MOUNT Beauty has narrowly avoided a shock exit from the finals after Yackandandah edged out Kiewa in a thriller yesterday.
The Power lost to Howlong by two wickets and faced the real possibility of being booted out of the finals as Kiewa pushed for the upset at Yackandandah.
But the Roos got home by 15 runs, meaning it was Kiewa and Bethanga sent packing as the District premiership race was cut to four.
Stand-in Mount Beauty captain Frank Iaria said there were plenty of nervous moments and the Power needed to lift in this week’s preliminary final against Eskdale.
“We didn’t bat our overs out, and in the end that proved the difference,” Iaria said.
“They got there in the 67th over, so if we’d batted out our overs and added a few more runs, who knows?”
Howlong skipper Scott Montgomery (37) and youngster Ben Baker (37) did most of the damage as the Spiders chased down Mount Beauty’s target of 201.
Karl Jacka’s unbeaten 28 proved crucial.
Ashan Ranaweera was the Power’s best player, making 51 on Saturday and taking 5-55 from 25 overs yesterday.
Aaron Hoskin took five wickets for Howlong.
Elsewhere, Clinton Gilson scored Eskdale’s first century since its return to A Grade ranks as the club smashed Bethanga by 175 runs.
Opening for just the second time this season, Gilson was the anchor on his way to 107 as the minor premier posted 7-242.
But, as has been the case all season, Eskdale’s bowling proved its biggest strength.
The home team tore through Bethanga with ease yesterday, skittling the Saints for just 67.
Eskdale captain Jamie Baude was suitably impressed with his team’s performance as it cruised to a preliminary final berth.
“We’ve been working on getting contributions from everybody in the top order and that’s exactly what we got so I can’t complain with that,” Baude said.
“Our bowling was really good.
“It’s a luxury to have four quicks, a good spinner and another who can swing the ball.
“Bowling has definitely been our strength this year.”