Port Augusta cricket: South Augusta secure top spot

ON FIRE: Ladder leaders South Augusta celebrate a wicket during their 86-run win over second-placed Quorn.
ON FIRE: Ladder leaders South Augusta celebrate a wicket during their 86-run win over second-placed Quorn.

South Augusta have clinched top spot and solidified their place in the Grand Final with a dominant win over Quorn.

Greg Shirley made some hard work for the Quorn fielders in the heat, blasting his way to 95, but fell just short of his century.

However, his score alone was enough for a win, as Quorn were bowled out for 78 in a great day for the Bulldogs.

South won the toss and chose to bat, but things couldn’t have started much worse, with Bailey Marshall taking the wicket of Todd Kernahan with just the fourth ball of the match.

This left Corey Cuffe and Will Waterworth to get the innings started, but they could only negotiate eight overs before Waterworth fell LBW to Paul Rodgers for six.

Greg Shirley’s side was 2/13 when he walked out to the middle, but he quickly got things up and running again.

However, South would suffer another blow when Cuffe was run out just five overs into his partnership with Shirley for 12.

Greg was joined by his brother, Craig, and it seemed South were building into a good position, but once again, Quorn took a wicket just at the right time with Simon George finding the edge of Craig for five.

With the loss of their fourth wicket for just 61 runs, Shirley began to lift the tempo. He and Marcus Gill put on 86 runs in just 13 overs in what would be the match-winning partnership.

Shirley got himself into the 90s, but then lost Gill for 28 when he was caught and bowled by Scott Williams. Just two balls later, Williams claimed his second wicket when he found the edge of Ben Trewartha’s bat.

All eyes were on Greg Shirley as he approached triple figures, but 95 was once again his unlucky number, as he fell five runs short of his century for the second time this season.

With two overs left, the tail scored some vital late runs to help South finish with 8/164 from their 40 overs.

With more than four runs an over required for victory, Quorn’s openers, Alex Hosking and Scott Williams, got the run chase off to a fast start.

By the sixth over, they were on 29, but Ben Trewartha put an end to the partnership in his first over when he took the big wicket of Hosking for 16.

In his second over, he got another wicket when he hit Kade Baker on the pads to leave Quorn in trouble at 2/35.

Things would only get worse from there for Quorn, as South bowled five consecutive maidens, and when Williams was caught off Clayton Parkinson, the game quickly slipped away from the home side.

Within eight overs, Quorn lost five wickets for just 10 runs to leave them 6/45. By the time Paul Finlay and Mark Francis began their partnership, Trewartha had three wickets and Craig Shirley had two, and the pair would finish off the tail quickly, taking four wickets a piece and helping to bowl Quorn out for 78.

Mark Francis finished unbeaten on 17, but that was never going to be enough to see his side home with eight batsmen scoring less than 10.

This win has deservedly booked South’s place in the Grand Final, while Quorn will have to win the Preliminary Final to give themselves a chance of winning their third flag in a row.