WEST Warrnambool has revived its Warrnambool and District Cricket Association finals dreams in a result which could have a major bearing on the top-four.
The Panthers stunned North Warrnambool Eels on Saturday after seamer Ben Rantall, division one debutant Nick Cowan and bowler Damon Harrison combined for 50 runs late on.
A wide from the third-last ball of the game secured the last-gasp victory but bizarrely West was all out after Eels wicketkeeper Ross Levett stumped youngster Hayden McGovern from the same delivery.
Cricket rules stipulate the wide, which came first, was added to the Panthers' total as a sundry. It pushed them to 140 and sealed the six points.
West Warrnambool captain Ben Threlfall said emotions were running high as teammates watched the final 30 minutes of the match.
"I think with probably 10 overs to go it looked like we weren't really in it," Threlfall said.
"We got a little partnership there with Nick (Cowan) and Ben (Rantall) and all of a sudden we needed 30 off the last few and we thought 'right, we're a chance now'.
"Probably the last half an hour we were on the edge of our seats and hoping for a bit of luck. I think we needed four off the last over so the boys did well."
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Threlfall said the result kept his men in the hunt for finals but flagged the evenness of the competition as a hurdle.
"I think we've been around the mark all year and probably the past couple of weeks, they were important games for us which we dropped," he said.
"It probably knocked our confidence down a little bit but a win (on Saturday) probably keeps us in the mix still.
I think we're still a game or two outside the top four but it was an important win for us. It keeps us alive.- Ben Threlfall
"I think we're still a game or two outside the top four but it was an important win for us. It keeps us alive."
West Warrnambool won the toss and elected to bowl, sending Eels stars Kory Howlett and Bailey Jenkinson to the crease. The pair combined for 23 before Jenkinson was caught leg before wicket on seven.
Eels captain Nick Butters crafted 55 and Jackson Grundy's promising season netted another 23 but Ollie King's 12-run stand was the only other double figures knock in the innings. Part-time bowler Joe Nyikos was among West's most potent bowlers, claiming 4-11 from nine overs in a match-turning display. Threlfall ground out 39 from 43 balls with the stick and was the Panthers' best performer while Cowan (26 from 41), Rantall (20 from 27) and Ryan Youl (12 from 34) were also serviceable.
Threlfall said he was proud his side could win despite four forced changes midweek. Coach Alastair Templeton missed with suspension while Akshay Kapadia (soreness), Ryan McArdle (unavailable) and Fletcher Cozens (Geelong) were also out.
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