COLAC District cricketers will vie for Melbourne Country Week glory today.
The representative cricket squad made it three out of three when it defeated Wangaratta in a top-of-the-table clash as part of the state tournament.
The win, at Ormond on Wednesday, booked Colac a spot in the Division Three grand final at Kew today, where it will play either Yarra Valley or Wangaratta, which clashed yesterday.
Colac captain Leighton Hart said finishing in the top two was a deserving result for the talent-laden squad, which has received a spread of contributions during the week.
“I said at the start our goal was to try and make the final and win every game,” he said yesterday.
“Looking at the list, there are some good cricketers in the side, we bat right down and we’ve got some good bowlers.”
The Wangaratta win came on the back of victories against Gisborne and Seymour and was arguably the most impressive of the week.
Colac lost the toss and fielded first, and restricted Wangaratta to 169 from its 50 overs before replying with 5-197.
All six Colac bowlers picked up a wicket, with James Rowan’s 3-32 the pick.
Dale Boyd, a part-timer at Stoneyford, was miserly in his 1-22 from 10 overs, while bowling partner Mark Kent, 2-27, also applied the brakes at a crucial stage.
But the performances of the day came from opener Sam Cardinal, who carried his bat for a chanceless 93.
He teamed with Stewart Sutherland, 54, to rescue Colac from 3-13, and then put on an unbeaten 90 with Nathan McNamara, 38 not out, late in the day.
“He batted really well, he summed up the situation well,” Hart said of Cardinal.
“After about 14 overs we were 3-30. Him and Stewy were batting and they put bad balls away and in the right areas, they really got us going,” he said.
Hart said the squad had approached unfamiliar opposition teams with a positive attitude, and had managed to play itself out of holes.
“The thing is you don’t know anything about these other sides. When you’re batting first you have to try and get in and get a good total,” he said.
“You play as well as you put in, and we’ve got a good side with good players and have played some good cricket.
“The other thing is we’ve bowled really well, that’s made a difference.
“Yesterday I thought we bowled extremely well.”
Colac was poised to suffer its first loss in its day-four clash against Mornington Peninsula at Altona yesterday.
The side was all out 117, with only Stewart Sutherland and Aidan Spence showing any resistance with the bat.
Mornington Peninsula was 3-96 after 26 overs and in control of its run chase.