A TON from Cavaliers skipper Richie Venner has gifted his side a seven-wicket semi-final win over Centrals, propelling the maroon caps into the 2013-14 Orange District Cricket Association first grade grand final.
His fourth century for the summer, Venner hit 120 in a 31-over period to take the game away from Centrals in a dominant semi-final batting display.
Venner’s triple-figures anchored Cavaliers’ first innings total of all-out-for 307 to dwarf the effort from their post season competition, with Centrals rolling over meekly to be bowled out for 67 after winning the toss and batting first at Wade Park.
Claiming 3-6 off six overs and then hitting 51 in a complete all-round performance, Cavs star Stu Middleton said his skipper’s match-defining innings was something to behold.
“It was Richie of old,” Middleton said.
“He plundered the ball to all parts. He defended well and just waited for the bad balls. He didn’t give any chances, he might have gotten a few lucky LBW calls but it’s always nice to have a bit of luck.”
Scraping through to the finals with a memorable six-wicket win over defending premiers Orange City in the final round of the regular season, Centrals boasted momentum but a somewhat weakened team without Adam Shepherd and Dean Turner.
And that was all the advantage Cavaliers needed.
In a ruthless display of bowling, Cavs tore through the red and blacks batting line-up, with only Michael Walker (17) and captain Jake Pauletto (21) notching up double figures in a first innings total of 67.
Sharing the spoils, Middleton nabbed three while Brad Wright (2-3), Chris Martin (1-16), Mark Maybin (1-16), Greg Martin (1-17) and Venner (1-4) each claimed wickets.
In reply Cavs openers Matt Death (12) and James Ryan (18) worked hard for their runs, and when Centrals quick Dan Sandford (3-76) caught Tom Aggett plumb in front to be on a hat-trick with Cavs at 3-52, the game hung slightly in the balance.
But Luke Wilson (37) batted well around the attacking Venner and, along with Middleton and Wright (36), played superb supporting roles in a big 307 total.
Middleton believes his side’s ability to go in for the kill made it a worthy grand final participant in 2013-14.
“We knew we were playing an under strength Centrals side but as a fielding and bowling unit, that’s probably the best we’ve played this season,” Middleton said, with Cavs looking to add to their 2013-14 minor premiership with the big piece of silverware next week.
“We bowled in the right areas and took all of our catches.”