Great Southern cricket 2017 prelim final preview: Encounter Bay v Willunga

FOUR MORE: Encounter Bay captain Sam Hoffmann punishes the ball through the covers on Saturday in the final against Goolwa on Saturday, March 11.
FOUR MORE: Encounter Bay captain Sam Hoffmann punishes the ball through the covers on Saturday in the final against Goolwa on Saturday, March 11.

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Finals action got underway last weekend in Great Southern cricket as Encounter Bay and Goolwa faced off in the knock out final at Port Elliot Oval, while Noarlunga and Willunga battled it out at Goolwa Oval to progress straight through to the grand final. 

The match at Port Elliot went right down to the wire as Encounter Bay held their nerve in a tight finish to defeat Goolwa by 21 runs in what was an excellent game of cricket. 

After being sent in to bat on day one the Bays compiled a solid total of 6/183 with Sam Hoffmann being the stand out with the bat to top score with 81, while Grenfell (39) offered good support. 

Lawrence (4/47) continued his good form with the ball for Goolwa, while Ashton-Place chipped in with two wickets. Day two saw Goolwa get off to a solid start in their innings thanks to Ward (24) and Ashton-Place (20). 

Goolwa’s skipper Vic Robertson top scored with 49, but when he was dismissed, wickets then continued to fall at regular intervals as the run rate started to climb. The Bays were able to play their way in to this week’s preliminary final.

The match between Noarlunga and Willunga was finely balanced after day one with Noarlunga being bowled out for just 106 against the powerful Demons bowling attack.

Only Peach (21) and Kegel (34) were able to show any resistance with the bat as Goldner (3/42) continued his outstanding form with the ball for the Demons, while S.McIvor (3/43), Elliott (2/1) and McNicol (2/4) all chipped in with the ball.

With 10 overs left in the day McCard was able to pick up the crucial wickets of Harding and Franceschini to leave Willunga at 2/10. This left the game on a knife edge and an exciting day two on the cards. Enter the weather, which denied Willunga a chance to chase down the small total. Day two was washed out without a ball being bowled meaning that Noarlunga now progress straight through to the grand final by virtue of finishing as minor premiers.

This weekend has Willunga take on Encounter Bay at Port Elliot Oval. The Demons would probably be feeling a little hard done by after not getting on to the ground last Sunday and will be very keen to have another crack at Noarlunga in the grand final. Goldner has enjoyed an outstanding season with the ball. The question will be whether the likes of the Hoffmann and Carlyle can take the attack up to them. 

The Bays bowling attack boasts experience with the likes of Moller, Butler and Richie Overall. Their battle particularly with Franceschini, Goldner and Harding will be a ripper and will have a big bearing on the outcome of this match.