By Nick Creely
It’s North against South…again
Both Narre South and Narre North will fight it out for the Dandenong District Turf 2 premiership for the second consecutive year on Saturday after dominant performances saw them surge to the grand final.
The Rams completely stunned the Lions in an incredible premiership last season, and this time around, it’s just as hard to split the two great sides with plenty of firepower at their disposal.
Down at Strathaird Reserve, Scott Phillips’ Lions completely dismantled Narre Warren, with the skipper setting the tone with the ball after the Magpies sent the home side into the field.
The champion all-rounder snared the first four wickets of the game to make life miserable for the Magpie top-order, finishing with the outstanding figures of 5/37 from 21 overs,
Combined with Jonty Jenner (3/13) and Michael Ritchie (2/16) the Magpies fell over for just 147 in the 67th over, giving the Lions plenty of time before stumps to make in-roads into the target.
But Morteza Ali had other ideas; he simply had a hunger to excite.
The dynamic opener crashed 83 off 61 balls before stumps to completely stun the crowd, with the Lions getting to the end of day’s play in a truly dominant position at 0/110, and with one eye already on next week.
Ali fell early on day two for a wonderful 89 off 71 balls, but the Lions easily passed the total with seven wickets in hand, with Jawed Hussaini (26 not out) anchoring the chase from the top-order.
The Rams were equally as dominant, putting in a professional masterclass against Dingley at Narre North Reserve.
Guided by a superb 90 to Michael Dunstan, the Rams managed to post a strong total of 213, with Steven Brooks (26) and Scott Brandon (20) helping get the home side back from a shaky spot at one point.
Dingoes star Christo Otto (2/45) was a force all day, while all-rounder Matt Hague (3/32) got some great reward, including the wicket of Dunstan late in the day.
Joel Zietsman (2/36), Ryan Hendy (3/46) and Nathan Wilson (3/36) just wouldn’t allow the Dingoes to settle into the innings, rattling the top and middle orders to leave them 6/60.
Otto showed his class by cracking an unbeaten 38 off 72 balls, but the Dingoes were bowled out for 126 after a run-out by Dunstan and Wilson to close out the match.
The Rams and Lions’ massive wins sets up what is set to be a fascinating contest at Hallam on Saturday and Sunday, with the rivals set to play in front of what could be a monster crowd at Frawley Road.
In Turf 3, Beaconsfield entered the season as clear flag favourites, and they now have the chance to add a premiership cup to the cupboards at Perc Allison Oval after a dominant semi-final win against Keysborough.
With a side chock-full of star talent, the Tigers have taken some beating this season, and they gave Keysy a genuine cricket lesson.
It didn’t all go to plan for the Tigers, however, after being sent in to bat and losing a clump of wickets to be 7/95.
With skipper Matt Golding (13) back in the sheds, the Tigers needed someone to stand up, and once again, it was tail-ender Callan Tout (60), who played his second blinder in the matter of three rounds.
Tout crashed a spectacular half-century after doing the same job against Fountain Gate just a matter of weeks ago, to lift the home side to an imposing 197 considering the bowling depth in their arsenal.
Golding then bowled with what could have very well been a magic cricket ball, snaring 7/41 from 24.2 brilliant overs to roll the visitors for just 99, with Tout (2/23) also chiming in with great support with the new ball.
It lifts the Tigers’ skipper to 32 wickets at 9.4, to go with his outstanding 561 runs for the season.
The Tigers will now face off with Lyndale for the premiership, after the Dales knocked off second placed Parkfield for a spot in the decider.
In a thriller with plenty of feeling, the Dales batted first and clawed their way to 150 off 80.4 overs in a tense day of cricket, with Priyan De Silva (55) and Yohan Soyza (47) holding things together with vital knocks.
Nico Jeffery (2/44), Travis D’souza (3/43) and Stephen Cannon (3/17) bowled superbly for the home side.
The Bears lost a clump of early wickets to be left 4/43, but a promising stand by Matthew Goodier (28) and D’souza (41) had the home side in a position to push for victory, but Soyza was simply unplayable, rummaging through the lower order to bowl the home side out for 139, just 11 runs short.
Soyza finished with the mind-boggling figures of 4/8 off 20 overs, with 14 of those overs coming in maidens.
The grand final between the two sides will be played this Saturday and Sunday at Lois Twohig Reserve, the home of the North Dandenong Cricket Club.