Dubbo will host the Brewery Shield grand final this season after a grinding performance and a five-wicket haul from Mitch Ashford inspired Sunday’s win at Nyngan.
The Dubbo side needed a win to ensure top spot but that result looked unlikely when the visitors were reduced to 5/37 at the Snakepit.
But captain Angus Norton stood up and his half century helped guide the side to a defendable total of 146.
New ball bowlers James Hughes and Jacob Hill then kept things incredibly tight early on and Ashford benefited from the pressure on the Nyngan batsman, taking 5-11 from five overs.
"I am really pleased to get a tough win in some really challenging conditions,” Norton said.
“It was great to see all the guys dig deep to support each other both on and off the field."
While the performance was far from perfect it was the kind Norton had asked for.
In the lead-up to the game he had called for the players to show fight and ensure they have a spot in a lineup which was already certain to play finals.
The batsmen may not have fired, but Ashford stepped up and delivered.
"I was very pleased with Mitch Ashford's efforts today (Sunday),” the captain stated.
“I challenged the younger players during the week to cement their spots, and he certainly answered that call with his five wicket haul."
Norton won the toss and batted at Nyngan but things began terribly as Gilbert Chaseling (0), Jake Settree (4), and Jacob Hill (2) were all back in the sheds before the score reached 10.
Ben Wheeler (6) also departed early and when Connor Watts fell for 11 to make it 5-37 it appeared the end would be coming quickly.
Norton and Tom Barber, the only Dubbo player to have made a half century this season heading to Nyngan, then started the rebuild.
It wasn’t east going against a Nyngan attack led by Connor McDonald (3/16) and Terrence Ryan (3/34) but the pair slowly got the score ticking over.
Barber fell for 24 but tailenders Bailey Edmunds (14) and Mitch Lincoln (12) supported Norton, who went on to finish 58 not out.
“I was very pleased with my performance with the bat. I came to the crease with us struggling at 5/37, and got us to a very good score of 146 with some outstanding lower contributions from Bailey Edmunds, James Hughes and Mitch Lincoln,” Norton stated.
The total of 146 wasn’t a huge one to defend but Dubbo’s opening bowlers of James Hughes (1/6 off six) and Jacob Hill (1/8 off six) immediately put their side on the front foot.
Fellow seamer Bailey Edmunds (2/13) kept the visitors on top and then Mitch Ashford took over.
The RSL-Colts spinner ripped through the Nyngan middle and lower order, with only Brad McDougall (31) showing any resistance.
Ashford finished with 5/11 from five as Nyngan was rolled for just 83.
The final will now be held at Dubbo on March 17.