South Dubbo has sent a warning to RSL-Colts by scoring a dominant RSL-Whitney Cup semi-final win highlighted by two outstanding individual efforts.
The Hornets’ 136-run victory was set up on Saturday with captain Mitch Bower making 118, his fourth century in 30 days, before spinner Joe Coles starred on Sunday.
The off-spinner, who started the season with three matches in the RSL-Kelly Cup third grade competition, took the first seven wickets on his way to finishing with 8/47 from 15.2 overs.
“That’s pretty special in a semi-final,” Bower said of Coles after the Blues were dismissed for 180.
“The bloke was playing third grade at the start of the year and I asked him if he wanted to play third and he said ‘not really, I’ll play where I’m picked’ and I didn’t know he wanted to play first grade.
“I picked him in a (Megahit) night game and he bowled well there and then ended up in a first grade game and did the same there and he’s come on in leaps and bounds since.”
Coles, who has played first grade in the past, claimed all the big wickets, knocking over Jason Green (48), Anthony Heraghty (14), Keiran Brien (22) and Ricky Medway (19).
The Blues had appeared on track early on, reaching 0/78 but Coles’ dismissal of Green signalled the start of Macquarie’s downfall, with the last six wickets falling for just 57 runs.
“I thought 300 was a good score but today we fell in a heap,” Macquarie captain Brien said.
“We started off strong but a bit of scoreboard pressure and some bad shots and we just fell in a heap.”
While Coles received all the praise from Bower, it was the captain who dug in on Saturday when his side needed him.
On a No. 1 Oval pitch which offered something for the bowlers, the Hornets were 3/66 at one stage but Bower and Mat Finlay produced a partnership which changed the match.
Bower, in some of the best form of any batsmen in Dubbo in recent times, was dropped on 80 and went on to again reach triple figures.
Finlay just turned the strike over but once his captain departed he exploded and went on to make 84 while Greg Rummans chipped in with 40 as Souths made 8/316.
“There was a bit in that deck early so we just decided to bat all day,” Bower said of the partnership.
“To not lose wickets in clumps, that was probably credit to him (Finlay) and I was lucky enough to score more freely and then when I got out he escalated.
“We executed our batting the way we’ve tried to all year so I was proud of the boys.”
Jeremy Dickson took 3/72 for the defending premiers but it was all about Souths, who will now play Colts in the decider.
“We got rolled by Macquarie last season but its good to know this game again has pushed a couple of people who weren’t really in form, they’ve done something special now,” Bower said.
“We’re in a good mindset for next week. We’re a relaxed club but when push comes to shove we’re out there to win.”