Cobram and Nathalia to fight for trophy

March 17, 2017

Semi-final weekend of the Murray Valley Cricket Association did not fail to disappoint, with some cracking matches on display for the fans.

In premier division the league will have a grand final rematch, with Nathalia and Cobram the two fighting for the crown.

Barooga v Cobram

Cobram has knocked minor premier Barooga out of the finals with a thrilling 15-run win.

Played in front of a good crowd across Saturday and Sunday at the Cobram Showgrounds, Cobram won the toss on Saturday morning and chose to bat first.

A brilliant century from Tigers star Shaun Downie was the clear highlight of the day, as he enabled his side to reach 217.

Cobram opted to alter its batting order slightly for the first final with Ash Saunders opening up for the first time this year with Adam Wiffen.

Wiffen would be the first man dismissed when he went out to the off-spin of Justin Maley.

Soon after Jay Silva was the second Tiger to fall when he too was out to Maley.

That wicket brought Downie to the crease as he and Saunders set to stabilise the innings.

The pair brought the score to 76 before Saunders, who was playing within himself, went for a big shot off Kale Watkins and was caught for 35.

The fall of that wicket had Jim Daniels join Downie in the middle and they put on a grinding partnership of 89 before Downie, having just brought up his century, chipped a ball off Joel Cahir to mid-wicket for a brilliant 101.

At 4/165, Cobram would have been hoping for a score close above 250, but the Barooga spinners hit back.

The Tigers slumped to be 7/188 and if not for a patient 24 from Taylor Pugh would have struggled to reach 200.

The final Tiger wicket fell in the 94th over, with Joel Cahir grabbing a five-wicket haul and giving Barooga openers Ben Mansell and Jamie Stanyer some nervous moments.

The Hawks got through to stumps 0/13 which meant 205 would be required on day two.

A good night’s sleep did wonders for Mansell as he came out early on Sunday hitting the ball to all parts of the ground.

Barooga raced to 0/70 before Mansell picked out a fielder in the deep to be out for 41.

From there, Barooga struggled to put a partnership together, and had a disastrous run-out run on the lunch break.

When the final delivery of the match hit the stumps to remove Sam Leigh with the score on 202 the Cobram faithful celebrated long and hard.

Downie again was the star with the ball taking four wickets from his 37 overs.

Waaia v Nathalia

You can never write off a champion and Nathalia made sure of this in its commanding semi-final win against Waaia.

Waaia won the toss at the Barooga Recreation Reserve and chose to bat first.

The Bombers were in trouble at lunch when they stumbled to 6/82 before some late order hitting saw them reach a competitive finals score of 186 thank to Jordan Cleeland’s fighting 71.

For Nathalia, Eddie Watson was the pick of the bowlers, grabbing four wickets, while Ash Quinn snared three.

Nathalia was able to reach 4/119 at stumps and both teams would have still felt they were in the match.

But a classy hundred from Ash Quinn ensured his side would be playing for a third straight premiership.

Grand final

Cobram gets its chance for revenge this week as the Tigers search for their first A-grade premiership since the 1999-2000 season.

Early forecasts suggest some rain late in the week on Thursday and Friday but clear and warm conditions look to be on the way for the weekend.

The match will be played at the Cobram Showgrounds with the first ball to be bowled at 11am.

Division one

Waaia will continue its remarkable record in division one after winning its way into a 10th consecutive grand final.

The Bombers made light work of Cobram in their semi-final and will now play Nathalia, who defeated Barooga at the Waaia Recreation Reserve for the flag.

Division two

Division two will see Nathalia and Waaia fight out the season decider after both winning their way through on Saturday.

Nathalia was too good for Cobram and Waaia overcame a red-hot Barooga team.

The sides will meet at Finley on Saturday.

●The MVCA senior presentation night will be held tonight at the Barooga Golf Club where the best efforts of the year will be recognised.

A full summary of all the winners will be in a future edition of the Courier.

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