Harwood books place in LCCA grand final
HARWOOD spun Wanderers into submission to become the first side through to the 2014/15 Lower Clarence First Grade grand final.
Left-arm off spinner Lachlan Johnson (5 for 20 off 7.5) and right-arm leg spinner Jacob McMahon (3 for 19 off 8) proved a lethal combination bowling Wanderers out for 80 to set up a seven-wicket win.
Harwood captain Scott Johnson introduced the spinners early to thwart an aggressive start from the likes of Todd Peterie (29) at Harwood Oval.
"I knew after basically two overs it was a spinner's deck," Johnson said.
"Our opening bowlers went for a lot of runs so I brought the spinners on from both ends. They bowled brilliantly and it was Lachy's first 'five-fa' in senior cricket."
With the bat openers Matt Peterie (7) and Matt Farrell (15) toughed out a difficult early period against Wanderers pace trio Adrian Boyd (0 for 20 off 6), Simon Harrison (1 for 16 off 8) and Zac Honeybrook (1 for 20 off 6).
Positive batting from Harry Nicholson (15) and Dylan Causley (23*) saw the runs start to flow and Harwood wrapped up a comfortable win in the 23rd over.
Direct entry into the grand final continues an incredible turn around for Harwood, who did not have a first grade side two years ago.
Harwood now has three teams already through to grand finals with the CRCA Premier League defending champions defeating Brothers in the major semi-final on Sunday and All River Colts Under-16s to play their grand final against Brothers on Thursday.
"Six of that under-16 side play first grade," Harwood president Tim McMahon said.
"We didn't have first grade two years ago when all these kids were 14.
"We put the side back in last year and came last, then this year against all odds they've gone through and won the minor premiership and are the first team through to the grand final."
Despite the vast improvement this season, the side's skipper was mindful that the job was only half done.
"I'm not getting too excited until we win it," Johnson said. "We've got one more step to go."
That will be at Harwood Oval on March 21 against either Wanderers or Yamba, who knocked Maclean United out of contention in the minor semi at Yamba Oval.
Things looked shaky early on for Yamba until Matt Breakwell (58) once again came to the rescue to post 7 for 148.
Troy Urquhart took an amazing 6 for 12 off 7 to rout Maclean for 96 in reply.