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By Richard Millott

The Final of the Norm Reeves Shield is all to play for after Eildon Park posted a strong total.

Winning the toss and electing to bat, the Panthers worked themselves into a groove despite the early breakthroughs of Jake Sherriff (2/43 off 21 overs) to have them at 2/36. Cody Morris and Jake Pollard partnered up to take on the Bear bowlers, the duo adding 85 for the second wicket before Blake Walter struck an over before tea to be 3/121 at the break.

It was more of the same after until the 62nd over when Marcus Baxter cleaned up Pollard for 36 at 4/171. Baxter continued to ignite the Bears, in just 5 overs the Minor Premiers having the Panthers at 8/187 including the wicket of Josh Dowling was dismissed for 40, including 3 sixes. The Panthers pushed on, taking the runs on offer as the score passed 200. Baxter continued on his wicket-taking spree, concluding the innings with Eildon Park at 217 as the paceman claimed 5/67 from 22.4 overs. A concern for the Panthers, however, as Perera seemed to incur a leg injury which restricted his movements at the crease as his contribution with the ball still to come on Day 2 as the Panthers search for the Premiership.

At Lakesfield Reserve, it was Lysterfield who elected to bat first in their decider against South Belgrave. The Beavers were 1/36 in the 12th over as Daniel Forster-Jennings was sent on his way, before Nathan Hicks returned just after drinks with the score at 2/48 after 21 overs. A slow-but-building pace continued the effort with Anthony Brolic and Nick McKay at the crease, 71 runs for the third wicket brought to an end as Brolic was caught on 49 in the 58th over at 3/120.

With the South Bowlers keeping the run rate at just over 2, Ryan Hicks joined McKay to ramp up the score for the Beavers, adding 56 runs in the next 10 overs. Whilst on 49, McKay had to retire injured after a collision with a fielder, bringing Steve Finch to the crease. Jake Lawson dismissed Finch, bringing back a bandaged McKay to resume his innings, adding 10 more runs to reach his half century before being bowled with the score at 5/194 with 8 overs left in the day. Hicks too reached the milestone before becoming the third wicket of Harley McDermott’s just 3 overs from stumps. Lachlan Dobson (33*) and Adam Kinniburgh (10*) struck well in the closing 18 balls, adding an additional 35 runs together to put Lysterfield at 6/251. For South, McDermott was the lead with the ball claiming 3/65 from his 21 overs as Jake Lawson, Mark Baker and Cameron Smith supported with a wicket each.

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