Ex-Servos and Berry to do battle in decider once again

SHOALHAVEN Ex-Servicemen will get a shot at winning their third straight SDCA title after they comfortably defeated Nowra in their semi final yesterday. 

A seven-wicket haul to Lain Beckett proved to be the killer blow for Ex-Servos, with unfavourable weather the only thing ever standing in their way. 

Somebody must have done a rain dance on Friday night, because the cricketing gods were certainly not smiling on Nowra Showground on Saturday afternoon. 

It was a frustrating day for both sides, with scattered rain meaning there was a lot of stop and start to play. 

With the constant threat of rain and the covers coming on and off, only 30 overs could be played on the first day. 

Nowra won the toss and batted first and after losing opener Adam Ison (3) cheaply, they did a good job of seeing off the early overs. 

Lewis O’Brien and Kurt Quinlan both played patiently in the damp conditions, before their innings was disrupted by the rain. 

With heavy downpour, there was little for the players to do, but when they did finally get back out there it was not a very happy time for batsmen. 

Quinlan (21) and O’Brien (20) were both out not too long after play resumed, while Ex-Servos struck another blow when Ben Lahene was out for a duck to take the score to 4/52. 

While the pitch did not offer a lot for the bowlers, Ex-Servos quick bowler Lain Beckett still managed to generate some bounce as Nowra skipper Rohan Hutchison discovered when he was brought down after being struck on the head from a bouncer. 

While it was certainly not a pleasant site, Hutchison showed his toughness when he got back up and batted on.

But with the rain already coming down, it wasn’t long before the ground staff was called on once again.  

When the covers went back on, Nowra were 4/62 with Hutchison not out on 7, while Daniel Bryant was unbeaten on 5, but this time they did not manage to get back out. 

The sun may have come back out on Sunday morning, but there were no lights shining on the home side. 

Hutchison was out on just the second ball of the day, while Bryant was also dismissed in the next over without adding to his overnight score. 

There was very little resistance from the lower order, with Michael Coulter the only one to reach double figures before they were bowled out for 79. 

The bulk of the damage for Ex-Servos was done by Lain Beckett, who took 7/25 from 15.1 overs, while Trevor Thomason played a nice supporting role with 3/41 from 19. 

With a small total to defend, Nowra needed early wickets, but did not get their wish, with Ex-Servos making a steady start before their skipper Daniel Gleeson was out for 28. 

But thanks to his opening partner Mat Ganderton (86 not out) and Lain Beckett (27 not out) they managed to cruise past the total, posting 3/159 before the lunch break. 

With an Ex-Servos victory the only likely outcome, the game was called early, ensuring the defending premiers will get the chance to push for a third consecutive title in next week’s grand final.

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