and was dismissed after 22 balls for 26, which was then the start of a little collapse for the home team as they went from 2/177 to 6/197 with the wicket of opening batsman Dyke who was dismissed for a brilliant 90 from 144 balls.

Mick Stockdale helped the Sharks get over 200 as he finished 12 not out, with Ex Students finishing 8/220 at the compulsory closure of the innings.

Yarram District did well to peg the score back from what looked like being a total of 250+ thanks mainly to Scott who claimed 3/39 but still, something special was going to be needed for Yarram to have a chance at winning the match.

Scott and Ben Layton got things underway for the Pelicans as a steely Scott started in a good way putting pressure on the bowlers.

Up the other end he wasn’t able to get the support he needed as Layton was removed for seven, O’Keefe got stumped on three, Garland was run out after facing just one ball, while Askew and Dylan Rash were only out in the middle for 10 balls each for scores of two and three respectively.

At 5/65 things were grim but Scott continued to stick fat until he tried to hit Daniel Churchill for consecutive sixes only to be caught on the boundary.

For the Pelicans, all hope was lost from that point as Ex Students squeezed the batsmen, not allowing them to score if they couldn’t get them out.

Babb and Jack Collins put on 50 for the ninth wicket but it was too little too late as Yarram District batted out their overs to finish 8/166, 54 runs short of the Ex Students total.

Ex Students bowlers were at their disciplined best with seven bowlers claiming wickets, with only James Pryde being a multiple wicket taker as he claimed 2/31 from his 10 overs.

To the winner goes the spoils and Ex Students will now travel to Catterick Crescent and attempt to go back-to-back for A Grade premiership glory.

Yarram District were brilliant all season, and a West Australian wedding which much of the club were required to attend last week may have been the difference in winning this match.

Still, for the Pelicans there are some great signs for the club moving forward and no doubt they will be featuring in finals again next season.

TRADITIONAL rivals Glengarry and Toongabbie faced off at Fred King Oval in what was to be the battle of the big left arm captains.

Toongabbie have been winning the toss all season and sending in their opponent, so it was a bit of a surprise that when Keenan Hughes called correctly he opted to bat.

It was clear from the opening few overs that Glengarry were switched on for this game as their quicks just didn’t give any room for the Rams batsmen to score, wearing them down through dot ball pressure and genuine good fielding.

The top order struggled as Tim Dunn was out for two, Rob Wheildon only got four and the likes of Kev Stoddart and Jimmy Chalmers just couldn’t get going and even though Daniel Barry toughed it out for 108 balls he wasn’t able to rotate the strike and ended up being dismissed for 32 with the score on 5/61.

Tom Shippen did his best making 24 not out at the lower end of the innings and Hughes, who seemed to be targeted by the Glengarry quicks with some short pitched bowling, still managed a score of 24 which contained two big sixes, but it just wasn’t enough to put the pressure right on Glengarry, and the Rams were eventually all out in the final over of play for 133.

Only one bowler went at an economy rate of over three, which showed just how good the bowling was from the home team.

Al Jenkin got the best figures with 3/28 although a skied caught and bowled chance which he dropped and dislocated a finger in the process cost him walking away with four wickets, while Nathan Allen (2/20), Cam Graham (2/25) and Max Merton (2/26) were the other wicket takers.

Toongabbie have seen it happen many times… a fired up Keenan Hughes that rips the opposition top order apart to give his club the best chance of winning.

However, last Saturday wasn’t going to be the day as Glengarry’s opening batsmen Jenkin and Frank Marks put on a masterclass to record the highest opening partnership for the TDCA season passing, Toongabbie’s 133 in the process halfway through the 26th over.

Toongabbie just couldn’t make any inroads at all as Marks took the bowling on to finish with a run-a-ball 58 which included five boundaries and two big sixes, while Jenkin was a little more measured, making 72 from 103 balls which included 11 boundaries.

Glengarry go into the Grand Final with a 10 wicket win in a dominating display which will have the awaiting Ex Students very nervous.

Toongabbie are a proud club and will be hurting from this loss, but this is a club that is on the rise so watch out next season from the Rams.

Pelicans and Magpies flying high

TWO contrasting games were played in the second division of the TDCA semi-finals, with one game being an absolute thriller while the other was a shock result in more ways than one.

Toongabbie and Yarram District played off in an absolute thriller at Roger Ries Oval, as the entire match was arm wrestle from ball one.

Toongabbie won the toss and batted first knowing they would need a big score as the wicket at Roger Ries Oval just doesn’t deteriorate it’s in that good of nick at the moment.

A couple of early wickets just meant that the in form Michael Dunn and Matt Stoddart could get in and get going as the set about putting on 143 runs for the third wicket.

When Dunn was eventually dismissed for 70 from 81 balls, Stoddart followed quickly soon after on 71 from 72 balls.

Adam Hood kept the quick scoring ticking along, making 20, but a couple late wickets meant the scoring stopped flowing in the final overs, although Toongabbie would have been happy finishing on 8/222 after their 45.

Five bowlers were rotated through for Yarram District, but it was Ash Taylor who was the best performed, claiming 3/36 from his nine.

Anytime a run chase is over 200 everything has to go right for the chasing team, and when Yarram District openers Peter Griffiths and Mathew Earles finally had their partnership broken in the 20th over they’d compiled a score of 96 for the first wicket, setting up an excellent platform for the remaining batsmen.

Toongabbie were able to get wickets just as Yarram were building partnerships, and so the arm wrestle went on.

The Rams kept the field up hoping the Yarram batsmen would take it on and although they did it and continued to score boundaries, the bowling and fielding continued to apply pressure and take wickets when required.

Yarram lost their seventh wicket with the score on 207, and then two runs later their eight with the score on 209 which made things even more tense for all players involved in the match.

If the dropped catch with 10 runs to win was taken by Toongabbie it would have made things incredibly close, but given the chance Trent Crawford (15 not out) and captain David Coulthard (13 not out) got the team home with only eight balls to go in what was a fantastic match.

Yarram District now get a chance to redeem themselves after last year dropping out of the finals after finishing first on the ladder, while Toongabbie although disappointed, should be proud of their efforts in B Grade this season coming from outside the top four last season to second this year.

TOP ranked Ex Students picked to play at the site of the B Grade Grand Final, Stoddart Oval.

Pitted against Glengarry, who got to have a look at the wicket the week before against Gormandale, Ex Students had no hesitation in batting first on what was a very good looking wicket after the toss went in their favour, but that was where the good luck finished for the minor premier.

A pumped up Glengarry team, who three weeks ago were two games out of the top four, fired up and rocked the premiership favourite with a mixture of good bowling, good fielding and a little bit of luck.

A spectacular caught and bowled from Andrew Winter set the tone of the day, and from then on all of Glengarry’s bowlers contributed in the routing, with James Porter being the best claiming 3/9 from 7.1 overs. Ex Students could only manage 87 from 33.1 overs which had Glengarry in a great position.

The Sharks got a couple wickets early enough to give themselves some hope, including the dangerous Paul Henry, but when Chris Dunn settled in he assured he got his team home making a good 46 not out as the Magpies passed Ex Students total in the 27th over for the loss of only two wickets.

Glengarry go into the Grand Final now having almost being written off just a month ago.

The win was somewhat of a redemption story for some of the B Grade mainstays at the club as Ex Students had defeated Glengarry in B Grade a lot in a mixture of semi-finals and Grand Finals, so the Magpies will have been extremely happy to finally knock off their bogey team in a final.

Ex Students will now turn their attention to supporting their A and C Grade teams this coming weekend and aim to bounce back next season.

Ex Students’ Premiership To Lose

EX Students continued their dominating form in their C Grade semi-final, smashing Rovers for the second week in a row to secure a Grand Final berth.

Rovers won the toss and sent the Sharks in, a move which in hindsight might have been the difference.

Ex Students’ star-studded list lost their first wicket (Paul Richards 18) at 33 and then their second (Paul Hennessy 54) at 151.

Opening batsman Steven Thomson was then removed for 69 with the score on 172 in the 31st over and Rovers had a chance to then string some late wickets together and keep the score to a chasable 200.

Enter Darian Millington, who in the last eight overs of play cashed in big time, smacking 72 from 41 balls which included four sixes.

Not to be outdone, David Pryde also put Rovers to the sword, making 42 from just 23 balls as the two batsmen combined for a partnership of 101 in just eight overs.

Although it was tough going, Aaron Donoghue was able to bowl well, taking the best figures of the day with 1/15 from eight overs which included four maidens, but for the majority of the other bowlers, it was very tough going.

Still, stranger things have happened and Rovers were chock full of seasosed performers, so when Aaron Dodd started to take it up to the Sharks bowlers it was game on.

Dodd didn’t get much support from the other end though and Rovers battled hard to get momentum as Ex Students just bowled too well and eventually Rovers were all out for 167 in the 33rd over, 106 runs short of victory.

Trevor Kosterman was brilliant for Ex Students claiming 4/32 while Millington and Daniel McGregor both claimed two wickets each themselves.

Ex Students will now travel to Jack Maskrey for the TDCA C Grade Grand Final, which on form has them red hot favourite.

Rovers weren’t able to win a premiership this season in the seniors, but with a top junior program and a constant procession of junior talent coming through the club no doubt the aim will be to feature in all three grades for finals next season.

GLENGARRY made the trip to Tarraville to take on a team that had only lost two games for the season in the form of Yarram District.

The Pelicans won the toss and batted first, getting off to a good start of 44 before the first wicket fell.

It seemed that first wicket of Lucas Jenkins was all that was needed for Glengarry to spark themselves, and from then on the visitors were able to get regular wickets.

Joshua Becker and Andrew Dunkley tried their best to combat the Glengarry bowling, but it wasn’t enough, as Yarram scraped to a score of 9/128 at the completion of their 40 overs.

Troy Dwyer ended up with the best figures for Glengarry, taking 3/16, but it was Shane Bonacci (2/14 from eight overs) and Shinu Saju (2/19 from eight overs) who did the main damage, claiming wickets and bowling tightly.

Glengarry’s innings started the same way, with a good opening partnership, but then fell in a hole themselves.

Mark Smallwood was up and about for the Pelicans, as he tore the Glengarry middle order apart, but he wasn’t able to get Ash Hodson batting six who ended up being the difference in the match, as he guided his team home with a well made 35 not out under all sorts of pressure.

This win for Glengarry was somewhat of a shock, but the team has been in good form coming into finals so internally they would have been confident coming into the match.

Yarram will be disappointed in the result, particularly for losing at home, which has fast become a bit of a fortress for the C Grade team, but will no doubt bounce back next season and enjoy supporting their team in B Grade this weekend.