By Tara Murray
Rivergum has pulled off a massive win against Rosebank in the North Metro Cricket Association Jika Shield to win through to a ninth straight grand final.
Chasing 187, the Kookas looked gone twice in the run chase but were able to respond to take the game down to the final overs.
A six to Kyl Ewart in the third last over would get the Kookas over the line, finishing 7-188.
Kookas captain-coach Matt Perri said it was quite nerve-racking in the end.
“They were taking ages to bowl their overs,” he said.
“We wanted to take it as deep as possible which we were able to do. I was stressing out a bit.
“I’m super proud of the boys and their never-die attitude.”
Rosebank, after winning the toss and electing to bat, fought its way to 8-187 off their 80 overs.
Perri said pre match he would have taken that score, but was slightly disappointed in the end.
“After having them at 5-49 we let them get away,” he said.
“They grind and grind and then try and defend it in the field. “We had them on the ropes early on.”
Ewart and Jarrod Bannister took three wickets each for the Kookas.
Rivergum wanted to get off to a good start on day two, but at 4-20 making 188 seemed a long way away.
The Kookas kept fighting and won with 12 balls remaining. Perri said the strength of their batting line was on show.
“We put Daniel Young up the order and it lengthened our batting order,” he said. “Even our number 10 and 11 can bat.
“We had two partnerships of 80 which were the key.
“Jarrod Bannister and James Bonnici put on 80 before we lost three quick wickets to be 7-119.
“Kyl and Corey [Atlis] then kept on batting and batting. It’s pretty exciting.”
Ewart’s final ball six also brought up his 50. Bannister earlier made 43. Ewart, Atlis and Bannister had earlier bowled 60 overs between them on day one.
The win puts the Kookas through to a ninth straight grand final.
Either Rosebank, who they’ve played in the past seven grand finals, or the Cobras will be their opponent.
The Cobras beat Preston YCW District in the other semi-final to win through to the preliminary final.
Perri said the win would give them confidence heading into the grand final, knowing they had chased down a good total and got the victory.
Perri said it’s amazing to look back and see the run they’ve had in recent years.
For Perri, in his first year as coach, he’s proud of what the club has produced so far.
It was a big weekend for Rivergum with five sides winning through to grand finals.
Joining the first XI in a grand final is the second and fourth XIs, and the under-12s and under-14s.produced so far.