Stratford stun Sale for Grand Final rights: SMCA

Tom Hayes

THE stage is set for the Sale-Maffra Cricket Association First Grade Grand Final, after two cracking semi-finals that has set up an ultimate decider.

Top-of-the-ladder Sale hosted fourth-placed Stratford at the weekend over two days, while second and third-placed Yarram District and Bundalaguah faced off for a Grand Final berth.

SALE were stunned at home.

The tone was set from Stratford from the get-go, as the Redbacks had Sale stumbling early, losing a couple of wickets in the early part of their innings.

It took just eight overs for Redbacks vice-captain Jack Tatterson to strike, catching John Mayman in front of his wicket for just three runs.

Just five overs later, Sale found themselves at 2/7 when Shaun Wolmarans was caught behind for three, the bowling of Noah Bennett ending his innings.

It was panic stations for Sale, who were very quickly looking for answers on Day 1.

Sale captain Ben Jones came to the crease and steadied the ship alongside opener Lucas Mowat, putting some much-needed runs on the board.

The pair added 43 runs for the third wicket, before Sale’s captain was sent to the sheds with the score reading 3/50.

Jones was sent walking when he too was caught behind, this time off the bowling of Bodhi Walker.

Once again, the nerves began to kick in for Sale, after going nearly 20 overs without losing a wicket, they began to fall more regularly.

Coenie Nel lasted 19 balls at the crease, adding six runs to the total from his own bat, succumbing to the spin of Redbacks’ captain Jack Rietschel, caught at first slip.

Just 10 overs later, Tatterson had his second scalp, knocking over the other Sale opener, Mowat for a carefully made 26 off 125 deliveries.

The score crept to a worrying 5/77, but the Sale’s tail did well to resurrect a respectable score from here.

Rietschel made things worse for Sale, taking the wicket of Nathan Massey for just three runs, and not long after, Lachlan Channing ran out Matthew Raidal to have the league leaders completely bamboozled at 7/93.

Rietschel made it three, when Cormac Hassett stumped Garret Wolmarans for 18, but at least Sale’s score had surpassed triple figures, now reading 8/112.

Sale was left on their last legs when Josh Gawthrope was caught by Tatterson off the bowling of Rietschel, Sale gasping for air at 9/120.

The last wicket stand came to the rescue.

Number 11 Lachlan Carman joined Hayden Glover at the crease, who already had 11 runs, in an attempt to get Sale for a score worth defending.

The two batted out the 80 overs, completing Day 1 with a score of 9/151 to defend on Day 2.

Glover managed to register the top score for Sale, knocking 33 not out, smashing three boundaries – two of those, sixes.

Rietschel took 4/43 off 22 overs, going at just under two runs per over, while vice-captain Tatterson took 2/42 off 23.

Sale’s defence didn’t start off as great as they would’ve hoped, as Tatterson and Channing put runs on the board thick and fast.

By the start of the sixth over, Stratford had already wiped 32 runs from the required total, before Channing was bowled through the gate by Shaun Wolmarans.

A domino effect had started, with the next four wickets falling for 33 runs in the space of 10 overs.

Hassett came to the crease but not for long, adding eight to the total, Rietschel joined him in the sheds not long after, also bowing out for eight runs. All of a sudden, the score was 4/64 and just under 100 runs were still needed.

Continued – Page 29

Tight finish sees Yarram through

HAD Sale’s tail done enough?
Things began to go pear-shaped for the Redbacks when back-to-back batters were dismissed for ducks, meanwhile Tatterson up the other end kept the little number of runs ticking over.
Walker was bowled by Nel for a duck, and the following over Travis Milar was run out for a duck, and all of a sudden, Sale looked in the best shape of the two, Stratford were stumped on 5/65.
To the rescue came Tatterson and Chris Aurisch. The two piled on nearly 60 runs for the sixth wicket, Tatterson surpassing his half century before he was upended by the Jones and Nel.
Sale had to apply the most pressure to get a result from here, Stratford on 6/124, their tail had to guide them home.
Aurisch was that man.
Stratford would only lose one more wicket, that being Jake Rietschel for two, as Aurisch surpassed 50 runs and guided the Redbacks to the Grand Final.
Stratford found the winning runs within 57 overs, with three wickets left to play with.
Aurisch scored his highest total of 52*, while for the Sale bowlers, Nel picked up 3/46 from 21 was notably the best of the bunch.
YARRAM displayed their class.
At home, the Pelicans set the tone from Day 1 and flexed their muscles on their way to the Grand Final.
After losing the toss and being sent to the crease, the home side made the most of it.
With over 40 runs on the board within the first six overs, mainly thanks to 30 off 26 from Anthony Scott, Yarram vice-captain Jack Moore was the first to go after scoring eight off 13. Nonetheless, the score was still a healthy 1/41.
It wouldn’t last forever though, with Yarram losing their next three wickets for just 25 runs.
Bland went for a duck, and suddenly Bundy’s Steven Spoljaric had two wickets. Griffin Underwood could only manage four and four overs later; Scott was dismissed for 46. Next thing you knew, the score was 4/66.
Runs kept coming for Yarram, but so did the wickets for Bundy.
The Pelicans’ vice-captain Daniel O’Keefe made 11, and Dylan Rash was caught leg before for nine, only making things look worse for the home side.
Surely, we wouldn’t see a Grand Final of third versus fourth.
But somehow, Yarram were saved. From the last four wickets, the tail extracted 107 runs to give them an almighty boost.
Jarryd Swift scored 33, captain Jeremy Babb scored 32 and Peter Griffith scored 31, all three of them combing for seven boundaries to get Yarram to 195 after spending 10 wickets.
Not to be outdone, Spoljaric took a six-fa, 6/40 to be exact. Would it be enough to topple the Pelicans.
Evidently not, but Bundy would throw everything they had at Yarram, with it ultimately slapping them in the face.
Bundy were in trouble fast, losing two early wickets for just 18 runs, but it got worse when Daniel O’Keefe got the ball in his hands.
O’Keefe finished off the ninth over with the wicket of Hayden Wrigglesworth for a duck. When he returned for his next over, new batter Nick French was ready to receive his first deliveries, as Bundy captain Jason Langshaw tried to steady their ship.
French lasted two balls from the bowling of O’Keefe, sent packing via LBW, and Lachlan Wrigglesworth walked to the crease, got bowled, and walked back for a golden duck.
O’Keefe has three wickets in a matter of minutes, all of a sudden, it was 5/24.
Thank God for Sam Bedggood and Langshaw – who had surpassed his half century, as they put on 85 runs for the sixth wicket, but it still wouldn’t be enough.
Bedggood was dismissed for 35 thanks to Babb, and he would soon have a second and third with the dismissal of Spoljaric for four and Langshaw for 59, all within the space of three of his overs.
The quick reactions of O’Keefe at mid-wicket got the all-important wicket of Langshaw, and now Yarram could see the Grand Final gates.
Bundy were down to their last wicket when Scott got Jake Wynd for two, with it all coming down to Johandre Barnard and Nathan French, number 10 and 11.
To be fair to them, they almost for Bundy the result. The two lasted nearly 20 overs together at the crease.
Barnard put on 32* scoring four fours, while French, who was the last to be dismissed, made a valiant 19 including a four.
O’Keefe took 3/36, Scott 3/41 and Babb 3/48, the trio the primary catalysts in the winning defence.
With the Pelicans going through, it sets up an interesting, yet highly anticipating SMCA Grand Final against Stratford.


Stratford vs Yarram District
March 23 – 24
Stephenson Park, Sale

Maffra vs Bundalaguah
Date TBC
Venue TBC

Longford vs Nambrok
Date TBC
Venue TBC

Maffra v Bundalaguah
Date TBC
Venue TBC

Stratford v Sale
Date TBC
Venue TBC