LAVINGTON will take on St Patrick’s in next weekend’s Provincial grand final after crushing Tallangatta by 128 runs at Bilson Park yesterday.
The commanding win booked the Panthers a date with Patties in the decider after St Patrick’s progressed, defeating East Albury by seven runs at Alexandra Park.
Patties posted 221 on Saturday, however the Crows pushed the minor premiers right to the end before they were all out for 214.
Despite finishing the home and away season in fifth position, Lavington has saved its best cricket for when it matters most, knocking both North Albury and Tallangatta out of the finals race on its way to the biggest game of the season.
Panthers coach Trent Ball, who made 33 of Lavington’s 254 runs, was thrilled with his team’s performance.
“We played our best cricket again (yesterday) and the last two weeks have been great,” Ball said.
“The last two weeks of cricket we have done all three things well — we’ve bowled well, we’ve batted well and we have fielded well.
“It’s been the perfect time to get it right.”
Coming off a destructive six-wicket haul against the Hoppers, all-rounder Liam Scammell was again the hero for the Panthers, this time with the bat, posting a memorable 145 not out on Saturday to help set up the win.
“To be honest it was a pretty special innings,” Ball said.
“He really got away from them (Tallangatta) after tea and we always thought that 250 was going to be enough.
“The great thing about Liam is that he is always in the game because he can bat and bowl and like the team he has really saved his best cricket for these last few weeks.”
Meanwhile, St Patrick’s endured a nerve-racking final session to successfully defend its first innings total of 221, dismissing East Albury for 214 with just over two overs remaining at Alexandra Park.
Relieved Patties skipper Heath Naughton was thrilled with his side’s ability to stand up in the heat of finals.
“That’s what cricket is all about,” Naughton said.
“The work rate of the boys was really great.
“(East Albury’s) tail certainly wagged and they definitely showed us why they finished third, don’t you worry about that.”
Casey Arendarcikas (46), Grant Ellis (38) and Kane Arendarcikas (35) helped give St Patrick’s the upper hand after day one, however, sloppy fielding and a resilient Crows outfit pushed Naughton’s side.
“To be honest it got a bit closer than I thought it might,” he said.
“We thought 220 was going to be pretty hard to get but we didn’t field well at all and to their credit they stuck it out.
“But the boys kept pushing themselves and sometimes there are things you’ve just got to do in finals.”
Naughton said his team was looking forward to taking on the Panthers next weekend.
“We are just going to go out there and enjoy the contest,” he said.
“They (Lavington) are obviously the form side right now but right now we’re both at the same point, the starting line.”