A clinical Coolac have demonstrated why they are the seven-time Elders Cup defending champions after a 111-run semi final win over Tumut Plains at Stan Crowe Oval on Saturday.
The dominant result came on the back of a match-defining 74 runs scored by James Scott, who held the Coolac innings together after his side was reeling at 3-24 when he came to the crease.
Still, it could have been a very different story, with Scott dropped on single figures during a time of the match that Tumut Plains were seemingly on top.
Tumut Plains president Kevin Keogh described the games-changing moment.
“We had them absolutely reeling at 4-30 odd,” Keogh said.
“If the catch was taken, we could have potentially had them out for 100 or less and won the game but that’s just cricket.”
Keogh did congratulate Coolac on the win though, explaining that their class shone through in the Elders Cup preliminary final.
“They were just too good, “Keogh said.
“Tim Graham and Rob Barron were just unbelievable with the ball; they just consistently had the ball in the right spot.”
The toss also proved to be a telling factor, with Tim Graham winning the coin flip and sending his team into bat.
“The toss was important, they were able to put on nearly 200 and once the pitch dried up, it was hard to bat,” Keogh said.
“At the end of the day, they were just too good.”
Plains were travelling along very well early on, when Scott Cooper removed Andrew Keatinge for a third over duck.
Keatinge had faced 10 of Cooper’s balls without scoring before he eventually played at a shot, only to be caught by Luke Armstrong, leaving Coolac at 1/4.
Shortly after the first wicket, Mitch Henman had the second wicket of the game when he removed Adam Graham for just seven runs, after brother Myles Henman caught him.
Mitch Henman broke through again, this time removing Luke Graham when Cooper caught him on 14 runs, leaving Coolac at 3/24 after in the 10th over of the match.
Tim Graham was the next man in and the Elders Cup leading run scorer didn’t offer much after Stephen Gill took a screamer to remove him off the bowling off Mitch Henman; Coolac were now 4/40.
Unfortunately, Gill would turn from hero to villain only moments later when he dropped James Scott, a telling mistake in the context of the overall result.
Scott and Rob Barron combined for an important 56 runs before the later of the two was run out by Cooper on 23 runs, leaving Coolac at 5/96.
Joe Scott joined brother James for a game-defining 46-run partnership before Joe Scott was out on 29, caught by Daniel Thomas off Gill’s bowling, leaving Coolac at 6/142 at the end of the 32nd over.
Mark Sharman came to the crease and chipped in for 16 runs before being caught by Glenn Appleby off Thomas’s bowling.
Soon after, Gill had his man when he removed Scott for 74, when Cooper caught him; Coolac were now 8/171 in the 38th over.
Coolac were able to pile on the runs in the final three overs though, getting their score to 9/198 with Anthony Nicholls finishing on 17 not out.
The Tumut Plains run chase just never got going, with the Stan Crowe Oval turf offering the Coolac bowlers enough to keep the Tumut side under 100.
Shawcross, who surprisingly opened the bowling for Coolac, struck first when Nick West was out for a duck after Sharman caught him, leaving Plains at 1/2.
Glenn Appleby joined Scott Manual at the crease but he could only score 11 runs before Shawcross caught him off the bowling of Barron and Plains were now 2/17.
Two overs later Barron had his second wicket when Manual was out for six after Sharman caught him and Plains were in trouble at 3/21 in the 11th over.
Stephen Gill and Luke Armstrong were able to offer some resistance, putting on 32 runs for the fourth wicket and getting Plains back in the match, only until Brad Gorman was introduced to the Coolac attack.
Gorman first removed Gill on 22 when Tim Graham caught him out before he bowled Armstrong on 24, leaving Plains at 5/66 at the end of the 23rd over.
Tim Graham then turned into the destroyer for Coolac, bowling Dan Thomas on two runs before removing reigning cricketer of the year Matt Sturt for a two-ball duck after he was trapped in front.
Tim Graham had his third wicket of the innings when Luke Graham caught Scott Cooper on two runs and Plains were in real strife at 8/77 in the 29th over.
Kevin Keogh was the next man out when he was caught on five runs by James Scott of Shawcross’ bowling.
Shawcross sealed the Coolac win, when he had Lachlan Breed out on six runs after Barron caught him.
The empathic Coolac victory will no doubt send a strong message to Wyangle ahead of Saturday’s Elders Cup final at Bull Paddock.
Plains on the other hand will be left to rue a missed opportunity that will hopefully act as motivation for the 2020/21 Elders Cup competition.
A. Keatinge, c L. Armstrong, b S. Cooper 0
A. Graham, c Myles Henman, b Mitch Henman 7
L. Graham, c S. Cooper, b Mitch Henman 14
T. Graham, c S. Gill, b Mitch Henman 2
James Scott, c S. Cooper, b S. Gill 74
R. Barron, run out S. Cooper 23
Joe Scott, c D. Thomas, b S. Gill 29
M. Sharman, c G. Appleby, b D. Thomas 16
A. Nicholls, not out 17
Duane Shawcross, c L. Breed, b S. Gill 4
B. Gorman, not out 0
Bowling: S. Cooper 6-2-1-21, Mitch Henman 8-3-3-41, M.Sturt 10-1-0-48, D. Thomas 10-2-2-46, S Gill 6-0-3-39.
S. Manual, c M. Sharman, b R. Barron 6
N. West, c M. Sharman, b D. Shawcross 0
G Appleby, c D. Shawcross, b R. Barron 11
S. Gill, c T. Graham b B. Gorman 22
L. Armstrong, b B. Gorman 24
K. Keogh, c James Scott, b D. Shawcross 5
D. Thomas, b T. Graham 2
M. Sturt, lbw M. Sturt 0
Myles Henman, not out 5
S. Cooper, c L. Graham, b T. Graham 2
L. Breed, c R. Barron, b D.Shawcross 6
Bowling: R. Barron 7-0-2-22, D. Shawcross 9-2-3-21, B. Gorman 7-1-2-22, T. Graham 7-1-3-15, James Scott 1-0-0-2.
Coolac won by 111