CRICKET Albury-Wodonga has stormed into the SCG Country Cup final, knocking out No. 1 seed Hamilton-Wickham in devastating fashion yesterday.
It’s a historical win for CAW which until Thursday had never made it past the quarter-finals.
The stage is now set for CAW and Newcastle-based team Merewether to do battle on the Sydney Cricket Ground on February 3.
St Patrick’s star Luke Restall enhanced his reputation as a big game master, scoring 58 not out to lead CAW past the host’s 161 on the central coast.
An elated CAW skipper James Tonkin said the win was among the best of his career.
“We came up here just hoping to win one match,” he said.
“No one really gave us much chance but we spoke at the start of the week and said ‘let’s believe in each other and give it all we’ve got’ and we did that.
“Lukey (Restall) guided us home and that was a beautiful thing to see.”
Tonkin’s decision to bowl after winning the toss proved a masterstroke.
A brilliant spell from opening bowler Liam Scammell (3-14) had Hamilton-Wickham on the ropes at 5-69 halfway through its 50 overs at Sohier Park.
Lack of respect for CAW’s bowlers didn’t help the host who had several batsman fall playing poor shots.
Hamilton-Wickham stumbled to 9-161.
The small target was all the incentive CAW needed.
“We haven’t had much respect all week and that continued today,” Tonkin said.
“We came off at half-time and just said we’re getting these runs no matter what and we were in control from the start.”
Opening batsman Scammell couldn’t repeat his heroics with the bat, falling for a single run but Trent Ball (19) and Robbie Jackson (11) soon had the scorers busy.
Hamilton-Wickham dangerman Matt Webber brought both batsman unstuck but Restall was yet to come.
After giving the hosts a couple of half-chances he resurrected CAW’s innings.
With support from Tonkin (10), Ben Kohler-Cadmore (21) and Greg Daniel (18 not out), Restall led his team to 5-163 off 47.5 overs.
The chance to play at one of Australia’s most historic grounds awaits.
“For most of us it will be one of the highlights of our careers and it’s massive for everyone involved with representative cricket, not just the players,” Tonkin said.