Minor premiers Greta/Branxton and Bellbird will face-off in this season’s Cessnock District Cricket Association first grade decider after both won their semi-finals at the weekend.
The top side hosted fourth-placed Wine Country at Miller Park, with the Blues running out winners by 30 runs.
Batting first, the home team managed a modest 8-149 from its 40 overs in tricky batting conditions.
Genuine all-rounder Brent Watson led the way with 26, with Nathan Holz (24), Mark Bercini (21), Josh Dagg (18) and Reuben Andrews (14) providing the bulk of the runs.
Allan Heath (3-49 off 10) and Hudson Smith (2-28 off 8) were the pick of the Wine Country attack, but they will be ruing the fact they dropped several regulation catches in the field.
The Wood Ducks were on the back foot early at 4-21.
However, a fine knock of 47 from the youthful Sam Peacock kept the visitors in the contest.
He and Rob Sidebottom (21) got Wine Country within range, but their wickets in pretty quick succession signalled the start of the end.
They were eventually dismissed in the penultimate over of the game for 119.
Watson completed a man-of-the-match performance with 4-31 off 10, with Patrick Andrews (2-24 off 9) continuing his recent good form with the four-piece.
Bellbird ended defending champions Mulbring’s quest for a sixth straight title with a 16-run victory in a low scoring affair at Mulbring Oval.
A delayed start reduced the match to 35 overs per side, with Bellbird asked to bat first after losing the toss.
The inaugural Coalfields Cup titleholders battled hard but were restricted to 9-87.
Opener and season leading run-scorer Jason Orr led the way with 34, with Nic Siers playing a vital role at the death with 26 not out.
Mulbring skipper Cameron Ross was near unplayable with his left arm spinners, taking 4-11 off 8 overs, with openers Zach Sneesby (2-17 off 9) and Ben Neaves (2-26 off 9) taking a brace of wickets each.
The home team was reeling at 4-8 early on, however all-rounder Neaves got the shaky ship heading back in the right direction with a well-made run-a-ball 37.
Unfortunately, he struggled to get anyone else to hang around with him, with Chad Lewis (10) the only other batsman to provide any sort of resistance.
Tigers new-ballers Zach Kronholm (4-9) and Scott Miller (2-11) picked up the vital wickets of the strong Marlins’ top order to take the Bellbird Club into the finale.
Chelmsford Hotel will take on Wine Country in second grade, Bellbird clash with Wine Country Blue in “thirds” with Bellbird Maroon locking horns with Chelmsford Hotel in the remaining encounter.
- by Mark Bercini
Chelmsford Hotel 4/62 (Gundeep Gill 24, Jakob Bartley 17, Lachlan Marino 3-22 off 4 defeated Bellbird 10/60 (Pat Cagney 34, Matt Fairlie, Beau Lantry 4-17 off 6.2, Arron Follan 3-12 off 7)
Wine Country v Greta/Branxton at Allandale washed out
Bellbird 10/138 (Daniel Attewell 42, Aaron Duffie 28, Mark Scott 11no, Alessandro Ganino 3-10 off 4, Kaiden Howson 2-17 off 6.2, Tyler Wade 2-18 off 6) defeated Wine Country White 10/78 (Scott Purser 19, Bailey Vanlaarhoven 17, Clint Starkey 5-16 off 8, Rob Clark 2-20 off 7, Mark Scott 2-29 off 8)
Wine Country Blue 9/136 (Eain Harris 35, Jason McMichael 29no, Stephen Hedger 25, Noah McNamara 2-18 off 6, Jamie McNamara 2-30 off 9, Nathan Velt 2-17 off 6, Aaron Stephenson 2-20 off 3) defeated Greta/Branxton 10/115 (Adam Kerry 31, Lewis Jacobs 21, Tanveer Singh 19, Jamie McNamara 16, Peter Davis 4-17 off 8, Brett Stewart 3-25 off 7.1)
Bellbird Maroon 8/93 (Brad Henderson 37, Gavin Kronholm 23no, David Cooper 3-21 off 10, Steve Bedford 2-16 off 10) defeated Bellbird White 10/91 (Steve Bedford 46, Rob Jordan 14, Daniel Orr 3-15 off 10, Brad Henderson 2-41 off 6, Jordan Field 2-1 off 2.0, Heath Cameron 2-14 off 2.4)
Chelmsford Hotel 9/112 (Andrew Wanless 27, Venkat Inakollu 19, Abinandan Sudharsanam 17, Correy Stone 4-18 of 8), Daniel McCann 2-22 off 8, Zach MacBeth 2-53 off 8) defeated Greta/Branxton 9/109 (Doug Engel 42, Sam Dagg 12, Andrew Wanless 4-32 off 7.4, Abinandan Sudharsanam 2-17 off 4)
Senior grand final fixtures (all 12.30pm start)
Greta/Branxton (1st) v Bellbird (3rd) at East End
Chelmsford Hotel (1st) v Wine Country (2nd) at Carmichael 1
Wine Country Blue (2nd) v Bellbird (4th) at Miller 1
Bellbird Maroon (1st) v Chelmsford Hotel (2nd) at Miller 2