Gisborne timed its run chase to perfection against Bacchus Marsh to earn a second straight Gisborne and District Cricket Association McIntyre Cup grand final appearance.
Like the last time the two teams met, the match went down to the wire.
This time the result went the Dragons’ way with Clinton Young hitting the runs off the first ball of the last over of the day.
The weekend started with the Bulls winning the toss and electing to bat at home.
They didn’t get off to the best start, with Peter Lalor out for three and Alex Porter with a second-ball duck.
Jay King was doing the damage with the ball early on taking the first four wickets. When Clinton Young got his first wicket, opener Mili Sepala was gone for 35 and the Bulls were 5-74.
The middle and lower order mustered some resistance, with Kieran Atkin (35), Shaun Taylor (50) and James Bailey (33no) adding some handy runs to push the score past 200.
The Bulls were bowled out for 215 with three and a half overs left.
King, who also wrapped up the tail, finished with 6-64 off 22.3, including seven maidens.
Dragons playing-coach Simon Harman said it was one of the better spells he’d seen from King.
“It was very impressive… He bowled relentlessly and managed to get the wickets.”
The Dragons’ openers got off to a steady but slow start, putting on 64 for the first partnership. Harman said the aim was to ensure they had batsmen in the shed later on if they needed.
He said despite not many runs on the board early on, they were confident as long as they batted the 80 overs out they could get the runs.
“We wanted to lay the foundations,” he said,
“We structure our line up so we bat as deep as possible to try, so if needed later on we had batsmen who could make the runs. They are good runners too.”
Harman was out for 36 and Brook Grumont lasted just two balls before being caught and bowled by Dennis O’Loughlin. Beau Valka and Riley Vernon added 42 runs for the fourth partnership, before Valka was dismissed, soon followed by Jakson Knight (0) and Vernon (66).
The Dragons at that point were 5-114.
After Jason Wilson and skipper Jarryd Vernon steadied the ship with some ‘sensational hitting’, the Dragons needed 39 runs off the last 10 overs with five wickets in hand. The total was in sight when Wilson was bowled by Madushanka Ekanayaka for 40, giving the Bulls same hope.
Jarryd Vernon fell for 40 with the scores level, leaving the job of hitting the winning runs to Young and Darcy Nolan. Young obliged by hitting a two of the first ball of the final over.
The younger of the two Vernons, Riley, top scored as he again showed why he’s seen as a rising young talent.
The Dragons finished 8-217.
Their win sets up a grand final clash with Sunbury, which shocked premiership favourite Riddell. The Dragons will host the final after finishing higher on the ladder.
The Dragons will be chasing a second straight McIntyre Cup premiership since returning to the top grade at the start of last season.
It was a good weekend for the Dragons, with their five senior sides which were in semi-finals all getting the win and are through to the grand final.
“Everyone has worked their backsides off.”