LAURIMAR will advance to the Diamond Valley Cricket Association Mash Shield preliminary final after eliminating rival Whittlesea on Saturday.
The Power recorded a seven-wicket win over the Eagles at A F Walker Reserve in Whittlesea, but the comfortable final score belied a match that see-sawed early.
Laurimar captain Jake Zerella sent the Eagles in after winning the toss and was rewarded when opening bowlers Nathan Woods and Josh Deans-Draper struck quickly.
Woods had Rajitha Ratnayake out for four only three balls into the match, and Deans-Draper followed up a few overs later with the wicket of Suresh Fernando to have Whittlesea 2/28.
With both of their openers gone, the Eagles needed to regroup, and Corey Baker and Corey Avola set about building a partnership.
The duo reached the drinks break unscathed and looked capable of building a big total, but Laurimar’s Michael Peters had other ideas.
Peters produced a devastating spell of crafty medium-pace bowling to remove both Baker (27) and Avola (27) in short succession, then went on to claim the wickets of Braydon Avola (9) and Brody Bell (2).
Peters’ 4/28 proved to be a game-breaking performance for the Power, which cleaned up Whittlesea’s tail as only Mitch Komen (16*) provided any resistance.
Scott Toull took 3/23 from 7.4 overs and Deans-Draper was economical with 1/9.
Laurimar needed 137 for victory and methodically chased the target down.
Zerella (33) and Ash Williams (28) put on 43 for the first wicket before Baker broke through to remove Williams, but the Power were undeterred.
First-drop batsman Luke Richardson had 14 before Rian Boddy (25*) and James Ingham (30*) finished the job for the visitors.
Komen claimed the wickets of both Zerella and Richardson to be Whittlesea’s best bowler with 2/33.
Zerella said his team had showed its talent and depth.
“[Whittlesea] were two for about 70-odd at drinks. You’d probably call that a 50-50 situation because they weren’t in a bad spot, and then Mick Peters came on and got a quick four-for in his eight overs and after that we cleaned up the rest of the wickets,” he said.
“Everyone contributed. Nobody tore them apart, but everybody did their bit of the job.
“We’ve got Panton Hill now, and they’re obviously a good side but I think we’re good enough to beat them, so it should be a good game.”
The winner of Saturday’s match between Panton Hill and Laurimar at A E Cracknell Reserve will face minor premier Rosebank in the grand final.