Huntly North-Epsom kept hopes of consecutive finals appearances alive as it beat Sandhurst by three runs in the Bendigo District Cricket Association’s first XI match on Saturday.
After being sent in, the Power was 2-9 after the in-form Quinton Bentley made the early breakthroughs.
An unbeaten century by Brodie McRae, which featured a third-wicket stand of 119 with Josh Collinson pushed Power’s score along.
McRae, who finished on 105 not out, and all-rounder Sam Johnston, 49 not out, added 88 to reach 4-228 on the Dragons’ turf at J.L. King Weereoona Oval.
Sandhurst’s chase was led by captain and opening batsman Nick Scullie, 48.
At 6-114, Sandhurst’s hopes looked gone, but Matthew Pask, 63 not out, and Bentley, 20 teamed for 79-run stand.
Pask and Eli Bowe joined forces for the last wicket, with the Dragons still needing 15 to win.
Johnston bowled Bowe on the second-last ball of the 45th over to clinch victory for the Power.
Power’s attack was led by Johnston, 2-32; Billy Evans, 2-24; captain Linc McRae, 2-25; and Brett Elvey, 2-29.
It was a dramatic finish not far from Weeroona Oval when White Hills and Bendigo tied their clash on the Demons’ turf at Integrating Technology Oval in Scott Street.
Both teams were desperate having had just one win apiece in the opening eight rounds.
After deciding to bat, White Hills was dismissed for 115 in the 43rd over.
Leading batsmen for the Hillies were Sam Stagg, 20; stand-in captain Rhys Irwin, 19; and Nicholas Wharton, 17.
After a century in the morning’s under-17 match, Brayden Stepien opened the batting for White Hills and scored 14.
Best of the Bendigo attack was veteran Mark Ryan, 3-12; captain Marcus McKern, 2-17; and Alex Pearson, 2-26.
With the score on 2-61, Bendigo lost 4-0 as Irwin captured three wickets and Nicholas Wharton took the other as the Demons turned up the heat.
Bendigo fought back through the play of youngsters Alex Pearson, 16 runs; and Mitchell Blackman, 18 not out.
Bendigo needed two runs to win from the final ball bowled by Brayden Klemke.
Liam Gaskell under edged the ball along the ground, but the keeper’s throw at the stumps missed and Gaskell and Blackman sprinted for a run to tie the match.