BUNDALAGUAH cemented its place in the division one grand final during the penultimate round of the Sale-Maffra twenty20 cricket competition.
The Bulls’ opponent in the grand final, to be played in a fortnight’s time, will be Stratford or Boisdale-Briagolong.
Should Stratford defeat the Bulls in the final round next Tuesday, the Redbacks will advance to the decider, while Boisdale-Briagolong will not only need to beat Collegains, but rely on Bundalaguah winning.
With only three teams left in the race, Longford, Collegians, Sale and Maffra will all be looking to get some added match practice out in the middle before the association breaks for Christmas.
Collegians had an easy win over Longford at Stephenson Park on Tuesday night, amassing 6-156 from its 20 overs.
Jack Tatterson and Zac Hurley both made scores in the 40s, while young Charlie Morrison chipped in with 25 after gaining a promotion to first drop.
Longford’s best bowlers were Lachlan Cunningham and Calum Jackson, who each took two wickets.
In reply, the Lizards never really got going, and after losing two wickets without a run being registered, found themselves always behind the eight ball.
Daine McGuiness tore through the top order to take three scalps, while Matt Foster took two wickets late in the game as Longford closed at 9-99, with Steve Ellis’ 27 the only score to make a mark on the book.
An all-round bowling performance from Bundalaguah restricted Sale to a modest innings total of 9-109, with four Bulls bowlers all taking two or more wickets.
After sending the Swans in at Colin Wrigglesworth Oval, Sale found itself in trouble early, slumping to be 3-16. From there, wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, with the Swans’ Taylor Reid (30) and Dylan Rowley (22) the only batsmen to have much of an impact.
For the Bulls, Shan Munsinghe put in a fantastic spell with the new ball, taking 2-8 from four overs as well as securing the golden snitch of T20 cricket by bowling a maiden. Other Bundalaguah bowlers to come to the party were Lachlan Floyd who took 3-22, Brad Smith (2-2) and Sam Bedggood (2-5).
In the finish, the Bulls were never really troubled as they were able to chase the required total in the 16th over, losing only four wickets in the process.
Sam Tudor was not out on 34, while Nathan Hibbins scored 23 at the top of the order. For the Swans, Dylan Rowley picked up two wickets to be their best bowler.
Maffra was able to defend its score of 4-167 in a tight match against Stratford, with the Eagles limiting the Redbacks to 8-137.
After electing to bat first at the Stratford Recreation Reserve, Maffra ticked the score along as the Redbacks’ bowlers toiled away. Jackson McMahon, on loan to the Redbacks from Traralgon and District club Ex-Students, picked up two wickets to be his adopted side’s best bowler.
In response, Stratford’s top order failed to fire, yet some late hitting from Sam Anstee (31) and Louis Brown (21), ensured some nervous moments for the Maffra players before they were able to close out. James Beaumont took two wickets to see his side home.
Boisdale-Briagolong had the bye.
THERE was only one match played in division two, yet both Stratford and Heyfield took home premiership points after a Collegians forfeit gave the Kangaroos victory and ensured them a mathematical certainty of playing off for the title in two week’s time.
At Bundalaguah, the Bulls elected to have a hit first against Stratford after winning the toss.
Openers Kyle O’Reily and Aiden Ward got their team off to a terrific start, putting on 71 for the first wicket with the former scoring 30 and the latter 35. Eranda Aponso then came in at first drop and continued the scoring, eventually making 48 as Bundalaguah closed at 8-155.
Nathan French took two wickets against his old side, while Josh Kiss also chimed in with a double.
The above-mentioned players, along with Tim Light who remained unbeaten on 29, then put their best foot forward with the bat, with scores of 43 and 49 respectively to chase the required total three wickets down.
Sale had the bye.