A FINAL round thrashing of East Warrnambool has allowed West Warrnambool to leapfrog Woodford to claim third spot and a Warrnambool and District Cricket Association finals berth.
The Panthers continued where they left off the previous week, quickly claiming the final four wickets to claim outright victory, with English import Jack Sunderland again the star.
Sunderland finished the match with figures of 11-37, claiming four wickets in the second innings to go with his seven first-innings scalps. He also finished unbeaten on 15 with the bat at the conclusion of play on Saturday.
Panthers captain Alastair Templeton was happy with his team’s ability to reset after a week off and the win in the bag.
“It was good to hit the ground running yesterday and get into the game after a good performance in week one and finish off the match,” he said.
“It was really good for our lads to refocus again and restart which is hard to do after a week off.
“Obviously before the last round nothing was set in concrete with who was going to be playing finals and who was going to miss out and it was really good to get the result on the board that will allow us to play finals and that's what you play for in the end.
“Now we will look ahead to next week and reset.”
Templeton said his side’s ability to adapt to an extraordinary situation would hold it in good stead for finals.
“Our ability to adapt to different circumstances was important and we had to be prepared for anything and be able to reset and get ourselves on track if anything was thrown at us,” he said.
“We know that finals goes up a gear and to be able to put in a good performance like that before finals was important.”
Woodford snuck into the top four ahead of Wesley-CBC after drawing with Russells Creek, which finished the regular season in second.
Creek resumed on 8-175 and was soon all out for 203.
The Eels struggled early, losing quick wickets before Tom Batten steadied the ship, making a fighting 38 runs, before Woodford finished the day on 6-76.
Woodford mentor John Houston said his side was pleased to sneak into the top four.
“We are really excited at the opportunity to play finals again,” he said.
“You don't start at the start of the season with a finals spot, you have to work for it and we have had to work harder than anyone as we were behind the eight ball especially after the third round of the one-dayers, so to turn that around and get into the finals is a huge effort from the boys.”
A hat-trick and eight-wicket haul from Tom Bowman wasn’t enough for Wesley-CBC to sneak into the finals, falling short on team average behind Woodford.
Bowman’s final figures of 8-35 helped the Beavers claimed an outright victory over Nirranda after bowling the Knights out twice on the final day, with brother Mitch also chipping in with six wickets.
Elsewhere, Allansford finished its season on a high, thrashing Port Fairy by 253 runs to claim the WDCA minor premiership.
Merrivale finished off its season by claiming an 11-run victory over Dennington, while Nestles also finished its campaign strongy, chasing down Brierly Christ Church’s target of 170.