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By Richard Millott

Week one of Finals action concluded on Sunday with The Basin booking a spot in the decider, whilst Knoxfield dares to dream after winning their Elimination Final.

After setting 334 as the target, Eildon Park were in strife early as the Bears bowlers went to work with the visitors 3/34. Cody Morris resisted against the attack, contributing 36 to the Panthers’ cause as a highlight of the innings. Jarrod Hicks (30) gave the middle order a start it was desperately searching for as the minor premiers ran riot with the ball, however the attack was too strong dismissing Eildon Park for 149. Jake Sherriff showed why he is one of the in-form players in the league, his 6/28 going a long way to seeing the Bears through to the Grand Final.

Eildon Park will now play Knoxfield after the Knights successfully chased down Ferntree Gully Footballers. Set 234 to progress to the next week of finals, the Knights looked to be in a spot of bother early at 2/21 before Tom Boxell joined Mark Pruysers at the crease to grind away a rebuild. The Griffens struck in succession to dismiss Boxell and Pruysers to be 4/67, then found a steady stream of wickets from one end whilst Zac Wilson kept the scoreboard ticking over. Wilson hit 11 boundaries on his way to 94, dismissed with the score at 8/211. Jake Balfour saw the Knights through with a lower-order cameo, his 40 not out helping the home team through to the Semi Finals at 8/235 with an over to spare. In trying conditions, Sam Cuthbert worked tirelessly for the Griffens, his 5/58 going a long way towards almost seeing the visitors through.

In Decoite Shield, a determined South Belgrave came close to victory against Lysterfield. Set 233 to earn the week off, the visitors gelled towards the target, with Thomas Marks the leading scorer for South with 58. For the Beavers, Adam Kinniburgh claimed a vital 6/97 to deny the unlikely, dismissing South for 213 to book the Beavers into the decider.

South will now host Rowville after the visitors saluted over Monbulk. Chasing 258, Monbulk begun well being 1/66 with Shane Cosstick (48) firing at the top of the order. But then Rowville struck back, claiming the next 4 wickets for 36 runs to leave Monbulk at 5/102. Despite this, Jason Fraser was providing solid support in the middle order, his 82 providing hopes of progression to the Mountain-men. Meanwhile, Rowville worked hard with the ball to earn their breakthroughs at pivotal moments, with Darren Hill (3/45) and Steve Sandhu (3/77) ensuring Rowville lived to fight another day, dismissing Monbulk for 221.

In the first of the Grand Finals this weekend, Knoxfield will host The Basin in the Division 3 decider after both teams progressed in their respective Semi Finals. The Knights saw off Ferntree Gully, who were dismissed for 172 chasing 299. Charlie Beresford (39), Shane Richardson (31) and Ryan Evans (31*) all made starts to lift the Blues into the decider, whilst the Knights shared wickets around. Meanwhile, the Bears successfully chased down Upwey’s 236, with Leigh Cook scoring 92 not out along with Greg Latham (60) and Joel Clarke (50) to reach 5/237.

Knox Gardens will play host to Rowville in Division 4 after the Falcons saw off Knox Boronia Churches. Defending 214, it was James Prendergast who made inroads on the scoreboard for the Burra’s, scoring 66. A determined and economical effort from the Falcon bowlers, highlighted by Bailey Deckert claiming 5/22, kept the visitors to 128. Meanwhile, Rowville came up with the answers with the ball to deny St Johns Tecoma, dismissing the Saints for 150. Ryan Arnell (5/34) and Steve Oudshoorn (3/34) claimed the bulk of the wickets to see them through to the decider.

Knox City will play off against Knoxfield for Division 5 honours. The Tigers proved too good for Lysterfield, who reached 181 in reply to Knox City’s 244. Whilst Knoxfield reached 8/264 against Upwey who were dismissed for 157.

Rowville will host Monbulk in Division 6, after the Hawks defeated Upper Ferntree Gully by 5 wickets. Glenn Neven had a match to remember for Rowville, claiming 6/18 before finishing not out with the bat on 58. Monbulk reached 222 against St Johns Tecoma, with the Saints dismissed for 175 in reply.

In Division 7, The Basin will play against Ferntree Gully after the Bears passed Knoxfield. With the Knights total of 121, the Bears passed the total with 5 wickets to spare. Whilst Ferntree Gully hit 7/153 in reply to Lysterfield’s 150, Nick Hallo claiming 4/41 for the Blues.

Belgrave will play Upwey in the Division 8 decider. The Pies reached 6/251 to pass St Johns Tecoma, with Andrew Dodds scoring 100 not out. The Saints had earlier reached 7/248, with Paul Armstrong dismissed for 97. Whilst in the other match, Upwey held off a fast-finishing Ferntree Gully Footballers. The Tigers finished at 9/257 thanks to Paul Dunning’s 66. The Griffens remained in touch the whole duration of the innings, before the Tiger bowlers broke through to dismissed for 241.

In the first Premiership to be decided next week, Johnson Park will play St Johns Tecoma in the B1 One Day Grade after respective Semi Final wins. The Sharks saw off Bayswater convincingly – reaching 3/235 from their overs, Bayswater had little answers as the Sharks booked their place with their visitors finishing at 8/94. Whilst St Johns Tecoma enjoyed a 2-wicket win over Knox City. Set 177, the Saints reached the total with overs to spare, ending at 8/182.

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