SHOALHAVEN Ex-Servicemen will progress to the third grade grand final after wicketkeeper Matthew Willis smashed 123 runs.
In great conditions for cricket at the Added Area, Nowra won the toss and elected to bat first.
Nowra’s top order brought its A game to the semi-finals with Les McMaster (23) and wicket keeper Grahame Morris (33) doing a good job breaking in the new ball and procuring some early runs.
Batting third, Nick Goodger meant business and smashed five boundaries and three sixes to make 43 before he was found lbw by Ex-Servos captain Shawn Higgins.
After the loss of Goodger, the Nowra team fell apart, with Neil Leishman (12) and Les Ison (16) the only remaining batsmen to crack double figures.
The fall of Blake Horton (3), captain Chris Morris (1), Dylan Turner (6), Kevin Patterson (4) and David Webb (0) left Nowra all out on 158 runs after 47.2 overs.
Ex-Servos really showed its depth with the ball, with wickets going to Ben Philpott (3/44), Vincent Morris (2/0), Andrew Wilson (2/17), Ryan Dickenson (1/5), Higgins (1/25) and Vimalkumar Patel (1/29).
Ex-Servos went in to bat and quickly showed why it deserved its position in the top four.
Opening batsman Vanessen smashed five boundaries and three sixes to make 42 before he was caught by Horton off a Chris Morris ball.
Wilson (6) and Shannon Sansour (0) were unlucky to head back to the change rooms early, but Higgins proved to have staying power.
Higgins smashed five boundaries and three sixes to make 46 runs before he was caught by McMaster off a Webb delivery.
Ben Guyer and Vincent Morris were still batting at the end of Saturday’s play, with Ex-Servos sitting on 4/124 after 24 overs.
With just 35 runs to make on Sunday, Ex-Servos went above and beyond what it needed to give a full preview of what we can expect in next week’s grand final.
Guyer (25) and Morris (12) went back in to bat to kick off the day’s play.
A strong performance by Higgins (46) put his team well over the needed target, but the best was yet to come.
Batting seventh, Matthew Willis dominated the Nowra bowlers to smash his way to 123, which included 12 boundaries and eight sixes. His dream hit was almost cut short after he was dropped on 99 runs.
Ex-Servos finished on 8/309 after 62.2 overs.
Chris Morris and Webb did most of the work with the ball for Nowra, taking three and four wickets respectively.