TOWERING sixes, controversy and an injured umpire.
Monday night’s preliminary final had it all.
But in the end it was a classic game of cricket, with Harwood prevailing against a never-say-die Coutts Crossing.
After a prolonged rain delay the match finally got under way, with Harwood captain Tim McMahon electing to bat.
And bat his team did.
After its allotted 30 overs Harwood had belted 207 runs, with evergreen opening batsman Geoff Simmons blasting a match-winning 72.
Mark Ensbey (43) and Nathan Ensbey (39) also joined the run-fest with some lusty hitting in the final overs.
Harwood’s massive total was helped by some ordinary fielding by Coutts, which was blighted by dropped catches, misfields and overthrows.
Coutts’ body language in the field deteriorated from the point of expecting a wicket to merely hoping for a breakthrough.
Requiring more than six runs an over, the Coutts’ opening batsmen came out with guns blazing and in the blink of an eye had 66 runs on the board after seven overs.
The Harwood bowlers took a mauling, as opening batsmen Tim Tilse and Luke Cox continually found the middle of the bat.
Cox was particularly harsh on the bowlers but after smashing a towering six over fine leg he was controversially adjudged lbw for an entertaining 42.
Two balls later Tilse departed and suddenly Harwood was back in the game.
Coutts’ captain Ken Willis and all-rounder Israel Simpson kept the scoreboard ticking over but when Willis was caught in front the game swung back in Harwood’s favour.
Enter Dean Hambly.
The robust batsman detonated on cue, as he always does, scoring a quick-fire 20 before he holed out to Ensbey at deep mid-wicket.
Simpson finished with 42 and for Harwood Luke Many starred with the ball finishing up with 3-13.
After the match Harwood skipper Tim McMahon was full of praise for his top-order batsmen.
“All the top order did the job and batted around Simmo (Geoff Simmons),” McMahon said.
“They (Coutts) made a few errors in the field but when we got out there the ball was slippery and hard to hold.”
Coutts’ captain Willis was understandably disappointed with the result after his team went agonisingly close to pulling off a remarkable victory.
“It was a huge target to chase and we dug in and fought well but a couple of rough calls cost us,” he said.
“But that’s cricket.”
Harwood will play Easts in the final on Friday night.