ANYTHING can happen come finals time, and for this exact reason the coming weekend, Saturday March 9 and Sunday March 10, marks the beginning of the most exciting part of the 2012-13 Orange District Cricket Association season.
The post-season of the ODCA second grade competition begins a week earlier than the first and third grade premierships, with the undefeated Orange City and last year’s champions CYMS the top two seeds come the business end of the year.
But given the results of the final round, it’s not unlikely third and fourth will seriously challenge over the next month.
Gladstone (third) hit back to form, thumping Metro Force by 80 runs after the total of 8-258 proved too big a hurdle even at the tiny Max Stewart Oval.
Richard Manning’s 97 in quick time and figures of 3-24 for Ben McAlpine got their side back in form.
On the other end of the scale, Kinross (fourth), needing a win to make the finals, dominated a low scoring clash with City Warriors to secure a semi-final berth.
The students bowled out the Warriors for 41, with young gun Hugh Britton slashing through the Warriors batting to take 5-8, rattling the stumps to claim all five scalps.
Chasing the poultry total, Stu Crisp (22 not out) and Andrew Johnson (13no) got there easily to wrap up the 10-wicket win and leap-frog the Warriors into the ODCA second grade top four.
Kinross now meet Gladstone in the minor semi-final, while Orange City and CYMS clash in the major semi-final with the winning team straight through to this year’s grand final.
But both will be looking over their shoulder.
In third grade, Centrals and Waratahs made the trip to Spring Hill for an entertaining clash.
Batting first, the long grass again proved a factor as Matt Tedeschi (49) and Will Richard (41) hit just two boundaries between them in a second wicket stand of 67.
Still, the delicate play helped Centrals to 5-157 after 40 overs and it proved enough.
Waratahs were bowled out for 118 as the dynamic duo of Anthony Salmon (3-12) and Barney Davis (3-16) bowled effectively and cheaply in tandem.
For Waratahs, Theo Crane batted well in making 37 but also failed to find the fence.
CYMS cleaned up in the Centenary Cup last weekend, with both Fahys and Kellys chalking up wins.
James Gough was the stand-out performer of the round, taking 5-27 for Fahys.