SALE-Maffra moved through the preliminary matches of the Gippsland Cricket League season undefeated, overcoming Leongatha in the final round on Sunday.
The Sharks will play Bairnsdale in the final on February 11 at Leongatha.
On Sunday at Inverloch, the Sharks ended Leongatha’s hopes of making the final.
Batting first after winning the toss, Sale-Maffra posted 182, with Brad Scott’s 88 at the top of the order telling. With the next highest score in the line-up being 20, it was clear to see who the key batsman was for the visitors.
Charith Keerthsighe proved a handful for the Sale-Maffra batsmen to face, finishing with figures of 4-31. He received good support from Jason Wilson, who took 2-32.
In reply, Leongatha got off to the worst possible start, losing a wicket before a run had been scored, before three frustrating knocks in the 40s by Daniel Mock, David Newman and Matt Houston in the middle order left it 30 runs stranded at the finish.
The skill of Jack Rietschel, who took 5-13, proved difficult to handle. Keenan Hughes also chimed in, taking two scalps with the new rock.
BAIRNSDALE booked its placed in the final with a thrilling win over Warragul.
Bairnsdale edged home in the 47th over thanks to some sloppy work in the field by the Wild Dogs.
After being sent in on a hastily-prepared Hallora turf, Warragul made the conditions look fine, as it posted 201.
In a scorecard that featured plenty of starts, Trevor Gardiner topped the list with 40, which included two uncharacteristic bombs. Others to score were Tom Keily (35), Damon Healy (32) and Fraser Duncan (32).
With the ball for Bairnsdale, the damage was done by the spinners, with Ryan Halford taking five and Stephen Grobler three.
Bairnsdale kept the game interesting, maintaining a strong run rate at the expense of losing regular wickets. Scott Davidson’s 88 was ultimately the difference, while Reagan Kyle’s 31 also played an important part in the chase.
For Warragul, Tom Keily, Nick Fairbank and James Williams each took a pair of wickets in what was a closely fought match that maintained that most annoying of cricket truisms that “catches win matches”.
TRARALGON had the bye.