SALE-MAFFRA will play off in the Gippsland Cricket League final despite going down to Leongatha in the final home and away round on Sunday.
The Sharks finished just 0.21 percentage points clear of third-placed Traralgon, who overcame Warragul, who was also in contention for a final berth, last Sunday.
The Sharks will be hoping to turn the tables on Leongatha in the final at home on February 3, following its loss at Leongatha on Sunday.
Sale-Maffra sent Leongatha in, with Aaron Lynch picking up the wicket of Eli Richards early.
Thomas Wyatt played the support role for Shane Murdoch, but became the first of Jack Tatterson’s victims with the score on 42.
Murdoch was the next to go, stumped by Nathan Massey off the bowling of Matt Dowsett for 41, with Dowsett following up with the wicket of Amila Ratnayake soon after.
Gavin Britt and Dylan Clark, scoring 85 and 52 respectively, pushed the score beyond 200.
Solid contributions from captain Jason Wilson, VRS Guru Kedarnath and Tim Wightman allowed Leongatha to post the competitive total of 9-264.
Dylan Bolton took some stick, conceding 67 from his nine overs, but picked up two wickets, including the key wicket of Britt.
Ben Jones, Josh Rurawhe and Jack Tatterson all got starts but couldn’t go on with it and when Brett Lanigan fell to the spin of Wightman for 55, the Sharks were 4-112.
Dowsett followed soon after, run out for a duck to see Leongatha on top.
Michael Jones combined with Daniel Bedggood in a partnership of 84 to pull Sale-Maffra back in to the contest.
But Clark was able to restrict the Sale-Maffra in the later overs with three wickets, the Sharks falling short on 8-226.
FORMER Victoria and Western Australia player Brad Knowles took two hat-tricks in as many overs as Traralgon defeated Warragul.
Warragul had a chance to win and secure a berth in the final, but Knowles’ feat extinguished its hopes. Knowles finished with 7-19.