Shay and Koskela champion wins
Two all-rounders, Tintenbars Luke Shay and Casinos Wes Koskela, championed their sides to victory in their respective semi-finals last weekend. Shay picked up a half century and took five wickets as The Bar got the better of Cudgen while Wes took four wickets and scored a match-high 84 as Casino upset Souths.
The Casino versus Souths match was marred by a wet pitch, which made winning the toss vital. The Cavaliers won the toss and of course asked the Lismore men to bat on the spitting cobra of a wicket. So no sooner had he taken guard than Souths opener Anthony Nind was struck in the head by a ball he was stretching forward to. While Nind was being taken to hospital to be stitched up, the umpires decided they had made mistake in playing so early and put off the game for 45 minutes. After the unscheduled break, Casinos quick bowling quartet returned to the crease to beat Souths batsmen Richard Nind and Paul McLean black and blue. Despite copping a fearful bruising, the pair batted courageously to post a 90 run partnership. It wasnt until the gentle left arm orthodox of Koskela joined the attack Casino took charge of the match. Bowling a tight line and length, Koskelas first two wickets were chokers as both McLean and Nind fell to good catches from ordinary balls. Koskela then picked up a controversial wicket, removing Souths danger man Michael Nind for duck caught close to the wicket. Rex Parrish and badly concussed Anthony Nind both made contributions but after they were removed Souths lower middle order promptly dissolved. The slide was halted by youngsters Matt Parrish and Aaron Mocatta as Souths managed to post 230 from 91 overs.
On Sunday the pitch had settled down considerably and, as the day wore on, it took on the appearance of a road. Casino openers Miles McDowell and Tony Bennett batted sensibly to set up a platform for the win, putting on 79 before off-spinner McLean removed both of them. This brought Slammin Sam Irvine and Horse Koskela together and they proceeded to bat Souths out of the match. Koskela was particularly tough on anything short outside the off as Souths young bowlers offered him too much room to swing his arms all too regularly. The Cavaliers lost a late flurry of wickets but by that stage the game was in the bag.
Down on the aerodrome at Kingsford Smith Park, The Bars Phil Dalli produced a photocopy of his innings against Cudgen from round two, as he set a great foundation for the minor premiers 291. A small middle order collapse seemed to offer the Tweed team some hope but when Shay and Duncan Elphick put on a partnership of 80 for the seventh wicket The Bar was in the box seat.
Cudgen managed 157 in reply as Shay, a nippy medium pacer, picked up five wickets to scuttle the visitors season.
Tintenbar East Ballina will host the final against Casino in Ballina. The match begins at 11am on Saturday at Kingsford Smith Park.
I expect this one to be an absolute cracker. The teams are evenly matched and bristling with match winners. The only match between the team this year was washed out, so neither side can boast a psychological advantage.