Hibo Gold advanced to the Grand Final to play Workers Stags after a solid win over club mates Hibo Green in the first grade final played on Saturday at Seiffert Oval in ideal conditions.
Gold skipper Brad Smith won the toss and had no hesitation in saying "we will have a bat."
Tom Pender and Ben Staples opened the batting for Hibo Gold and looked solid and complete in seeing off the new ball. They then capitalised, playing a mixture of attacking strokes and solid defence to steadily increasing the run rate until Tom Pender fell victim to young Archie Wearne. He was deceived and stumped by Kyle Wilcox for a very neat and valuable contribution of 31 off 47 balls and the score at 1/59.
Josh Pender joined Staples and these two took Gold to 2/66 when Josh Pender was dismissed. He was bowled by Frank McAlister. Dale Cummins joined Staples and the pair advanced the score quickly playing attractive cricket to reach 3/107, when Staples was caught on the boundary by Mick McAlister off Wearne for a very convincing knock of 42 off 53 balls showing his large array of of shots,
Gold lost two quick wickets to be 5/128. Smith joined Cummins at the crease and Cummins decided it was time to unleash some of his attacking strokes and with his increased aggression quickly lifted the Gold total to 6/177, but he was caught on the mid wicket boundary by Jesse Cao off Rory Heffernan for a match winning innings of 68 featuring 5 fours and 4 sixes. Smith was next to go at 7/188 after a solid knock and proving a good foil for Cummins as they added 50 runs in their partnership Nathan Stewart contributed a handy 15 not out off 17 balls to see Gold end their 45 overs at 7/203.
Jordy Lees was the best Green bowler with his nine overs yielding him 1/20. Wearne bowled his leg spinners well and showed great maturity for such a young player in picking up 2/50 off his nine. Frank McAlister, Dane Stevenson and Rory Heffernan picked up a wicket each.
Cao and Kurt Southwell open the batting for Greens and put on a solid looking 18 before Mik Webber bowled Cao for 12.
Smith struck next, bowling Heffernan with the score at 2/20.
Webber struck a crucial blow for Gold when he bowled the very dangerous and in form Stevenson with the Greens score 3/22, which became 4/39 when Scott Boughton had Southwell caught by Webber for a patient knock of 18.
Webber then continued his good form bowling Jordy Wilcox to worsen Greens position to 5/45 Luke Hayward joined Lees and the pair commenced a recovery mission, which was to come to an end when Boughton bowled Haywood for 8 and the Greens struggling at 6/66 with the 203 for victory looking a mountain to climb The Greens lost wickets steadily from this point on to be eventually dismissed for 88 giving the Golds a win and a grand final berth,
Boughton was the leading wicket for Gold with his medium pacers taking 5/23 0ff 7 overs, Webber with 3/21 off his six overs and taking important wickets Smith chipped in with 1/20 off nine to complete a good bowling effort Jimmy Kent also bowled well without a lot of luck.
Hibo Gold now play Workers Stags in the grand final for the third consecutive year with each team having a win each so it shapes as a good solid encounter.