A stunning collapse by Macquarie has helped propel Souths into yet another RSL-Whitney Cup decider, with the Hornets scoring a 38-run win in an epic semi-final at No.1 Oval over the weekend.
After being 4/43 at one stage on day one, Mitch Bower’s men clawed their way to be all out for 220 in just 60 overs.
It was enough though, as Mat Finlay (5/10) took his side from a seemingly hopeless position to victory in a short space of time.
Henry Railz (53) and Adam Wells (44) were the main scorers for the Hornets on day one, while Angus Cusack (4/43), James Hughes (3/51) and Jeremy Dickson (2/54) all among the wickets for Macquarie.
The Blues finished the day 1/28, and they started day two cautiously, with opener Ed Haylock and captain Keiran Brian keen to see off the early onslaught.
They did that to a large degree, but when Railz claimed Haylock (22) and Jason Green (0) in the same over, and Brien (7) fell soon after, it quickly became 4/62.
But Ricky and Dan Medway came together and put Macquarie back in control.
They got the score ticking along, and as the temperatures soared so too did tension on the field.
Umpires John DeLyall and Noel Phoebe had to intervene on multiple occasions, and Bower had a long conversation with them at one point.
With the Medways both passing 50, Bower then threw the ball to Finlay and the rest is history.
After Wells removed Ricky Medway for 58 with the score on 154, the Blues lost their last five wickets for just 28 runs to be all out for 182.
Afterwards Finlay said he was as surprised as anyone to finish things off like he did.
“The Medway boys were going along pretty comfortably and I think my job was just to bowl full and straight and try to jag something,” he said.
“They batted really well and looked like taking the match away from us but we showed with the bat on Saturday that we can fight and we did it again in the field.
“From where we were on Saturday to make 220 was big for us. Runs on the board in finals is always a key and that’s how it panned out again.”
For the Blues, they were left to lament falling one game short of a grand final for a second straight season.
“It’s disappointing, no two ways about it,” Ricky Medway said.
“I played a silly shot when I didn’t need to. We still had 30 overs up our sleeves so we’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves.
“We’ve got a good side and if we can keep this squad together we’ll go well again next season but that doesn’t change that we should be playing next week. We threw that one away.”