Bulldogs’ finals dream over
North County’s slim finals hopes ended quickly at the hands of ladder leaders Railways after a disastrous batting collapse spelled the end of their season on Saturday.
Last season’s grand finalists needed to win and hoped Denmark would defeat Collingwood Park to scrape into fourth spot, but their hopes were dashed when they were rolled for only 83 in 38 overs.
Despite losing openers Craig Tonkin (2) and Michael Ferreira (6) early, father-and-son combination Neil and Matthew Ferreira worked the Bulldogs to 2-64 before Tigers skipper Zane Marwick (3-15) removed Neil Ferreira for 28 to trigger the collapse.
The Bulldogs lost 8-18, with the Tigers’ bowlers sharing the wickets before Nathan Crudeli (39 not out) and Matt Walters (21 not out) knocking off the total inside 25 overs.
The Tigers gained another double bonus-point win in their fourth straight win before heading into a second semifinal clash with Manypeaks.
Mt Barker secured third spot on the Merrifield Real Estate A-grade ladder after clinching a final-ball thriller over Manypeaks at Turf North.
Chasing 158 to win, Peaks needed five runs from the final Alex Fergie over to clinch the win.
Fergie removed the dangerous Jeremy Stewart for 36 with five runs needed from three balls.
Wicketkeeper Tim Shepherd added two more and after a crucial dot ball, needed three runs from the final ball for victory.
With wicketkeeper Luke Hammond up to the stumps, Shepherd edged the ball, which ricocheted off Hammond and carried to veteran Graeme Wright at backward point in a bizarre dismissal to give the Bulls their first win over Peaks this season.
The introduction of wily seamer Tim Fitzgerald (4-25) again proved fruitful for the Bulls as he picked up two wickets in seven balls as Peaks slumped to 5-75 just after drinks.
Experienced all-rounders Stewart (36) and Warwick Durack (21) began a crucial counter-attack with a 53-run partnership until the latter was caught behind off Bulls captain Jeremy Wood.
Wood was the backbone of his side’s innings with a crucial 62, which included four boundaries with handy contributions from Wright (21) and Fitzgerald (20) in their total of 157.
The Bulls, however, conceded 37 sundries, which almost cost them the match until Fergie’s final-over heroics.
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