ROMSEY and Wallan are gearing up for finals in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association’s McIntyre Cup and Johnstone Shield competitions respectively.
Romsey was consigned to third place on the McIntyre Cup ladder with a loss to Woodend on Saturday, and will now face Sunbury United in a semi-final.
The early stumping of captain Ben Way for seven was the first sign of trouble for the Redbacks after they won the toss and elected to bat.
Taylor Stevenson (52) and Chris Burkett (55) formed a strong tandem after first-drop batsman Damien Devlin was bowled for three, but Stevenson could find little support after the partnership was broken and the home side was bowled out for 162.
Romsey needed a strong performance in the field, and it got one. The Redbacks picked off three runners between the wickets and Taylor did damage with 2/35 from eight overs, but Romsey struggled to claim the crucial wicket of Warren Else.
Else built a patient innings of 77 for Woodend before he became the second run-out victim of the day. Along with Hamish McDonald’s 33*, it was enough to get the visitors across the line with one over to spare at 6/163.
Romsey split its two matches against semi-final opponent Sunbury United during the home-and-away season, losing by 36 runs in round five before rebounding with a 24-run win in round 12.
The winner of the match will face the victor of Gisborne and Bacchus Marsh in the grand final.
Wallan is also one win from the grand final but will face a challenge against minor premier Rupertswood.
The Magpies closed the home-and-away season with a confidence-boosting win against Bacchus Marsh on the back of an unbeaten century from Bryan Vance.
Vance’s knock of 100 came in just 80 balls and included 10 fours. He was not without support, as Ryan Cumberland (64) and Spencer Whittingham (40*) kept the scoreboard ticking over.
With a massive total of 2/239 on the board, Wallan took the field with plenty of confidence.
Bowler Brenton Hanson was in no mood to let the Bulls off the hook, taking three top-order wickets to have the visitors on the ropes at 4/36.
Hanson (3/15 from eight overs) had plenty of support from the likes of Chris Vecchie (2/8) and Steven Bell (1/14) as Bacchus Marsh was bowled out for 99 in 32 overs.
Wallan lost both of its encounters with Rupertswood this season – a result it will need to reverse in order to make the grand final.
Lancefield will take on Wallan in a division two semi-final at Lancefield after finishing atop the ladder.
The team put the final touches on its minor premiership with an eight-wicket win against Melton South and will be a hot favourite to reach the grand final after defeating Wallan twice this season.