Tucabia rockets into league finals
By TONY WHITE
"WHAT an absolutely great weekend," an excited GI Hotel Tucabia-Copmanhurst captain Damien Rouse said.
Tucabia registered three wins in as many days, claiming the South Ex-Servicemen's Club/Daily Examiner night cricket final on Friday over Westlawn Crown Hotel before defeating Westlawn, again, and Brothers Post Office Hotel yesterday to book a spot in the Bananacoast Community Credit Union Premier League finals.
Tucabia's Bernborough-like finish leapfrogged the club into third position on the premier league table and a place in the two-day final against Westlawn at Ellem Oval next weekend.
Harwood Hilton, courtesy of a great season and a win over Brothers in the penultimate round on Saturday, finished deserved minor premiers.
Unfortunately for South Services, which had the bye on Saturday, last season's beaten grand finalists fell at the final hurdle yesterday against Westlawn to miss a place in the finals.
"Very disappointing," South's young captain, Brett Woods, said.
"We didn't bat well enough (yesterday) and Westlawn bowled very well."
Meanwhile, Rouse, who missed fielding on Saturday and yesterday's game against Brothers after pulling a hamstring while batting against Westlawn, said team spirit after yesterday's win over Brothers was 'sky high'.
"We're just in the middle of giving each other high fives," he said.
"There's a real buzz in the club. "I haven't contributed much after pulling the hamstring, but I'm very proud of the boys.
"Hopefully I can be fit for the final."
Harwood handled the pressure of Saturday's make or break game against Brothers with aplomb.
With the minor premiership at stake, Harwood limited Brothers, without Matt Ryan and Troy McLaren, to 6-156 and in reply passed Brothers total inside the distance, scoring 7-160 at Yamba Oval.
It was a typically dour performance ? Ed Munday (20), Nathan Ensbey (17), Peter Hickey (21), Greg Firth (24), Mark Ensbey (27) and Luke Harradine (23) all getting among the runs.
Trevor White was best for Brothers, top scoring with 54 and captain Corey Bertalli 33.
However, the biggest run plunderer over the weekend was Tucabia's Rob Mckenzie.
McKenzie made 13 in the night final, a brilliant 100 ? out on the last ball of the game ? against Westlawn on Saturday, then 72 against Brothers yesterday.
"Bob was seeing the ball well, he poked and prodded for the first 20 odd then got about 80 something off the last 20 overs," Rouse said of McKenzie's century.
"He got in the zone and was awesome to watch, then backed it up again on Sunday."
Brothers made 6-187 yesterday, Bertalli with 63 and Trevor White with 45 and in reply Tucabia made 5-245, Matt Blanch opening with 85 and Greg Watkins, 41.
Westlawn were in trouble early against South, losing Daniel Amos in the opening over, but a fine 52 by Brendan Purser steadied the team.
Star all rounder Andrew Firth was dismissed for a duck, but the middle and tail orders made solid contributions with Simon Wilson blasting 32 and Rohan Hackett finishing 32 not out.
After having South in all sorts of trouble at 5-74, Matt Kroehnert almost single-handedly pulled them out of the fire with a fine 64.
Nathan Blanch (5-46) and Firth (5-38) cleaned up the South tail saw them dismissed for 145.