LAVINGTON captain Sam Harris played the innings of his life to keep the Panthers’ season alive with a thrilling three-wicket victory against St Patrick’s in their Cricket Albury-Wodonga Provincial semi-final at Xavier Oval yesterday.
With the reigning premier’s season looking over at 6-65 chasing 211, Harris responded with 91 not out to lead the club to one of its most famous victories.
Harris and Bryce Swift (35 not out) put on an unbeaten 103-run stand for the eighth wicket.
The win saw Tallangatta drop out of the premiership race as the second lowest loser of the round after it lost to Wodonga in another drama-charged final at Les Cheesley Oval.
Lavington coach Robbie Mackinlay said he couldn’t remember being involved in a bigger come-from-behind win.
“It’s hard to think of one,” Mackinlay said last night.
“Sam Harris was fantastic and he just showed why he’s the best leader in the competition.
“The thing people don’t realise is that we have a lot of hidden talent at Lavington.
“Tom Hargreave is a good footballer but he’s also a very good cricketer and Bryce Swift has come in from the country and is another very good cricketer.
“They all play a role.”
With teammates falling around him thanks to some inspired bowling from Patties’ quick Cameron Furze, Harris kept cool in a crisis and was joined at the crease by Swift with the score at 7-112.
They brought up the winning runs in the 82nd over.
On Saturday, St Patrick’s was bowled out for 211 in the 70th over with James Ellis (55), Dean Nicholson (44) and Furze (25 not out) forced to dig deep late to restore some creditability.
Lavington quick Ryan Brown did the early damage, taking three early scalps.
Wodonga defeated Tallangatta by 33 runs yesterday.
The Bulldogs were 5-57 on day one before Trent Ball made the most of an early life to make 66 and help the home team put a competitive 9-228 on the board.
Tallangatta lost a steady flow of wickets in the chase in what could be champion all-rounder Andrew Lade’s final match.
Lade top-scored with 91.