Alpine Observer

Bright breaks finals drought

- CRICKET By JUSTIN JENVEY

BRIGHT has won its first Wangaratta and District cricket final since 2010.

The Wanderers secured a thrilling semi- final victory over Benalla Bushranger­s at the Gardens Oval on Sunday, successful­ly defending 137.

Five wickets to Darcy Martin and three to captain Kieren Jamieson led Bright in the field while on the first day Jamieson (33) and Seamus Phillips (49) helped the side recover from a precarious position at 4/35.

Bright will now play Yar- rawonga Mulwala Bulls for a place in the B grade grand final.

Jamieson said it was the team’s best win of the season.

“With only 137 on the board we didn’t have much room for error, we had to bowl tight and back it up in the field and we certainly did that,” he said.

“We knew we needed to get early wickets on Sunday and we were able to do that and then from there took wickets at the right time.

“It was by far our best bowling and fielding performanc­e all season, Darcy’s effort was huge and we only dropped one catch for the day.

“Seamus Phillips played a really important innings on Saturday that allowed us to get to a score we thought we could defend after looking at their (Benalla’s) batting totals for the year.”

After winning the toss and batting Bright were in early trouble losing their two leading batsmen Nick Howden (3) and Dylan Bursill (1) in the first five overs of the day.

From 2/ 13 they then fell to 3/21 after 10 overs as Josh Grundy ( 7) departed while young opener Harry Jamieson stuck around before eventually falling for 17 in the 19th over.

The key partnershi­p between Phillips and Kieren Jamieson followed with the pair adding 77 in 28 overs before both fell in consecutiv­e overs.

Paul Steiner ( 16 not out) tried to push the score beyond 150 but ran out of partners as the Wanderers lost their final four wickets for just 16 runs.

With four overs to bowl on Saturday Bright failed to make a breakthrou­gh before stumps but it wasn’t long into Sunday when they struck.

Jamieson ( 3/ 25) took the big wicket of Leigh Wydeven in just the second over of the day and quickly had another two overs later with Benalla’s score just 14.

Bo Rheese and Steve Pickering steadied things for the Benalla, moving the score onto 45, before Darcy Martin (5/23) ended the stand with the wicket of Pickering for 21.

Steiner then struck from the other end before Martin grabbed his second to have the Bushranger­s on the ropes at 5/47.

Benalla veteran Trevor Saker (42) and Bode Stevens (7) dug in for a stand of 28 but a brilliant direct hit run out from Jamieson turned the match back in Bright’s favour.

Benalla’s seventh wicket partnershi­p took them to the brink of 100 but then Martin snared Bright’s seventh with the score 96.

A double strike by the medium pacer in the 49th over put his side on the verge of victory before Jamieson ended Saker’s resistance in the 53rd over.

The win sets up a preliminar­y final clash with Yarrawonga Mulwala Bulls who topped the competitio­n with a season best 13-1 record.

Bright will be looking for an improved batting performanc­e against the Bulls after being skittled for just 77 when they last met in round 12.

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