CITY United opener Sam Cardinal timed himself perfectly to unleash his best performance of the season and put his team into Colac district cricket’s Division One grand final.
The experienced batsman, who turned 22 today, set up City’s best score and hit the third Division One century of the season with an impressive knock of 106 during the weekend’s two-day semi-final clash against Warrion.
Warrion skipper Ray Barrow won the toss and, like he has often done in the past, sent his opposition in to bat.
But the move set up Cardinal’s massive haul on a perfect deck at Warrion Recreation Reserve, which, thanks also to contributions from returned middle-order batsman Shannon O’Brien, 44, pushed City’s total to 218 from 66 overs.
It was an effort that impressed United skipper Matt Nelson and was a stark difference to the teams’ encounter just a week earlier when City posted just 136 without regulars O’Brien, Jamie McConachy and Chris Garner.
City will now meet Alvie in the final after Mark Kent and Jake McGuane proved their worth to a young team playing finals by handing Alvie control after day one of its semi-final against Irrewarra.
The experienced tag-team pair had set Alvie up with the ball all season and delivered when the Red Caps required a disciplined and destructive bowling performance.
The economical Kent, 6-37, took the honours but the quicker McGuane, 3-33, was just as serviceable as Alvie rolled Irrewarra for 103 at Eastern Reserve.
Between them, they took nine of Irrewarra’s 10 wickets with the other one – Tim Foley – falling courtesy of a run out.