Barber Shield within Eagles’ reach

SOLID WHACK: Penola's Jase Bateman puts bat to ball as he aims for the boundary during a 20-run haul against West Gambier at McCorquindale Park on Saturday, cementing the Eagles' place in the final.

SOLID WHACK: Penola’s Jase Bateman puts bat to ball as he aims for the boundary during a 20-run haul against West Gambier at McCorquindale Park on Saturday, cementing the Eagles’ place in the final.

THE Barber Shield cricket semi-finals went as expected over the weekend and Penola now sets its sights on a title defence when it faces 2017-18 runners-up North Sportsman’s in the grand final this weekend.

Up against West Gambier at McCorquindale Park on Saturday and Sunday, the Eagles claimed a comfortable victory despite a rocky start which saw openers Jack Schulz and Jack Mullan both return to the shed without contributing a run.

However, Penola eventually set a target of 189, before bowling the Roos out for just 75 the following day.

The score was at 2/3 when David Somerfield joined Jase Bateman at the crease, but they soon started the run flow with a partnership of 64.

Bateman was caught by Jake Blackwell off Bowen Hosking for 20, while Somerfield was dismissed just seven runs later, caught off another Hosking ball to fall just short of a half century with a game-high 47.

That left Lewis March and the incoming Mark Smith at the stumps, with the pair bolstering the score.

Smith added 20 runs before he was caught by Sam Willis off a Ben Hentschke delivery, while March held firm to make an eventual 43 runs and see out most of the day.

George Kidman was next to join March, but the partnership was short and he was clean bowled by Willis just two runs later for a score of two.

The total was at 6/108 when Michael Waters padded up and combined with March for a 28-run partnership.

That was put to rest when Waters was caught off Hosking for 10, for the fast bowler’s third and final wicket of the day.

From there Curt Evans contributed 12 runs and was dismissed with the total at 159, before Brett Vaughan geared up for a nine-run partnership with March.

March was finally returned to the shed when he was caught and bowled by Niall Easterbrook, with Conrad Slabber next to the crease.

The final wicket fell in the 75th over, as Vaughan was caught by Hentschke off Richard Crute for 13, while Slabber finished with an unbeaten 10 runs.

With the ball, West was best served by Hosking, who finished with figures of 3/31 off 13 overs, while Willis and Crute both claimed two scalps.

Hentschke and Easterbrook bagged one each to round out the wicket takers.

Heading into Sunday, the Roos needed to be at their best to reach the Eagles’ target of 189 runs, but that was far from the case.

Openers Jack Geddes and youngster Connor Prior failed to make an impact, with the latter dismissed on five runs for the first wicket of the day.

Alex Hill came and went without contributing a score, while Geddes was joined by Blackwell and lasted another 19 runs, caught and bowled by Waters for seven.

With the total at 30, Smith took three quick catches behind the stumps to dismiss Blackwell for 11, Hosking for four and Willis for no score, leaving the total at a meagre 6/30.

When Easterbrook was caught by Slabber off a Somerfield delivery a run later, West was in trouble.

Hentschke and Crute suppressed the damage somewhat with a 29-run partnership, which was put to an end when the former was judged lbw off a Kidman delivery.

From there the bottom order crumbled, as Josh Cornolo and Nick Bone both fell for no score, to leave Crute at the stumps with a team-high score of 27 not out.

It took just 38 overs for Penola to finish the job, with West’s total of 75 well short of the required target.

The Eagles had another consistent bowling performance, which saw Waters lead the way with impressive figures of 4/6 from 7.2 overs.

He was joined by Kidman (3/8) and Somerfield (3/38) in a solid display with the ball.

Penola will hope to back up that performance this weekend, when it locks horns with the Tigers in a rematch of last year’s decider.