11-wicket haul puts team in final
By Jennifer Huxley
KANE Aeschlimann's 7-34 haul helped Harwood to an outright victory in the winner-takes-all preliminary final against Brothers this weekend at Ellem Oval, booking their place in the BCU Premier League grand final against Tucabia-Copmanhurst.
Brothers won the toss and elected to bat, a choice they were soon made to regret with Harwood's bowlers dismissing the team for 88 runs in just 36.4 overs.
Harwood's batsmen, led by Andrew Whiteside (40) and Nathan Ensbey (25), scored steadily to reach a total of 144, sending a sluggish-looking Brothers back to the crease to chase their dream of a grand final berth.
But Brothers' attempts to reach a defendable total in their second innings were futile, with the team again failing to reach a total of triple figures, all out for 89.
After being sent back to the pavilion for a duck in his first innings, Brad Grieves redeemed himself with 27 runs, and Brad Robertson's knock of 22 did much to help the team's attempt to rack up a respectable total.
However, Aeschlimann's medium pace was too much for the Brothers line-up, rattling the stumps with alarming regularity to finish with 7-34.
Combined with his 4-28 in the first innings, Aeschlimann finished the match with an impressive 11-wicket haul.
Needing only 34 to win, Geoff Simmons and Andrew Whiteside casually batted Harwood to an outright victory in 11 overs.
Harwood skipper Tim McMahon said despite having to dodge rain on Sunday, his team played a fantastic match.
"We played some great cricket this weekend, we're really happy with the result," he said.
"The weather made it hard to maintain concentration, as we were constantly on and off the field, but all up I'd have to say our whole team played really well.
"The weather meant there were a few wet patches on the wicket, but our batsmen dealt with the conditions well.
"Brothers' bowling was really tight, but in the end we managed to come out on top."
With his finals hopes dashed, Brothers captain Troy McLaren remained determined to keep his chin up despite the results.
"I'm obviously disappointed about the result," he said.
"We batted poorly, and while our bowlers fought back we couldn't quite get there.
"There's always next year."