Riverside won its way through to the Barclay Shield Grand Final with a 33-run victory against Diamond Creek. The ’Siders batted first and posted 9/193 with Steven Villani’s gutsy 50 the definitive performance that gave his bowlers just enough margin for error. As has been the case for the unbeaten Riverside all year, the accumulative strength of their bowling attack guided them home more than any individual spell. Nick Austin (4/45) spearheaded the attack as the Creekers were skittled for 160.
Macleod is one step closer to going back-to-back in Barclay Shield after crushing Montmorency for the second time in a month. The Eagles were virtually home and hosed come Saturday night after Richard Johnson’s epic 144 bolstered their innings of 293. Talented as the Montmorency batting line-up is, their relative inexperience in finals left them wanting. Tim Wise (4/26) delivered yet another outstanding spell in an outstanding season as the Magpies’ final wicket fell at just 155.
Plenty Power has converted a minor premiership into a Money Shield Grand Final place with a six-wicket win over Bundoora United. The Power bowled themselves into a commanding position on Saturday as Chris Barclay (2/14), Mitch Johnson (2/27) and Kenroy Peters (2/41) spread the damage through a highly potent top order. Defending 162 was always going to be ambitious for the Bulldogs and once Johnson followed his suffocating spell with an innings of 61, the game was up. Peters and captain Gordon Zull finished the job for the Power with 14 overs to play.
After flying under the radar all season, Heidelberg has won a Grand Final berth with a comfortable upset win over Banyule. After superb home and away seasons with the willow, Peter Cashen (69) and Justin Whitcher (56) formed the heart of Heidelberg’s innings with a 116-run stand after coming together at 3/22. That missed opportunity and reversal of fortunes hurt the Bears, who couldn’t hold themselves together in their pursuit of 213. Andrew Fotinopoulos and Patrick Hannah combined for seven wickets to sweep through Banyule for 115.
Greensborough avenged its home and away season loss to Panton Hill with a nail-biting 10-run win. In a match of changing momentum and chances taken and missed, the ’Borough posted 171 and then fought tooth and nail to prevent the best batting line-up in Mash Shield from chasing it down. Brendan Adamson proved the wild card with two middle order wickets after taking just three all season before the ’Borough turned to a tried and true performer in Matt Crawford to winkle out the final two scalps and roll the Redbacks for 161.
Hurstbridge survived a massive scare to defeat South Morang by three wickets and earn a Grand Final spot. The Lions seemed overawed by the occasion in a lowly total of 113 as Daniel Sadowy (6/24) terrorised their line-up but the match was turned on its head before stumps when Darcy Bell claimed three wickets to have the ’Bridgers in all sorts at 5/41. However, with Mash Shield’s highest run scorer Tom Simpson still at the crease the match still had plenty to play out; Simpson stabilised his side on the Sunday before leaving the stage for Michael Berry (61 not out) to play his finest innings of the season and lead Hurstbridge home.