First Grade exit, but Thirds progress to Grand Final against Manly30-Mar-2015
Easts Dolphins have fallen one game short of a Grand Final appearance, but according to captain Greg Clarence have plenty reason for optimism.
The Dolphins were outplayed by Bankstown in the semi-finals, losing by seven wickets on the first innings.
But after finishes of 20th and 15th place in the preceding two seasons, the climb up to third position in 2014/15 has injected a huge dose of self-belief in the playing group.
“We’ve played finals in all three formats this year and that’s where need to be,” Clarence said.
“Considering we had a slowish start to the season, we’ve done really well collectively to improve.”
“Although obviously disappointing to go out, there’s plenty to look forward to next year.”
After winning the toss on a baron Bankstown wicket, the Dolphins couldn't make use of the conditions and fell to 5-91 at lunch.
Nic Maddinson was the only man to get going in the morning session with 38 in as many balls.
A brilliant innings from Adam Ezekiel helped Easts recover to 7-211 but once he fell for 89, the last three wickets tumbled for seven runs.
With 29 overs still to play, Bankstown reached 0-55, leaving Easts a mountain to climb on the second day.
The Bulldogs reached 127 before the first wicket fell and patiently accumulated the runs to reach their 219-run target.
Third Grade have reached the Grand Final largely thanks to a brilliant batting display from Alex Tunnadine.
Tunnadine scored an unbeaten 148, batting for five hours and facing 279 balls.
That helped Easts post 8-274 before declaring shortly before stumps.
The five over period proved highly fruitful as the Panthers collapsed to 3-10 on the back of fiery spell from Jack Playfair (4-28).
Wickets were harder to come by on the second morning as Penrith reached 4-120 in what seemed batting friendly conditions.
But Angus Palmer (2-28) made4 two quick breakthroughs that broke the back of the Panthers batting and they were eventually dismissed for 198.
The Dolphins were asked to bat again and reached 3-74 when play was called off - with Jack Remond unbeaten on 45.
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