An astonishing team performance from the Leeming Spartan First Grade sees our top side move into next weekend’s Grand Final after a sensational semi-final victory over CBC at John Connell on Sunday.
As we reported in our Day One recap, honours were shared after day one, as the home side was sent into bat on a dark and cold Saturday afternoon.
The visitors were on the attack early, leaving us reeling at 5/42, before some late order resistance and a fine half century from number three Dan McClure resurrected the innings, enabling us to post a very competitive score of 9/145 at stumps.
It proved to be just enough, and despite some very tense moments during the course of day two, the Spartans bowled CBC out for 139 to record a fantastic six run victory.
A belter of a game, one that see-sawed throughout both days, ended with the Spartans victorious by just six runs, allowing us to progress through to next weekend’s Grand Final against Armadale!
We’re into the First Grade final following a tense six run victory over CBC last Sunday!
Day two started well, the skies had cleared and it was game on.
An exceptionally strong crowd of over one hundred was the standard throughout the day, and when two early wickets fell to left-armer Gav Argent, the visitors were in trouble early at 2/10.
Argent, playing his first game since returning from injury sustained early in the month was fantastic, claiming 2/25 from his fourteen overs.
In what was well and truly a see-sawing game throughout both days, CBC claimed the upper hand through a fine 55-run stand between resident thorn-in-our-side Andrew Galbraith and Ryan Pontillo (12).
At 3/65, it left a further 81 runs for victory, but Leeming Spartan had bowled exceptionally well, keeping the run rate down to under two runs an over for the entire match.
When tea was taken – a mammoth feast it must be said thanks to the efforts of Coombsy Snr. – the score was 3/71 off 38 overs.
With our arch-rivals in CBC seemingly closing in on a victory, it is great to report that our boys never dropped their heads, coming off the field with a look of determination and knowing full well that by taking the game as deep as they can, it still leaves every opportunity for victory.
Of course, as it played out, that is exactly what happened.
There was still much work to be done, with two of the competition’s five best bats at the crease in Galbraith and Brad Bootsma.
The two took the score to 87, with Galbraith notching a fine fifty, before Callum Appleby did what he does best, claiming Galbraith caught behind for 52, and in the process strengthening the belief that the Spartans could defend their score.
It was an absolute rip snorter of a delivery – seemingly the only way Galbraith was going to be dismissed – that found the edge and dismissed their top scorer.
With that wicket, the crowd erupted more than at any time previous, and some of the most daring viewers were sensing a change in fortunes.
A further twenty five run stand between Bootsma (11) and Dion Sardelic (33) took CBC within reach at 4/112, before captain Milts got the invaluable wicket of Boots.
Milts had a great day with the ball, bowling a variety of different deliveries during his spell to keep the batsmen guessing on his way to recording 2/17 from his 14 overs (with six maidens). It was certainly like a box of chocolates.
When Gill had Tim Basile caught at short leg by PK for naught, the tide was once again changing, and 4/112 had now become 6/115.
The last notable stand of the match between Chris Pietroniro (who scored an unbeaten 66 the last time the two sides met), and Sardelic meant CBC had 131 runs on the board, four wickets in hand, and required just fifteen runs for victory.
Incredibly, at this point in time, they had fallen behind the required run rate, with nine overs to go. Of course, with wickets in hand, and such a small number of runs required, they were on top once more.
A lower order collapse from CBC means the Spartans are into next weekend’s Grand Final against Armadale at John Connell Reserve.
When CBC reached 6/131, very few would have thought that the Spartans could claim a victory, but an astonishing bowling and fielding effort meant that is exactly what happened!
Milts claimed the wicket of Pietroniro for five, breaking the stand, thanks to a good catch behind the stumps from Adam Morgan. Morgs completed a fine inaugural semi-final for Leeming Spartan with his highest score of the season on day one, and three catches with the gloves on day two.
7/131 quickly became 8/131 when Callum removed Sardelic for 33, hitting the pads with pace and leaving little doubt in the umpire’s mind.
By now, the crowd’s intensity, and that of our boys on the field, was immeasurable, with the sun quickly setting, it proved a great picture at the home of cricket.
Callum then clean ripped number ten Ethan Foulkes for a duck, knocking over all the stumps in the process.
CBC were 6/131, before Callum Appleby destroyed their lower order to leave the visitors reeling at 9/131, still fifteen runs required for victory.
The scoreboard read 9/131 and the crowd’s roar was making the planes at Jandakot Airport envious with their sound!
Number nine Kris McShane and number eleven Alex Wragg fought exceptionally well to ensure runs were being added, dragging CBC ever so closer to the target, but it was not to be.
Not even a late dropped catch at mid-off could halt the Spartans, although had it, it probably would have summarised the game in a nutshell – one final changing of fortunes in a two-day see-saw.
Callum bowled McShane with the score on 139 in the seventy third over without even realising it, just before he went up for a caught behind it was realised the bail on the off stump had just been dislodged, leaving all three stumps well in tact.
Callum finished with match figures of 4/24 from 19 overs, an effort that included ten maidens, to take Man of the Match honours for what was certainly a match-winning spell.
With that, the day’s biggest roar filled the stadium that is John Connell!
Leeming Spartan had won one of the most memorable semi-finals in history, defeating arch-rivals CBC by six runs, allowing us to progress through to next weekend’s Grand Final.
Both encounters between the two sides this season have been unforgettable, Gilly’s 144 in the first matchup an astonishing feat that got us over the line chasing 229, and this semi-final victory is yet another chapter in an unparalleled rivalry.
Last weekend’s encounter was just one of those remarkable games that you never forget, and for the one-hundred plus in attendance, they will all attest how great a match this was.
It was a sensational day for our First Grade, our Committee, and all of the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club that left everyone beaming, smiling from ear to ear for the days to come.
The final wicket falls at John Connell to end a sensational victory for the Spartans!
Who would have thought that from last year’s position, on both a Club and playing perspective, that we would now be playing off in a First Grade Grand Final twelve months later.
Missing out on the finals last season for the first time in many years had many expecting a full-scale redevelopment plan that would take a number of seasons to come to fruition, but remarkably, this has been achieved in less than twelve months.
It is certainly a historic chapter for the Leeming Spartan Cricket Club, and is a remarkable effort from all involved, and has made this our 99th year even more special.
This is a victory for all Spartans and friends.
Certainly for the eleven blokes out on the field, our Committee, and the hundred onlookers on both days, but for all of our supporters and members from all seven of our grades.
Congratulations to Leeming Spartan and CBC on a sensational and hard-fought semi-final, and all the best to our boys this weekend.
Stay tuned for more information about the Grand Final!
Callum Appleby leads the boys off the field after their semi-final victory. Callum finished with match figures of 4/24 from 19 overs to take Man of the Match honours for what was certainly a match-winning spell.
Following the match, we received word that Armadale had successfully chased down Thornlie’s total of 176 to set up yet another First Grade Grand Final between the two sides, and due to our higher position on the ladder, the grand finale will be played at John Connell Reserve.
Please stay tuned for updates about the Grand Final next weekend! Let’s get a massive crowd unlike anything we’ve seen this season to support our boys!