|The West Wimmera Warriors earned the right to play for back-to-back Horsham Cricket Association C grade premierships when they overcame Quantong in a semi-final on Saturday.
West Wimmera Warriors 8/163 (45 Overs - L Preston 38, B Alexander 31, L Albrecht 24, T Polkinghorne 21, A Smith 20) lost to Noradjuha-Toolondo Bullants 5/167 (Overs 41.1 - B Alexander 2/35)
After a morale-boosting win over the same opponent in the last round of the season to confirm a place in the semi-finals, the Warriors travelled to the Horsham City Oval to take on Noradjuha-Toolondo Bullants to play for a place in the grand final.
Five double-figure scores contributed to a score of 163 from their 45 overs, with Liam Preston making 38, and Brad Alexander 31 not out anchoring the innings, and better than a-run-a-ball scores of 24 from 22 balls by Liam Albrecht, and 21 from 19 balls by Trevor Polkinghorne making a competitive score. Austin Smith was the other score over ten, with 20.
Although this total would ultimately prove to be twenty or thirty runs short of a victory, it was a challenging target for the Bullants that kept the game in the balance right up until the last few overs.
An early wicket slowed the Bullants’ run chase, but an 81-run partnership for the second wicket set up a solid foundation for their middle order to attack the target, and at 2 for 119, they were well on track, but when the Warriors took three wickets on that score, the game swung back in their favour.
An enthralling contest ensued, but with the Warriors unable to curb the scoring by taking any further wickets, the Bullants slowly gained the advantage, and although they reached the victory target with just under four overs remaining, it was an entertaining match for the small crowd of spectators there to witness it.
Noradjuha-Toolondo will now meet Rupanyup-Minyip in the grand final next weekend after they scored a comfortable win over Homers in the other semi-final.
West Wimmera Warriors 153 (37.1 overs - A Dickinson 46, J Dickinson 40, J Crowhurst 30) defeated Quantong 90 (25.5 overs - N Sparling 4/15 including a hat-trick, J Dickinson 4/18)
Quantong went into the game needing to inflict the first defeat on the Warriors this season to progress to the grand final. They got off to a great start, dismissing three of the Warriors’ top four batters with just 13 runs on the scoreboard, but a 44 run partnership between Ash Dickinson, who made the match-high score of 46, and Jack Crowhurst (30) restored the innings.
A contribution of 40 runs towards the end of the innings by Jobe Dickinson allowed the Warriors to reach 153 even though they only made it into the 38th of their allotted 40 overs.
Quantong got off to a confident start in their run chase, having passed fifty before they lost their third wicket, and they were still well in the game at four for 75.
The fifth wicket fell at 80 to a run out by Wallace Wheaton, and Jobe Dickinson dismissed two batters with the score on 89, adding to the two he had taken earlier in the innings, giving him a tally for the match to four wickets for 18 runs from five overs.
After just one more run was added to the score, Nathan Sparling took the last three wickets of the game, in consecutive balls, to join team-mate Bailey Zimmermann who also took a hat-trick this season, last month in the Twenty20 grand final.
Above - the Warriors celebrate a second hat-trick this season.
With this result, the Warriors progresses to their second consecutive grand final and will take on Horsham Saints Black, who defeated Blackheath-Dimboola in the other semi-final, on the turf wicket at Dudley Cornell Park in Horsham on Saturday.