SHOALHAVEN Ex-Servicemens proved a lot can change on the sporting field in one week.
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Just last week, the minor premiers suffered their second defeat of the season to Berry-Shoalhaven Heads.
Fast forward a week and the two are pitted against one another for a spot in the big dance at Hayden Drexel Oval.
The visitors, led by the experienced Glenn Brandon, won the toss on Saturday and elected to bat first.
But the skipper would soon regret this decision, being caught of the bowling by Nate Jones for a duck.
Things went from bad to worse for the Magpies, when first-drop Chris McCarron followed suit – being clean bowled by Jones.
All of a sudden, any momentum that Berry carried into the match from the final round win was gone – sitting a 2/0.
After this flurry, the Magpies settled, thanks to Andrew Wright and Nathan Thomas, who combined to put on a 67-run partnership – before the former was dismissed for 37.
David Crapp (zero) and Alex Edwards (zero) followed in quick succession, before Thomas fell for 28.
Jeff Dudgeon (19) and Max Lans (16) did what they could, but the visitors were eventually all out for 129 in the 62nd over.
With the cherry, Trevor Thomason led the way with 5/38, while Jones finished the 2/30.
Matt Smit and Chris Bramley also chimed in with one wicket each, finishing with 1/12 and 1/15 respectively.
In reply, Ex-Servos openers Daniel Gleeson (28) and Bramley (22) got the run chase off to a strong start, before the latter fell with the score on 39.
After both openers were dismissed, along with Mathew Ganderton (11) and Thomason (two), Graham Phillis and Nathan Austin teamed-up.
The pair ensured the chase was well in control before Phillis fell for 33 – leaving the host at 5/100.
The hosts then collapsed, losing their final five wickets for 45 runs but thankfully Austin managed a solid 36, to help Ex-Servos claim first innings points, ending at 155.
Brandon led the way with the ball, taking 4/48, while Tom Dougall (3/46), McCarron (2/42) and Crapp (1/8) also bowled sharply.
In their second innings, Berry didn’t fair any better, being all out for just 96 – with Brandon (38) and Wright (20) the only batsmen to reach double figures.
Jones continued his sensational season with 5/46, with Thomason (2/20), Smit (2/0) and Graham Phillis (1/14) also taking wickets.
This left the hosts needing 68 runs to secure the outright victory.
And despite losing Gleeson for 11, being caught leg before by Dougall, Ex-Servos cruised home to victory.
Chris Bramley (34 not out) and Graham Phillis (eight not out) remained unbeaten for the hosts, while Dougall (1/11) was the lone wicket taker for the Magpies.
Ex-Servos will now host the grand final this weekend at Hayden Drexel Oval, taking on Bomaderry, who defeated Bay and Basin in their semi-final.
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