50s to Zac Trethewey and Sam Horjus saw Parndana defeat Western Districts by seven wickets in the penultimate game of the 2019 KI cricket season.
Parndana will now face off against the Minor Premiers MacGilivray in the Grand Final at Western Districts this weekend.
In the Juniors, MacGillivray defeated Wisanger on Saturday and will now play Parndana in the Grand Final at Parndana
Winning the toss in the Senior match on Saturday, Western Districts had no hesitation in electing to bat. Runs on the board in a final always adds pressure to a chase, but with overcast and humid conditions on the ground it seemed like a good toss to lose for Parndana.
Parndana started well early, but unfortunately had the dangerous Morrison dropped at square leg on five in the second over, giving one of the most damaging batters on Kangaroo Island a second chance.
It was two overs later in the fourth when Grindley took only his second wicket for the season, catching the edge of Scott Hammat, who was well caught at gully by Smith.
The loss of his opening partner didn’t deter Morrison, who started to get on top of the Parndana openers.
But in the 10th over, just as he was beginning to look ominous, Morrison picked the only fielder in the outfield with a lofty drive and Horjus made no mistake underneath it.
With the score at 2/33, Davis and Curtis Blythe were brought together. Davis fell at the change of bowlers, with a Johnson variation seeing his mistake taken cleanly by Smith.
Blythe and Morris came together for a useful 26 run stand, but as was beginning to be the story of the innings, just as they began to look settled, Blythe made one mistake and saw himself stumped, giving Horjus his first. The game was delicately poised, with Western Districts 4/77 at drinks.
Morris and now Daniel Blythe began to play some good shots around the ground after drinks. Both could consider themselves lucky, as they edged Johnson either side of his slip in the same over, but the scoreboard kept ticking over.
But once again, it was a change in bowling, which saw May trap Morris in front. Johnson then had Blythe in the next over, who was caught running back over his head by Smith.
Two balls later, a minor break in play occurred, as Johnson dished up a knee high full toss to Boyle, who dispatched it not just to the boundary, but through the protective fence and down a recently dug light tower hole.
This afforded the players a chance for a quick ten minute rest as a replacement ball was found. Boyle was content to push the ball around and rebuild, but once again a change in bowler, this time Matthew Cooper, saw a mistake and Sam Horjus taking a sharp catch at cover to remove Boyle.
With the score now 6/110, with only 11 overs remaining, Western Districts now needed to look for runs. Riley Boyle was steady, but he too fell in the quest for runs and shortly afterwards, Hedges departed leaving Western Districts 9/129.
However, it wasn’t all over yet. A final stand between Larcombe and Howard saw 25 more runs added, through a mixture of luck, good running and aggressive stroke play.
It wasn’t until the final over, where Grindley took his third for the day, that the innings ended and it was heard to be said that 154 looked a lot better than 130.
The final stand not only gave valuable runs to the Saints, but almost saw a momentum change in their favour as the players retired for tea.
Upon the resumption of play, Horjus took about the task of beginning the run chase. He took Morris for ten off his first, and fifteen from the first two, but in the third over Corey Hammat had Ethan Trethewey bowled neck and crop for Western Districts first.
The very next over, Morris somehow got through Johnson’s defences, and the ball rolled back onto his stump and Parndana were looking shaky at 2/18.
But the top two batters for the Roosters were at the crease. As Horjus and Zac Trethewey went about rebuilding the Parndana innings, the weather also favoured the batting side, as the clouds cleared and the sun came out.
Hammat and Morris bowled the first 19 overs between them, but after the wicket of Johnson in the fourth had no luck. Horjus and Trethewey took a liking to Scott Hammat, whose only over went for 11, as well as Hedges, who bowled two overs in his first spell for 18 runs.
But it was yet another change of bowling that undid the Parndana partnership. Daniel Blythe came on in the final over before drinks and saw Sam Horjus hit him for four to bring up his 50, then immediately afterwards sky a ball to deep mid-wicket.
This saw Horjus returning to the pavilion four balls earlier than his partner, having put on 71 for the third wicket.
Though at drinks it was not quite as balanced as the previous innings, at 3/95 and still needing 60 to win, nervous batting was certainly a possibility as the target drew nearer.
Western Districts came back out, looking to take the game on, knowing now that they would have to take the remaining seven wickets to win.
With Blythe and Hedges resuming, the Saints threw everything they had at Trethewey and May. The Parndana batters counterattacked however, with Blythe’s economy rate at 4.2 and Hedges north of 6, Western Districts were forced to make a change.
At 3/115 Morrison entered the attack almost to immediate effect as May looked to go after him. Larcombe then came on at the other end, but the stroke play of Trethewey (62*) and May (28*) wasn’t to be undone.
Several half chances were given, but were unable to be taken by the Saints. The best of which came in the 34th over with the score on 133, as May hit Morrison seemingly to the fielder in the deep, but as the fielder slipper and the ball bounced over his head for four to the rapturous response from the members behind it, there seemed to be an air of fatality about the game.
Three overs later, the match was sewn up, as May hit the ball to the fence and the unbroken 73 run stand for the fourth wicket finished with 49 deliveries to spare.
Now Parndana have booked in to meet MacGilivray for the right to take home the Stacey Lade Shield as Premiers of the 2018/2019 season. The Grand Final will be held at Western Districts this coming Saturday, March 16 and it promises to be a cracker. - Right Arm Very Ordinary