READ MORE - Last week's day one wrap
STRATHFIELDSAYE is headed to the BDCA finals after knocking Kangaroo Flat out of the top four on Saturday's last day of the home and away season.
The Jets had started the final round in fifth position, but their win over Golden Square, coupled with losses to Kangaroo Flat and White Hills, elevated Strathfieldsaye into third position.
With two finals berths still up for grabs going into Saturday's play, it was White Hills that secured the other, despite losing to Huntly-North Epsom by nine runs.
With the home and away season now done and dusted, next weekend's semi-finals will feature minor premier Strathdale-Maristians taking on White Hills and defending premier Huntly-North Epsom clashing with Strathfieldsaye.
At Wade Street, Strathfieldsaye went into the day defending 170 and needing to not only win, but rely on either Kangaroo Flat or White Hills losing to finish in the four.
And in what became a finish to savour for Strathfieldsaye, at around 4.40pm with the first ball after learning Kangaroo Flat had lost to Eaglehawk, Chathura Damith (3-26) took the match-winning wicket for the Jets when he bowled Jamie Bysouth (0).
Kangaroo Flat's defeat also opened the door for Golden Square to potentially push its way into the top four if it could win and boost its percentage, but the Bulldogs could muster just 99, including losing their last three wickets for no runs.
Square also batted one short after veteran Grant Connelly suffered a broken collarbone fielding the week before.
Strathfieldsaye had hovered between fifth and seventh for the past eight rounds, but after winning back-to-back games for the first time this season - they beat Bendigo United the previous round - the Jets are finals-bound for the first time since 2015.
"It was a bit of a funny situation coming into today with all the different scenarios at play, but we just had to worry about what we were doing and that was to win the game," Strathfieldsaye captain Ben Devanny said.
"The boys are obviously rapt to have got through and we'll look forward to next week."
Once the Jets had their finals position assured, they then had to wait 90 minutes on the outcome of the Huntly-North Epsom v White Hills game to find out if they would be finishing third or fourth and who they'd be playing next week.
"There has obviously been two clear standout sides (Strathdale and Huntly-North) and we're just looking forward to playing either of them," Devanny said while the Jets' semi-final opponent, which is the Power, was still to be decided.
Golden Square's innings lasted less than 50 overs, with the Bulldogs at one stage 6-49 before a 50-run stand between Scott Johnson (36) and Callum Tibbett (26) for the seventh wicket.
However, when Savith Priyan (4-13) broke that partnership by bowling Tibbett, the end came quickly for the Bulldogs.
Spinner Priyan's four-for secured him the BDCA's bowling aggregate with 35 wickets.
The Sri Lankan is the first Strathfieldsaye player to win the BDCA's bowling aggregate since Terry Scullie took 30 wickets in 1998-99.
Apart from Johnson and Tibbett, the only other Golden Square player to reach double figures was opener Ryan Hartley (15), who ended the season as the Bulldogs' leading run-scorer with 548.
EAGLEHAWK v KANGAROO FLAT
Eaglehawk ended its season on a high, while Kangaroo Flat's finished with bitter disappointment.
The biggest query over the Roos in recent years has been their batting and, ultimately, that's what cost them the chance of playing finals after they were unable to chase Eaglehawk's 152 at Canterbury Park.
With their finals destiny in their own hands, the Roos looked well on track to their target when - after starting the day at a dicey 2-10 - the experienced pair of Matt Dwyer and Josh Collinson had pushed the score along to 87 without further loss.
However, with the momentum against them the plucky Hawks hit back, taking 4-2 as the Roos slumped from 2-87 to 6-89 when Collinson (26), Dylan Gibson (0), debutant Ryan Harling (0) and top-scorer Dwyer (58) all fell in quick succession.
And from there the Hawks could sense an upset, while the pressure continued to mount on Kangaroo Flat given the strong position Strathfieldsaye was in over at Wade Street had the Roos batting to save their season.
But the Hawks never let up, bowling the Roos out for 145 to close out a season of rebuilding with back-to-back wins over White Hills and Kangaroo Flat after they had previously been sitting on the bottom of the ladder.
Nick Farley (3-34), Aaron Monro (2-48) and Rhys Smith (2-14) each took multiple wickets for the Hawks, who end the season with four wins and showed tremendous resilience to fight back with not only the ball on Saturday when the Roos held the upper hand at 2-87, but also with the bat last week when they had been 7-54.
As for the Roos, they are left to lament a missed opportunity given their form in the back half of the season - they had won four of their previous five games - with their squandering of fourth position at the last hurdle a huge disappointment for a club that has only played first XI finals once in the past 12 seasons.
HUNTLY-NORTH EPSOM v WHITE HILLS
White Hills slipped from third to fourth after losing by nine runs to Huntly-North Epsom.
The Power - whose win was headlined by a seven-wicket haul to Lewis Stabler - remained undefeated at Strauch Reserve this season with a successful defence of their 173 as they bowled the Demons out for 164.
Left-armer Stabler was brilliant with the ball for the Power and was rewarded for his 28 overs of toil with 7-61.
Stabler's seven-wicket haul - which took him to 32 in his debut BDCA season - featured four caught, including three by wicket-keeper Ajith Rajapaksha, two bowled and one lbw.
The Power's other three wickets were taken by Adam Ward (3-55), with he and Stabler combining to bowl 59.1 overs.
Demons' skipper Mitch Winter-Irving played a lone hand with the bat, scoring 90 of White Hills' 164 runs.
Winter-Irving batted for 276 minutes and faced 215 balls and looked set to carry his bat before he was the ninth wicket to fall when given out lbw to Stabler.
STRATHDALE-MARISTIANS v SANHURST
Strathdale-Maristians warmed up for its 15th-consecutive finals appearance with a 243-run smacking of Sandhurst at Bell Oval.
The Dragons didn't get anywhere near the 178 made by Ben DeAraugo last week, let alone the Suns' 8-355, as they were bowled out in the 45th over for 112.
The Suns' Sam Bates made the most of his elevation to the first XI in the absence of Chris Sole, opening the bowling and taking 4-26 off 11 overs - one of his scalps a superb stumping by wicket-keeper Linton Jacobs to dismiss Will Gadsden (7).
Coming off scores of 97 and 109 n.o. in his previous two innings, Sandhurst opener Shasheen Fernando was the third wicket to fall for 19 when caught by Sam Johnston off Jacob DeAraugo (1-25).
Leg-spinner Cameron Taylor's 2-20 off 12 overs gave him 31 wickets for the home and away season to go with his 906 runs.
Only captain Taylor Beard (33) made more than 20 for the Dragons, who end the season ninth with just three wins and have now missed the finals two years in a row following their drought-breaking 2018 premiership.
The victory secured Strathdale-Maristians pole position for the finals in what is the sixth time in the past nine seasons the Suns have finished on top.
BENDIGO UNITED v BENDIGO
Bendigo United veteran Leigh McDermott ended his career with a farewell century, but it wasn't enough to get the Redbacks over the line against Bendigo at Harry Trott Oval.
Chasing the Goers' 226, the Redbacks, who have claimed a third-consecutive wooden spoon, were bowled out for 211 after fighting their way back from 6-53.
McDermott - who first played with the Redbacks in 2004-05 - bowed out in style with his 100 on Saturday following his 4-57 with the ball on day one.
McDermott's ton was his fourth for the Redbacks, with his innings ending when he was caught and bowled by the game's other all-rounder who made a ton and took four wickets - Kyle Humphrys.
Humphrys followed up his 119 last week with 4-74 off 28 overs as the Goers - who finished seventh - won for the first time since the mid-season break.
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