Hibo Gold booked themselves a spot in the first grade grand final when they defeated minor premiers Workers Stags at Seiffert Oval on the weekend, March 11-12.
Stags skipper Dan Cooper won the toss and sent Hibo Gold in to bat and his decision was quickly vindicated with opening bowler James Wilson snaring both Ryan Day and Hamish Copland to have Hibo two for seven.
Sam Cosgrove and Mik Webber built the score to 33, when Kel Sansom bowled Cosgrove for seven. Ben Staples came out to join Webber and these two set about restoring Hibo’s fortunes with a solid partnership and sensible batting defending the many good deliveries and playing strong attacking shots when the opportunities presented. They advanced Hibo to 4/94 when Webber was caught behind by Mick Murphy off Wilson for a very well made 49 off 77 balls.
Staples continued on his merry way, scoring with a variety of attacking shots all around the ground as the Hibo score steadily mounted as wickets continued to fall with Hibo at one stage 7/132.
Staples’ resilience was the constant in their innings as he continued his valuable knock. He received solid support from Kurt Langbein to move the score to 8/158. Staples continued his run making and was joined by Matt Scott who proved a very worthy ally. These two put on a very handy 36-run partnership to lift Hibo to 199, when Staples was bowled for 86 by Connor Murrell going for a big one.
But his innings had been a standout for Hibo, spanning 52 overs and featuring his customary array of attacking shots. His defence was also rock solid. Scott ended up on 17 not out in a very solid innings mixing defence and attacking strokes that had lifted Hibo to a very competitive total of 199 all out.
Jim Wilson led the Stags bowling attack with distinction, ending with 4 for 29 off 12 overs. He was well supported by Kel Sansom with 2/34 off 11, Andrew Tivey 22/32 off 9, Connor Murrell 1 for 27 off 12 and Dan Cooper 1 for 33 off 11.
Stags were required to bat eight overs to complete play on Saturday and things did not go well for them, with Mik Webber claiming Jack Murdoch. He was well caught by Sam Cosgrove at mid-off for Stags to be 1/1 which was to become 2/6 when Brad Smith trapped opposing skipper Cooper lbw. Josh Watling came to the crease and played some attacking shots to reach 10 before Webber got one through him to bowl him and this left Stags at 3/13 at stumps.
Play commenced with Mitch Cook and Kel Sansom at the crease and these two featured in a much needed partnership for Stags. They batted well and got Stags to 4/57 when Cook was well caught by James Kent off Brad Mitchell for a patient but important 17.
Stags slumped to 4/64 when Sansom’s resistance ended when he was well caught low down by Smith at slip off Mitchell for a very well made top score of 28. Mitchell was to play a key role for Hibo when he bowled Jesse Cao for 21. Josh Ryrie also bowled to have Stags at 8/83 and Webber returned to the attack to finish off the Stags innings for 84, giving Hibo Gold a 115-run win.
Brad Mitchell returned the best figures of the match with an outstanding bag of 4 for 6 off 5 overs but Webber was also instrumental in the Hibo win with 5 for 44 off 13 overs. Smith also claimed 1 for 26 off 8.
This means Hibo Gold go straight to the Grand Final while Stags will now play Coolavin Young Guns (who scored a big win over Hibo Green) in the preliminary final next weekend.
In 2nd Grade, Railway Bowlo went straight to the Grand Final when they defeated Super Stags. They will play club mates Stags White (who defeated Soldiers Warriors) in next Saturday’s preliminary final.
In 3rd grade, Coolavin Colts move straight to the grand final by defeating Hibo Colts who will now play club mates Hibo Gold who defeated Hibo Green.