Third and Sixth Grade advance to play off for a Grand Final place after QF wins against Minor Premie21-Mar-2018
Third and Sixth Grade advance to play off for a Grand Final place after QF wins against Minor Premiers.
Third Grade had an emphatic win in the Qualifying Final against Minor Premiers Parramatta over the weekend. Finishing in sixth place, it was do or die for the Dolphins and when Easts lost the toss and were sent in on a wicket that was going to offer the seamers assistance, the assignment became even harder. Easts were quickly reduced to 2/10 and then 4/54 before heading into lunch at 4/76. Despite the score, the Easts top order weathered the situation as well as what the conditions offered, knowing the wicket would get better for batting. After lunch Easts began to claw their way back into the match, scoring 80 runs in the hour before drinks thanks to Alex Tunnadine who compiled a timely 50 with some valuable support from Sam Powell who made 34. As Easts moved to 5/155 a score around 200 plus beckoned, but the backbone of Easts middle and lower order was broken seeing the Dolphins dismissed for 195 right on tea.
In reply Parramatta came out with intent and quickly moved the score board along at a run a ball before Angus Palmer removed both openers, which included a sharp one handed catch at short midwicket by Mark Morley, which proved to be the start of a dramatic passage of play. With the game in the balance at 2/58, Morley introduced himself into the attack and straight away produced swing which had the Parramatta batsmen second guessing as Morley claimed three wickets in seven balls. Things didn’t get any better for the home side as Morley moved the ball both ways sniffing out two more batsmen to leave Parramatta reeling at 7/78. Parramatta batted out the last ten overs without further damage moving to 7/90 when stumps was called.
Day two presented hot conditions and a wicket which was more conducive for batting. The Dolphins needed 20 overs to claim the last three wickets after Palmer made an early break through bowling the Parramatta captain. Morley claimed the last two wickets to finish with the outstanding figures of 7/19 off 13.5 overs. Angus Palmer offered support finishing with 3/37 off 15 overs. Parramatta eventually being bowled out for 122 in the 63rd over.
Ironically for Morley, he was set to keep wicket with Easts taking the option of including young quick Campbell Pert. But an injury to Pert on Friday afternoon meant the Dolphins had to reshuffle the balance of their side around.
With a minimum of 74 overs left in the day and a 73 run lead the game was for the Dolphins to lose. At 0/47 the game looked close to being over, if not for a collapse due to some reckless batting against Parramatta’s spin as Easts fell to 5/89. Opener Rueben Taucher proved the rock for Easts as he put together a patient 69 off 163 balls as the assignment for the home side to grab an unlikely outright win became impossible and time was eventually called half an hour before the end of play with Easts 8/150 and with a 223 run lead.
With first and second place both losing Easts take on Sydney at Drummoyne Oval in the Semi-Final this weekend. Sydney Uni host Parramatta in the other Semi-Final.
Sixth Grade also finished the regular season in sixth place and also ventured west to take on the competition Minor Premiers. Penrith would always prove tough opposition at Rance Oval, after a dominant regular season. Easts won the toss on Saturday and elected to bat and made steady progress to 0/40 and then 3/119 before Penrith exposed the Dolphins middle order eventually bowling Easts out for 169. The Dolphins innings revolved around three starts which helped hold the Easts innings together with Shreyan Despande (26), Yianni Theodorakopoulos (25) and skipper Nathan Moxey (33) being the main contributors
The Panthers reply started well venturing through to 3/103 on stumps, with the home side confident overnight of sealing victory by lunch on day two. However scoreboard pressure and chasing runs in finals does strange things as Shreyan Deshpande exposed early on day two as he claimed two wickets at the start of play bringing the game into the balance at 5/106. From there the home side’s run rate came to a crawl as spin was introduced into the attack. Corey de Wit proved the difference as the game was on a knifes edge as he claimed 3/33 including the last wicket with just 10 more runs to play with. Penrith were eventually bowled out for 159 with Shreyan Deshpande 2/27 and Tom winters 2/28 offering valuable support.
With two sessions left to play, Easts batted again and went through some nervous periods in an effort to thwart an outright result. At 4/39 things looked shaky, but Yianni Theodorakopoulos (45) and Tom Winters (32) batted time as Easts slowly built their lead and batted Penrith out of the match. The Dolphins finished 7/131 off 60 overs when time was called.
Easts now take on second placed UNSW Black in the Semi-Final at David Phillips South.
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