YARRAWONGA-Mulwala beat the elements and last year’s grand finalists Beechworth to all but wrap up a home final at Baarmutha Park on Saturday.
Set 140 for victory, the Lakers looked likely to become victims of the weather as light drizzle and heavy clouds rolled into Beechworth.
But despite losing 1½ hours play to the weather, Yarrawonga-Mulwala was able to get the runs for the loss of just four wickets.
Captain Lee Fraser said 20 overs were lost during the afternoon.
“All credit to Beechworth and their captain Brenton Surrey in playing through the weather when it could have been very easy to walk off,” he said.
“The conditions weren’t easy to bat on and I don’t think it would have been easy to be in the field either.
“I think in the end we dodged a bullet.”
Fraser said the win had all but secured a home final.
“Our aim was always to finish first or second and have the advantage of playing at home in the first week of finals,” he said.
“Our win on Saturday did that and Paul Marshall was a key over both weekends.
“He was the anchor in our innings with 51 not out and took three wickets with his medium pacers the week before.
“Marshall hasn’t got a lot of runs for the year but he was been in solid form with the bat lately, his last three of four innings seeing him spend a bit of time in the middle.”
Fraser said it was great that the finals were going down to the wire.
“All the top sides are there and I can’t really pick a favourite,” he said.
“Myrtleford’s bowling is their strength, while Bruck and City Colts have such great depth that you always expect them to be around the mark.
“I’m not sure whether Corowa can make it but certainly Rutherglen’s win over City Colts gives them a real chance.
“Rutherglen on paper are one of the strongest teams in the competition so I wasn’t surprised to see them win at the weekend.”
Redlegs captain Jon Shaw said Saturday’s victory was too little, too late.
“It is bittersweet, we are really disappointed that we are not playing finals,” he said.
“It certainly proves that we can beat the top sides.
“But the fact is that when the pressure was on we failed, when there is no pressure we relax and hit our straps.”