One Grandell of a Blues victory

March 05, 2018

Grinding it out: Numurkah's Dylan Grandell made 74 from 145 deliveries while battling illness to set his side up for glory at the weekend.

A strong finish with the bat gave Numurkah the platform it needed to claim victory in its Haisman Shield qualifying final at the weekend.

After reaching 5-193 at the start of the 68th over, the Blues lifted their intensity at the crease for the final stretch of their Saturday innings to reach what proved to be a match-winning total of 6-269.

Tatura could only claw its way to 147 in reply yesterday, exiting their first A-grade finals series since returning to Cricket Shepparton with a 122-run defeat.

Tim Arnel (45 not out from 47 deliveries) and Tim Braybon (16 not out from as many balls) were the Numurkah pair able to take the game away from Tatura in the final hour of the first day, building on the platform earlier set by Dylan Grandell (74 from 145) and Shaun Downie (52).

‘‘It was pretty much the first probably hour and a half, if we could get through Petherick and Dinnis and keep wickets in hand we felt as though we were going to be able to score hard late and that was probably the most important thing,’’ Numurkah captain Liam Gledhill said.

‘‘The guys at the back end really finished the game off nicely.

‘‘It was a good result, obviously winning the toss and batting (Saturday) on a pretty flat track and flat outfield (was important).

‘‘269 was a really good start and we felt as though with our bowling attack if we got early wickets we could shut the game down pretty early and that’s pretty much how the game panned out.’’

Jess Petherick (3-58) and coach Tim Kelly (3-64) did the damage for Tatura with the ball, but could not make enough inroads to keep the Blues to a low total.

‘‘I think we did everything that we could, (Numurkah) are an established batting line-up and once they were in they were able to capitalise, we didn’t do too much wrong at all,’’ Kelly said.

Arnel (three wickets), Matt Cline, Gledhill and Michael Eckard (all two) all struck multiple times yesterday and, despite Connor Hayes (49 from 120) and Tom Vibert (26 not out from 54) holding firm, the away side could not leave Numurkah Showgrounds with its finals campaign still alive.

‘‘They create a lot of pressure through their spin bowlers, take the pace off the ball and force us to make the pace and they did that well again today,’’ Kelly said.

‘‘It’s been a massive step forward for us to be able to play finals and to be involved in a game like this this weekend has been a great experience for the whole group, but next year hopefully we can consolidate our list and keep moving forward in the right direction.’’

For Numurkah, perennial premier Central Park-St Brendan’s awaits in next weekend’s semi-final.

But Gledhill is confident his troops can continue their good form against the Tigers this season and book themselves a ticket to the final weekend of the season.

‘‘Look it’s going to be a big game, they’ve played a lot of finals and we’re still learning the final caper but we’ll enjoy the win and enjoy this week and really try to dissect Central Park,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve played them twice and we know they’ve got some big game players so it should be a good game and we’re hoping for a big turnout again next week.’’

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