The sudden-death battle between South Gambier and Penola appears set to go down to the wire this Saturday at Blue Lake Sports Park. With the winner being awarded a place in the semi-finals, the Demons’ are under pressure at 4/49 in pursuit of 161.
South won the toss and elected to bowl and Eagle Jake Schulz looked dangerous, striking two sixes before holing out for a quick-fire 27. Jack Mullan also made a breezy 22, while Penola captain Mark Smith showed assurance with 39.
At the other end, opener Lewis March was a resolute figure with 29 from 96 and he was the backbone behind the Eagles’ solid score of 2/100 from the first 32 overs. However, the return of Jakob Opie to the bowling crease brought the home side back into the contest.
In the first five overs of his second spell, Opie claimed four wickets before collecting 6/49. Robert Drenthen also picked up two scalps as the Eagles slipped to 161 all out. Despite the late collapse, Penola came out firing with the ball after Lachlan Jones sent Adam Kuhl packing in the second over.
Michael Waters was also prolific and claimed three wickets including the dangerous David Somerfield for 22. With nine overs left and four wickets already lost, the Demons were at risk of falling further behind, but Josh Thompson and Michael Sims dug deep until stumps.
South needs 112 runs for victory when play returns on Saturday.