ORANGE City were made to fight for the final place in the Orange District Cricket Association second grade grand final.
City scored an outright win over Gladstone in their preliminary final on the weekend but it wasn’t a one-sided match.
City made 121 in their first innings before removing Gladstone for 72.
An improved second innings meant City made 131 before bowling Gladstone out for 125 to secure a 55-run outright victory.
City captain Steve Sharp said the match was a rollercoaster ride.
“We thought we were ahead and then they came back,” Sharp said.
“It was close which is what you want, I guess.”
Ben McAlpine gave the City batsmen nightmares in the first innings as the paceman took 7-47 from 19.2 overs.
Will Faul also chipped in with 3-35.
Sharp (32) and Daniel Donato (28) were the only City batsmen to make a strong start in their 121-run total.
The bowlers shone in the first innings with City’s Ryan Sinclair taking 5-32 as Gladstone were all out for 72.
Gladstone lost eight wickets in the first innings and Michael and Luke Sullivan were timed out due to work commitments.
In City’s second innings, Pete Shea found his form knocking 46, while Sharp (23) and Michael Bice (21) also scored runs.
McAlpine was, again, solid with the ball taking 4-45 and Faul (2-23) and Greg Goodlock (2-15) claimed multiple wickets.
Gladstone needed 181 runs in their second innings to win outright and McAlpine’s 43 had them in the right direction.
The rest of his side couldn’t stay with him as they were all out for 125.
This time is was young gun Angus Hughes who starred with the ball for City taking 6-50 from his nine overs including a hat-trick.
Sharp said the players were looking forward to this weekend’s grand final against CYMS.
“We were minor premiers but I think we’d lost our last three games. So it was good to get a win up and get into the grand final,” Sharp said.
“I think it’s a first grand final for a lot of the boys. City has made the last five second grand finals but most of that side is in first grade this year. So we’ve got a pretty new team.”