AN unbeaten century from Jono Davidson yesterday guided Strathdale-Maristians into another Bendigo District Cricket Association grand final.
Chasing Huntly-North Bendigo’s 6-244 at Bell Oval, Davidson’s 120 not out helped the Suns to 3-248 and to a seven-wicket semi-final victory.
Davidson started his innings in the seventh over after the lbw dismissal of the returning Travis King (2 off 16) with the score on nine and he was still at the crease four hours later when the winning runs were hit.
The 21-year-old was in control all through his innings, which lasted 212 balls and was laced with 15 boundaries and two sixes.
It was his third first XI century for the Suns as he took his tally of runs for the season to 589 at an average of 53.5.
Also batting well for the Suns in the win was the competition’s leading run-scorer, Cameron Taylor, who put on 112 for the second wicket with Davidson.
Taylor passed 50 for the seventh time in 15 innings this season in making 65 off 132 balls.
However, Taylor’s innings came to an end four balls before the tea break when he was sensationally caught one-handed by a diving Brannon Stanford at gully off Sam Johnston.
Taylor hit six boundaries during his innings, with his dismissal leaving the Suns 2-121 at the interval.
The only other wicket to fall was that of Andrew Chalkley, who has found the going tough since scoring his maiden century against Bendigo in round 12.
Chalkley spent 53 balls at the crease in making 25 before he became Johnston’s third wicket when given out lbw with the score at 201.
Davidson and Dom Taylor (19 n.o. off 35) then finished the job for the Suns, who passed their target in the 75th over to set up a grand final against Bendigo United for the third year in a row.
Johnston was the only wicket-taker for the Power as he finished with 3-75 off 29 overs, completing a fine season in which he took 37 wickets.
On Saturday after winning the toss and batting in its maiden final, brothers Linc and Brodie McRae with a 137-run partnership for the second wicket were the backbone of Huntly-North Bendigo’s 6-244.
Their partnership started in the seventh over after Brett Elvey (0 off 18) was caught at second slip by King off Braden Hocking (0-16) with the score on 12.
Linc was given an early life when dropped on two low to the ground at slip by Dom Taylor off Hocking, and it wouldn’t be the last good fortune he had during his innings.
At tea the McRaes were still at the crease as they took the score to 1-79 off 42 overs.
However, the pair had to work hard for their runs in the last 40 minutes before tea, with spinners Craig Howard and Dom Taylor (0-17 off 13) bowling the last 13 overs before the break and conceding just seven runs.
Their partnership lasted into the 66th over before Brodie was dismissed after being brilliantly caught by a diving Dom Taylor at mid-wicket for 58 off 176 (four fours, two sixes), leaving the score 2-149.
Earlier, Brodie had been given a life when dropped by Suns’ keeper Linton Jacobs off Ryan Haythorpe (0-20) while he was 19 and the score was 57. He was also dropped at deep mid-wicket by Chalkley on 55, but was dismissed soon after.
Linc’s superb captain’s innings came to an end in the 75th over for an even 100 – his second century of the season – when he was adjudged lbw to Howard with the score 181.
Linc’s 100, which took his tally of runs for the season to 574, came off 240 balls in 246 minutes, and included 12 boundaries and one six, while he also worked the ball around for 31 singles.
It was McRae’s day as not only was he dropped twice – by Dom Taylor on 2 and Howard on 95 – he was also dismissed twice on a no-ball – caught by Cameron Taylor at point off Jacob DeAraugo (0-11) on 43 and bowled by Ben DeAraugo on 54.
Josh Collinson chipped in with 24 off 37 for the Power, while Ryan Grundy batted well late to finish unbeaten on 24 off 13 balls.
Ben DeAraugo (3-55) was the leading wicket-taker for the Suns, while veteran Howard finished with 2-79 off 22 overs.
● At Harry Trott Oval, Bendigo United defeated Golden Square by six wickets after a successful run-chase yesterday.
Golden Square’s innings ended in the 82nd over on Saturday after losing 5-27 to be bowled out for 199.
Bendigo United captain Leigh McDermott led the Redbacks superbly with the ball as he returned career-best figures of 6-30 off 16 overs.
McDermott picked up the wickets of openers Scott Johnson (5 off 60) and Alex Code (23 off 69), Max Grant (20 off 49), Scott Trollope (16 off 23), Jamie Fitzgibbon (3 off 11) and Luke Baird (7 off 12).
Golden Square had been 5-172 in the 66th over, but when Grant was caught by wicket-keeper Harry Donegan – who was involved in four dismissals for the day – off McDermott, it sparked a collapse in which Square lost its last five wickets for just 27 runs and was bowled out with 18 balls still left in its innings.
Earlier, the Redbacks tested the patience of openers Johnson and Code by bowling wide of the off-stump.
The pair negotiated the first hour, before Johnson – who didn’t score off the last 46 balls he faced – left a McDermott delivery that nipped back and bowled him with the score on 26 in the 19th over.
Code fell four overs later when he was caught by Patrick Naughtin off McDermott at point, leaving the score 2-31.
By tea David Hickman and Jason Johnson had taken the score to 2-79 off 42 overs – 18 of which had been maidens.
They put on 67 for the third wicket, with the stand ending when Johnson (38 off 75) was sharply caught by Nick Crawford at square leg off Miggy Podosky (2-51), having just hit the previous two deliveries for four.
Hickman worked his way to 42 off 104 balls (six fours) before he played a rare rash shot when he tried to hit over the top and was caught by Wayne Fidler at cover off Podosky to make the score 4-127 in the 56th over.
Last time these two sides met in a semi-final Golden Square captain Grant Connelly made a century, but this time he got to 31 off 57 before he was trapped lbw by Naughtin (1-19) as Square fell to 5-156 and the Redbacks took control of the remainder of the day.
Yesterday, Bendigo United took until the 79th over to reach 4-200.
Like the previous day, it had been slow going early as Bendigo United openers Fidler and Mark Di Fede scored just 41 runs off the first 30 overs.
The openers put on 57 for the first wicket, before Di Fede (29 off 104) was the first dismissed in the 34th over when out lbw to Hickman.
Di Fede had survived a confident caught behind appeal earlier in his innings.
Fidler (27 off 105) was dismissed two overs later with five more runs added to the score when he was run out by a sensational throw from the boundary from Fitzgibbon attempting a third run.
However, Bendigo United only lost two more wickets for the remainder of the innings as Heath Behrens, Donegan and Crawford all played their parts with the bat.
Behrens top-scored with 55 off 127 balls (five fours, one six), but was bowled by Hickman in the 75th over with the Redbacks still 27 runs shy of victory.
Earlier, Behrens had put on 56 for the third wicket with Donegan (29 off 64).
Crawford finished unbeaten with a crisp 39 off 59 balls, sharing in a quickfire unbroken partnership of 27 off 25 balls for the fifth wicket with man-of-the-match McDermott (8 n.o. off 13).
The Redbacks secured the win courtesy of an overthrow with six overs to spare.
Hickman was the only bowler to take a wicket for Golden Square, finishing with 3-67 off 22 overs, while opening bowler James Pietromonaco was economical, conceding just 31 runs off 22 overs, including 11 maidens.