Easts will take on City in Armidale Cricket’s one day final after they leapfrogged defending premiers Hillgrove on the first grade ladder on Saturday with a win against their rivals.
Hillgrove stepped out to bat first and 27 runs in they lost their first wicket in Josh Croft for 15 off the bowling of Tyson Burey. Croft’s opening partner Bentley Cropper challenged an in-form Easts bowling attack – who dismantled City last weekend – with a knock of 56 before he was dismissed by Todd Francis.
Hillgrove captain Matt Schaefer was trapped lbw for 11 by Jackson Gwynne while Francis secured his second wicket in Brad King for 3.
Will Archer (43) and Andrew Brownlie (41) stretched Hillgrove’s total to 191 by the end of their 45 overs.
“They lost a couple of quick wickets but Will Archer batted really well in the middle and then to have someone like Andrew Brownlie come out and bat at number six is not a bad shout, he batted pretty well too,” Easts captain Sam Uphill said.
Easts started their run chase slow and steady with the top four all dismissed for less than 20 runs. Tom Toshack (20), Sam Constance (30) and Dean Waters (24) provided resistance in the middle before they departed as well followed by Uphill (8) and Matt Jackson (3).
Nine wickets down, Easts were in disarray until a few dropped catches on Gwynne saw the tail-ender climb to 37 and notch up the total with three balls left in the innings.
“They bowled and fielded really well until the last wicket and then must have thought they had it in the bag and dropped all the catches that came their way so all the chances they created didn't really work out for them,” Uphill said.
It was one of those things, we sat around and said 'at least we gave it a crack' and Hillgrove did really well batting out their 45 overs and we had a fair crack chasing it but all of a sudden we were back within shot and needed 10 off the last over and Jackson Gwynne went bang, bang, bang so he did really well.