HOW?S THAT FOR OPENERS?
By ADAM CARROLL
THERE was something very familiar about Monday night's Daily Examiner/South Ex-Servicemen's Club night cricket elimination final between South Services and defending premier Westlawn Grafton Hotel.
Just as they did to East on Saturday, South openers Brett Woods and Tom Kroehnert showed little regard for the bowling attack, effectively setting up victory with a blistering opening stand.
South made 155 from its 30 overs before restricting Westlawn to 125 to earn the right to play GI Tucabia-Copmanhurst in Friday night's grand final at McKittrick Park.
Already oozing confidence from Saturday's effort, Woods won the toss and decided to make the most of the perfect batting conditions.
He and Kroehnert did just that.
The pair pounded Westlawn's bowlers from the outset, amassing 80 runs from the first 10 overs.
Woods was particularly devastating, taking advantage of the early fielding restrictions with some elegant lofts over the infield.
In the past Westlawn skipper Tony Blanch has proved a thorn in the side of South, and his introduction to the attack threatened to again prove crucial.
Woods and Kroehnert took 23 off his first two overs to win the initial battle.
The opening partnership was broken by Bryce Speechley who bowled Woods for 50. His score came from 32 balls.
Kroehnert followed five runs later for 29 and South was 2-88.
His departure brought brother Matt to the crease and after falling two runs short of a ton on Saturday, he was in a particularly aggressive mood.
Unfortunately for Kroehnert and South, the wickets were tumbling at the other end, as South's batsmen struggled to deal with the consistency of Jason Chevalley and Jake Conway-James.
When Kroehnert was dismissed by Conway-James for 45 ? from 30 balls ? it triggered a collapse and South's final five batsmen were bundled out for just five runs.
Conway-James finished with 4-26 and Chevalley 3-25, while Blanch overcame the early onslaught to take 1-26 from five overs.
Westlawn's run chase did not begin well.
Jason Rainbow was out in the second over and moments later Brad Inmon was run out to leave Westlawn at 2-10.
South kept the pressure on as Matt Peterson dislodged Shaun Ulrick before youngster Ryan Lynch claimed the vital wicket of Andrew Firth.
Westlawn was 5-31 and despite a healthy run rate, was never realistically a chance of winning.
An eighth-wicket partnership of 26 between Jason Chevalley and Brendan Purser was probably the highlight, but it was too little, too late.
Zac Page was the pick of South's attack with his 2-15 from five overs, while Matt Kroehnert also proved effective with his off-spinners, taking 2-23. Brendan Taylor was also solid taking 2-10.