RAILWAYS will head into Saturday’s Albany Cricket Association A-grade semi-final clash with Manypeaks as clear favourites following a dominating display with the ball on the weekend that saw them roll North County for just 83 runs.
The Tigers’ win brought a premature end to North County’s season, as the Bulldogs’ hopes of progressing into the finals hinged on defeating Railways and Denmark beating Collingwood Park.
In Saturday’s match, North County needed the recent form of veteran Craig Tonkin to continue if they were to pose a threat, but when he was dismissed for two runs and Michael Ferreira for six from the bowling of Mitchell Thomson, County’s heads were in their hands.
Fortunately, there were two more Ferreiras to offer resistance, with Matthew combining with his father Neil to rebuild the innings.
The pair took the total to 2-64, before Railways skipper Zane Marwick took control with the ball and started a collapse that saw County lose eight wickets for 18 runs.
Marwick claimed three wickets to get his eye in before the finals, but fell short with the bat when he was bowled for just seven as the Tigers began their brief chase of County’s 83-run total.
The Tigers are persisting with Tim Edmunds at the top of the order with his ability to slowly wear the shine off the new ball.
He fell just short of double figures, contributing nine runs before Nathan Crudeli and Matt Walters got the job done.
The pair each played patiently to see out the run chase, but punished anything that was off target from North County’s bowlers.
Crudeli brought up the winning runs on his way to 39 not out, while Walters looked solid, notching up 21 not out.
Manypeaks will no doubt be quick to shrug off their last-ball loss to Mount Barker on the weekend and refocus on a plan to conquer Railways’ batting depth and bowling attack.
They would have fancied their chances after dismissing the Bulls for 157 in Saturday’s match, with a four-wicket effort from Harry Broomhall the highlight from the spread of bowlers.
In their response to Mt Barker’s total, the loss of cheap wickets was offset by several key partnerships which kept Manypeaks in the game.
A 36-run stand from evergreen veteran Jeremy Stewart got them within striking distance of the Bulls’ total, but a calamitous fall of wickets, including one from the final delivery of the day, left them one run short at 9-156.
Despite underdog status in Saturday’s semi-final with Railways, Manypeaks at least got a preview of the pressure they need to absorb if they are to threaten Railways.
In the remaining A-grade match, Nathan Dovey and his bat blasted Collingwood Park into fourth place on the ladder and an unlikely finals berth, considering their slow start to the season.
Dovey made 67 as Park chased down Denmark’s respectable 212-run total, that was could have fallen short had it not been for 69 runs from Michael Pratt, batting at number seven.
Park will play Mt Barker in their semi-final and will need to get on top of the Bulls batting line-up early.