South Augusta proved, once again, why they are the team to beat this year, with a thumping 121-run victory over Central/Stirling.
An outstanding second-wicket partnership between Craig Shirley and Will Waterworth set South up for a big total of 192, before their bowlers went to work to have Central all out for just 71.
Craig Shirley and Corey Cuffe opened up for South, and while the former survived his first ball when an LBW shout was turned down, the latter couldn’t survive his, as Cuffe was caught behind without scoring.
Waterworth came to the crease and got things back on track alongside Shirley, as the two combined for 93 runs to take the wind out of the Tigers’ sails.
While the pair were at the crease, South were ticking along at more than four runs an over to put their side well ahead in the game.
The partnership was broken in the 24th over when Shirley hit the ball onto his pads and it found its way into the keeper’s gloves.
This saw him out for 47, and not long after, Waterworth was following him back to the sheds when Cameron Edson dismissed him for 50.
With Waterworth out, Central started a bit of a fight back when Orson Poole dismissed both Marcus Gill and Ben Trewartha in similar fashion in the same over.
The off-spinner handed Jeremy Edson two simple catches in the gully to leave South 5/119.
Central had taken 3/1, but South then produced another momentum-changing partnership, as Greg Shirley and Todd Kernahan put on 48 crucial runs for the sixth wicket.
Dropped catches were once again an enemy of the Tigers, but some tight bowling at the end of the innings kept South to just 30 runs in the last 10 overs.
Waterworth and Craig Shirley were the stand-out batsmen, while Kernahan’s 30 and Greg Shirley’s 29 were very handy in getting South to their total.
Cameron Edson finished with four wickets and continued his good patch of form, while Nick Wedding was good with the ball, taking 3/46.
Central had a big run chase ahead of them and haven’t been known for making big scores this season.
South had the better start of the two sides, with Aaron Vater and Clayton Parkinson combining to restrict the scoring, and by the eighth over, the game was theirs to lose as Central were 1/9.
The Tigers needed someone to stand up, but no one did. Toby Baxter, Nathan Khan, Lucas Hill, Orson Poole, Jeremy Edson, Brendon Davis and Cameron Edson all fell victim to South’s opening bowlers, as another capitulation left the Tigers 7/38 and with virtually no hope at all.
While it took South 11 overs to take the last three wickets, the win was never in doubt and Central/Stirling were bundled out for just 71.
Vater claimed 4/22 and Parkinson took 3/13, while the rest of the South attack chipped in to take down the Tigers, who put in another disappointing performance leading into finals.
Meanwhile, West Augusta’s finals hopes have been dashed following their Round 14 defeat against second-placed Quorn. The reigning champions were able to chase down the Hawks’ tally of 136 runs in 23 overs.
In the final minor round of the season, wooden-spooners West will take on minor premiers South, while Quorn and Central/Stirling will face off in a preview to the preliminary final.