The maturity and class of seasoned campaigners Matt Chasemore and Nathan Pilon steered Berwick to a comfortable victory over Springvale South in Saturday’s DDCA Turf 1 preliminary final at Arch Brown Reserve.
The Bears chased down 9-168, winning by eight wickets to go into the grand final against Hallam Kalora Park.
It will be a rematch of the second semi-final, when the Hawks won well to be the first team into the decider.
Having elected to bat, the Bloods started strongly despite the loss of skipper Nathan King early.
Ryan Quirk (32 off 52 balls) played a valuable hand and was able to land some lusty blows, supported by the more conservative yet just as valuable Clint Tomlinson (51 off 85).
A double bowling change by Bears skipper Chasemore (0-20 off 7 overs) to bring on himself and fellow medium-pacer Jarrod Goodes (2-39 off 12) proved crucial, the experienced pair immediately applying the brakes to Springy South’s scoring.
With the runs drying up, Quirk fell to Goodes, leaving Tomlinson and Jackson Sketcher (20 off 61) to guide the visitors to 2-76 at drinks.
In a position to explode late, the Bloods instead spluttered, hampered by the fall of wickets at awkward intervals.
Ruwantha Kellepotha continued his exceptional season, the leg-spinner claiming 3-30 off 11 through the death overs. Two dropped catches in two balls gifted Dylan Quirk and Paul Hill lives, but didn’t faze the Wookey Medalist who dismissed both batsmen shortly after.
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Left to defend 9-168 after they’d eyed something more substantial, the Bloods craved wickets early and had their tails up on the back of a vicious Matt Wetering bouncer that collected Jordy Cleland’s glove on its way to first slip in the third over.
As Chasemore (68no off 118) and Brodie Emmett (26 off 50) cautiously put down the foundation for Berwick’s run chase, Springy South were dealt a blow when opening bowler and captain King (0-16 off 6) was reduced to a hobble as he charged in for his seventh over.
With King leaving the field, Hill took the reins and turned to the left-arm orthodox of Akshat Buch (1-37 off 7).
But the Bears seized their chance to wrestle back the momentum.
Having already taken Buch’s first over for ten, Emmett slog-swept him for six and the tweaker was under immense pressure. But he delivered a superb comeback ball to graze Emmett’s outside edge.
It was almost two wickets in two overs as Chasemore miscued a sweep off the off-spin of Ryan Quirk (0-32 off 7).
“The Cave’’ holding its breath as the square-leg fielder scrambled and breathing a sigh of relief when he grassed it.
The drop was ultimately a defining moment as Chasemore and Pilon batted the Bloods out of the game.
Pilon rotated the strike freely and crunched five boundaries in his unbeaten 61-ball 45.
Chasemore’s innings was one of measured brilliance, striking below 50 for his first 35 runs before closing the game out at a-run-a-ball clip, with five fours and 2 sixes, including an outrageous switch-hit maximum off the bowling of Buch.
The result was sealed with 5.4 overs to spare, a celebratory chorus of cheers and toots erupting as a Chasemore pull shot raced to the boundary.
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