Crystal Brook hosted Redhill on the weekend in the preliminary final of the Rocky River Cricket Association.
Redhill came into the game as the underdogs, not only because they finished lower on the ladder, but also because they were only able to field nine players!
Crystal Brook ultimately proved to be too strong and won their way through to a grand final encounter with minor premiers Laura.
Crystal Brook v Redhill
Redhill won the toss and chose to bat on a hot, cloudless day at Crystal Brook.
They got off to a reasonable start with Ben Pilkington and Larry Klingner putting on 31 runs for the opening stand.
Pilkington was the first to go, caught behind off the bowling of Will Combe for 20.
Combe picked up the second wicket of the innings as well, with a diving catch off his own bowling to remove Cam Kerr for 4.
The next 3 wickets of the innings belonged to Adam Kupsch who dismissed Dan Hayes (15), Louis Cummins (1) and Simon Hayes (18).
At 5/102, Redhill desperately needed a batsman to dig in and build a partnership with Klingner.
Cooper Hayes was able to contribute 15 runs to Redhill’s total but in the end, it was Klingner who was dismissed first.
He was caught behind off the bowling of Leo Coates for 51 with the score at 6/135.
Coates picked up the next 2 wickets as well, bowling Lachlan Mumford and Ryder Hayes, neither of whom were able to trouble the scorers.
With only 9 players, Redhill were all out at 8/139. Leo Coates was the pick of the bowlers for Crystal Brook with 3/18/9.4.
Adam Kupsch picked up 3/24/6 while Will Combe finished with 2/25/8.
It was always going to be a tough ask to defend 139 with 9 fielders against Crystal Brook, who have posted 4 scores in excess of 200 runs during the 2018/19 season.
However, Redhill were able to grab an early breakthrough, with Crystal Brook skipper Allan McArdle bowled by Louis Cummins for a duck.
Shortly after, Larry Klingner struck from the other end to remove Adam Kupsch for 10.
Redhill had given themselves a chance with the score at 2/14 but a 79 run partnership from Will Combe and Luke Bartlett all but took the game away from them.
Larry Klingner gave Redhill one last chance at a preliminary final berth when he dismissed Combe for 44 but Nathan Hooper picked up where Combe had left off, contributing 20 runs toward a 35 run partnership with Bartlett.
Redhill’s Ryder Hayes was able to pick up a couple of middle order wickets but it proved to be too little too late as Crystal Brook passed the score 5 wickets down and with 10 overs to spare.
Bartlett finished with 50 not out and has proven to be a valuable inclusion to the Crystal Brook outfit.
Klingner was the best of Redhill’s bowlers with 2/36/12.
Ryder Hayes picked up 2/36/5 while Louis Cummins finished with 1/41 from 11.1 overs.
The grand final will be contested between Laura and Crystal Brook at Laura Oval on Saturday, March 2, at 1pm.
After the game and the presentation of medallions to the players of the winning team, the best individual performers of the 2018/19 season will be acknowledged.
The senior cricketer of the year award will be presented to Shane Ballantyne of Georgetown with 24 votes, well clear of Dylan Hansen in second place with 14 votes.
The junior cricketer of the year award, which is presented to the best player aged under 21, has been won by Cody Robson of Georgetown.
Cody will also be awarded the bowling trophy, having claimed 19 wickets at an average of 15.47 runs per wicket. In second place, is Leo Coates of Crystal Brook with 15 wickets.
This includes the incredible figures of 7/15 against Georgetown in Round 4.
The batting trophy is awarded to the player who scores the most runs throughout the season and has been won by Shane Ballantyne of Georgetown, who made 594 runs including 2 centuries. Dylan Hansen of Gladstone finished second with 340 runs.
The association fielding trophy, as adjudged by the captains, will be awarded to Jaran Turner of Laura with 13 votes, ahead of Crystal Brook’s Will Combe with 9 votes.