AN inspirational spell of bowling by veteran Terry Beks resusciatated Dennington’s hopes of a Warrnambool and District Cricket Association grand final victory over Merrivale yesterday.
Beks took 5-11 off 16.1 consecutive overs before breaking down with a calf injury as Dennington changed the momentum of the match at Merrivale Recreation Reserve.
After Merrivale opener Josh Stapleton (69) ignited the Tigers’ innings which was delayed by 24 hours because of rain on Saturday, Beks and Mick Howley (0-27 off 14 overs) reined in the runs.
When Stapleton was out with the score at 3-92 off 31 overs, the Tigers were eyeing a score of 200.
But Beks and Howley bowled unchanged after tea for 31 overs, strangling the scoring with the Tigers losing 7-61 in 43 overs to be all out for 153.
At stumps, after facing a firery three-over spell by a pumped up Adam Melville, Dennington was 0-3, with the honours shared.
Dennington skipper Dustin Drew hailed 47-year-old Beks’ effort.
“He just stands up in big games,” he said.
“He just never gives up.”
Drew said he hoped his side didn’t have to bowl again next week but predicted Beks would be right to bat if needed in the chase.
He said the game was “even” after Merrivale through Stapleton made a good start.
“They were 3-108 and all out for 153.”
He said the Dogs had seized the momentum through Beks and maintained it by not losing a wicket before stumps with Peter Shepherd elevated to open with Howley, leaving Drew to bat at number three next Saturday.
Merrivale skipper Michael Walsh said he had mixed emotions about the day’s play.
“We were in front, then even,” he said.
“We had a good start and then we blew it, we should have got 200.
“It would have been nice to get a wicket tonight.
“But it (the score) is over that psychological mark of 150.”
Walsh said his side had failed to build on a good platform of 3-104 at tea through a combination of poor shots and tight bowling.
“We’ve just got to get some early wickets next week.”
He said the score of 153 was worth more after Saturday’s rain slowed the lush outfield.
But he said the moisture had not impacted on the pitch.
The Tigers successfully defended 146 last week in a tense semi-final win over defending premier West Warrnambool — a fact not lost on the Tigers’ camp.
In the division two grand final between Merrivale and Woodford at Davidson Oval, Merrivale, thanks to veteran Bill Fary (62) and Shane Cassidy (32), made 171 before being dismissed in the last over of the day. That match was also delayed by 24 hours, meaning both matches will climax on Saturday.