THE race for Warrnambool Under 17 Country Week honours is down to four.
Hamilton, Warrnambool Gold, South West and Warrnambool Blue will play for a grand final berth today.
The top two teams in each pool made the semi-finals.
Hamilton finished atop pool A and will meet second-placed pool B team Warrnambool Gold at Uebergang Oval today.
An important second dig in its day three win helped South West finish on top of the pool B ladder, earning it a semi-final berth against Warrnambool Blue, which finished second in pool A, at Merrivale Oval.
In round three action yesterday, Warrnambool Blue suffered its first loss by one run to undefeated Hamilton at Avery’s Paddock.
Hamilton made 7-172 and breathed a sigh of relief when Warrnambool Blue finished one run short with one wicket in hand.
Tim Goodman top scored for Hamilton with 48.
Warrnambool Blue was in trouble early in reply, struggling at 3-20. Lower-order pair Ben Rantall (57 not out) and Bradley Hunt (27 not out) almost swung the result Warrnambool Blue’s way.
Jack Landwehr (2-9) and Aaron Jenkins (4-34) were Hamilton’s most effective bowlers.
Warrnambool Gold clinched a narrow win against Grassmere, which tipped the loser out of title contention.
Top-order pair James Gow (49) and Dan Clark (62) guided Grassmere to 6-189.
Warrnambool Gold’s Xavier Szegi (4-25) was important with the ball.
The Nathan Murphy-coached Gold side chased down the total in the 48th over with four wickets in hand. It finished on 6-208.
Murphy lamented his side’s fielding performance but was rapt with its solid batting chase.
Nick King (35) and Joe Medew-Ewan (28) made a strong start, Jack Clifford contributed a quick-fire 30 and Justin Fedley (31 not out) and Callum Humphreys (45 not out) put on 75 for the seventh wicket.
Murphy said Gold was capable of advancing to the decider.
“Our batting is good and there is still room to improve with bowling and fielding,” he said.
“We have a good enough side to make the final, it’s a matter of putting it together on the day.”
South West produced a 40-run win against Wimmera-Mallee at Uebergang Oval.
It then went in to bat for a second time in a bid to increase its percentage.
South West made 131 in its first innings and 3-122 off 13 overs in its second.
West Wimmera recorded its first win of the competition, with a three-wicket triumph consigning Portland to another loss.
Portland was restricted to 101 at Walter Oval, with West Wimmera bowlers Tyson Gordon (5-17) and Louis Bothe (3-5) damaging.
West Wimmera’s Shaun Smith made 55 as his side compiled 7-145 in reply.