MACQUARIE Hotel and Wauchope RSL are on track to meet in this year’s Hastings River District Cricket Association first grade grand final.
But standing in the way will be Port Pirates despite Macquarie easily accounting for them at Wayne Richards Park on Saturday.
Wauchope had to work for their first innings points at Oxley Oval against a dogged Port City Leagues Magpies side who dug in for most of the day.
Leagues were eventually dismissed for 203 in pursuit of Wauchope’s 209.
In his first season as first grade captain, Leagues skipper Kyle Bray said it had been challenging.
“There’s no doubt about that, but I’ve enjoyed it,” he said.
Bray said middle-order batsman Dylan Lewis was one of the most improved performers in his side this season.
“He’s improved the most,” he said.
“It’s because he’s been spending some time in the middle.”
Lewis topscored for Leagues on Saturday with 60.
“He only got dropped once and he’s one of the blokes who has gotten an opportunity for us and will be better for it.”
While disappointed to end the season with a loss, Bray was looking forward to what his side could do in 2017/18.
“Everyone is starting to get used to first grade,” he said.
“There’s a bit of a difference from first grade to second grade and everyone is realising that.”
Meanwhile, Macquarie continued their smooth passage to the grand final with an innings defeat of Port Pirates at Wayne Richards Park.
Macquarie won by an innings and 100 runs as Brendan Badenoch skittled the Pirates, taking 6-35 as they were rolled for 105.
Captain Josh Hyde (104) scored his second century in as many weeks as Macquarie declared their first innings closed at 8-282.
Adrian Sippel (54) provided able support before Michael Pelley (26 not out) gained some valuable time in the middle.
“We did what we needed to do and that goal we set was to achieve an outright result which is what we did,” Hyde said.
“To still put another 90 on with the bat when the deck was a lot tougher to bat on than last week was really pleasing.”
Hyde was pleased to see Badenoch in amongst the wickets again.
“He had a couple of chances that were put down so he easily could have had eight-fa.”
Macquarie don’t mind who they play in the grand final, although Hyde said they hadn’t completed a full game against Wauchope this season.
“The last time that was meant to happen it was too hot,” he said.
“Every time you play in a grand final you always want to beat the best.”