Tied thriller to the finals

Dylan Thorley fought hard for Ocean Grove with his innings of 20. 165964 Pictures: JAMIE CULLUM

Collendina has made back-to-back A Grade finals after a pulsating finish to its semi-final with cross-town rivals Ocean Grove produced a tied thriller.
Chasing 165 for victory, Collendina got a fright on day two as Ocean Grove claimed three for none, which saw the Cobras stumble to 9-164 from 62.1 overs in one of the most exciting conclusions to a BPCA match in recent years.
“We felt their (Collendina) middle order and tail hadn’t been really challenged all year and that we were a genuine chance to restrict them,” Ocean Grove coach Paul Jubber said.
When Collendina last wicket pair Dean Britt and Jye Hearps scored a single to tie the game for the higher ranked Cobras, tensions erupted and reached boiling point between the feisty neighbouring teams.
Hearps ran from ground to celebrate the tied result and the Ocean Grove players viewed it as an opportunity for a run out dismissal, though the umpires confirmed it was a dead ball once Hearps left his crease.
Cobra coach Corey Walter admits his heart was racing in the final overs and recalled his side’s devastating one-run lost to Ocean Grove in January 2015.
“I felt sick as soon as I went out,” said Walter, who made 41.
“I knew it was coming to down to the wire – it always does in semi-finals.
“Against Ocean Grove I remember the exact game a couple of years ago at Ocean Grove where we lost by one run and I felt sick the whole time.”
The Cobras had contributions from a mature Guy O’Keefe (32) and all-rounder Andy Higgins (24).
An inspired spell from Grubber leg-spinner Thomas Kent (5-15) who claimed a five-wicket haul from eight overs, saw Ocean Grove almost grab victory in the dying moments.
Jubber said despite the outcome he could not question the Grubbers’ commitment.
“The boys are shattered,” he said.
“They came so close and their effort and determination since just after Christmas has been unquestionable.”
Earlier on day one Ocean Grove compiled 9-164 from 75 overs.
Cobra bowlers Charlie Lamb (2-51), Andy Higgins (2-46) and Dean Britt (2-23) all grabbed two wickets.
Collendina put the brakes on Ocean Grove at tea after the Grubbers were 2-69 after 41 overs.
Ocean Grove batsman Michael Kenneady (34) top scored for the visitors.
Jubber (25) accelerated the run rate batting at number three, while opener Dylan Thorley made a patient 20, Issac Saunders chimed in with 21 and Dan Roddis was 25 not out.
The Cobras will now meet Barwon Heads in the BPCA A Grade grand final this Saturday.
The Seagulls defeated Jan Juc by 60 runs in their semi-final clash on Sunday 12 March.
Collendina defeated Barwon Heads by nine wickets in round four in December, which was the Seagulls last defeat.
“They (Collendina) are a strong outfit and will be hard to beat next week,” Jubber said.
Last season, the Cobras lost to Anglesea in the A Grade decider.