Fourth Grade through to the Grand Final31-Mar-2014
Fourth Grade have qualified for the Grand Final after a thumping outright victory over Parramatta in the semi-final at Waverley Oval.
The win was built on a terrific first innings all-round performance from Chris Hulston, who took three wickets and scored 54 runs, which helped set-up the 10-wicket win.
Tim Brown again won the toss and sent Parramatta in after heavy rain during the week left the Waverley wicket a little tacky.
The move paid immediate dividends with Matt Tupper (3-32) returning from injury to pick up the first three wickets.
Hulston then got in on the act to snare three of his own and the Dolphins had gained the ascendancy with Parramatta 6-70 at lunch.
After the break, a 47-run partnership threatened to rescue the visitors but two calamitous run outs and two wickets to skipper Tim Brown (2-23) finished the innings on 114.
The Easts chase wobbled early with Sam Pointer run out without facing a ball and Jack Remond falling cheaply as the Dolphins slumped to 2-15. A steady 47 from Alex Brooks and quickfire 24 from Angas MacDonald got the total within reach but their dismissals in consecutive overs made for a nervous afternoon.
Easts were 6-96, but Hulston and Alistair Shackman (26) took the Dolphins ahead on first innings and to stumps at 6-178.
The task for Easts was simple on day two – bat for a session and the game was done.
But Browny didn’t get it that easy with Shackers dismissed on the first ball of the day and then two more wickets brought Parramatta back in to the game.
A 20 run partnership for the last wicket lifted Easts lead to 89 with 91 overs left.
Parramatta’s second innings never got going, Tim Brown took four second innings wickets to dismiss them for 108.
Perhaps most impressive was the wicketkeeping of Shackman, who completed three very sharp stumpings.
Easts were left 20 runs to win, which they knocked off in four overs without the loss of a wicket.
The Dolphins will play Manly in the decider at North Sydney Oval, with Easts the top ranked team.
It's the first Grand Final Easts have made since the 2011/12 season when Michael Procajlo's 5th Grade side lost out to Manly.
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