Last minute shuffle
Alast-minute shuffle of the top order in Grampians Cricket Association led to Aradale being bundled out of the finals and Youth Club marching in due to an outright win over Pomonal.
In other developments Buangor grabbed second spot and Tatyoon slipped to third.
Youth Club gained its expected outright win against Pomonal by dismissing the Tigers for just 61 in the second innings.
This came thanks to a match winning 6-22 from Cam Kimber, figures that went with his 5-21 in the first innings.
Buangor did Youth Club a favour by downing Aradale by 91 runs.
Again Lachie Oddie and Chris Jerram took the bulk of the wickets, capturing six between them.
The outstanding effort of the contest was young Riley Wood’s maiden century, scoring 117 of 184 with the next highest score being 19 extras.
Halls Gap finished a poor season with another loss, this time to Navarre.
Les Pyke took his score to 48 to be the only batsman to deal with the Grasshoppers’ attack of Brad Slorach and Andrew Shovan.
Slorach’s 6-39 was his best return for the season.
In the battle for top spot, Tatyoon was saved from a pre-final defeat by the weather, which made play impossible on the day.
In semi-finals on Saturday and Sunday, top team Swifts-great Western will play fourth-placed Youth Club at Stawell’s Central Park.
Second-placed Buangor will play third-placed Tatyoon at Alexandra Oval in Ararat.
Swifts-great Western will go into its semi-final as warm favourite, having comfortably defeated the Clubbers on the two occasions they have met this season.
But a word of warning for the top team – the Clubbers’ bowlers have performed in recent games with Cam Kimber and Damon Folkes among the wickets.
If the Clubbers’ batsmen can give them a few runs, the bowlers might just get them the win.
But Youth Club is up against the team that has scored the most runs for the season.
The Combine’s batsmen have all scored runs at some time during the season, and with the memory of last season’s shock semi-final loss spurring them on, should post more runs than the Clubbers. In the match at Ararat, Buangor will go into the game with the advantage of having played the last four games on the turf at Alexandra Oval.
Buangor’s form has been better of late than earlier in the season, with spinners Lachie Oddie and Chris Jerram taking the bulk of the wickets in recent matches.
So if Callum Baker and Jack Ganley can take early wickets, Buangor would be well on the way to a win.
Tatyoon’s batting is somewhat brittle, the team leaving the bulk of run-scoring to Jarrod Blandford and Michael Harricks.
Buangor also has a larger spread of potential match-winners in Jerram, Jacob Bates, the Fraser brothers and Ganley.
A win by either team would not surprise, but Buangor might have the edge.
In B Grade semi-finals, Swiftsgreat Western will play Youth Club, a mirror of the A Grade, and Chalambar will play St Andrews. Final A Grade ladder: SwiftsGreat Western 58 points, 1.89 percent; Buangor 54, 1.71; Tatyoon 53, 1.42; Youth Club 47, 1.49; Aradale 46, 1.24; Pomonal 28, 0.82; Navarre 18, 0.50; Halls Gap 0, 0.28.