Tigers tame Roos to secure title shot

North Sportsman’s sealed a seventh-straight Hoggies Wines Barber Shield appearance in the decider after overcoming West Gambier by 40 runs in the semi-final at Frew Park last weekend.

Just one week after the Roos tamed the Tigers in the final minor round of the Mount Gambier and District Cricket Association season, Nick McInerney’s men responded in the best way possible.

North’s captain confidently elected to bat in gloomy conditions, but the decision backfired when star opener Jake Schutz fell in the second over.

After West captain Richard Crute also removed Brad Robinson and perfected a run out of Michael Johnston, the Tigers were languishing at 5/58.

But skipper McInerney was determined to dig his side out of trouble and did just that alongside Jordan Hollitt.

The pair patiently scraped together 41 important runs from 26.1 overs to halt the Roos’ momentum.

After Hollitt was bowled for 24 and McInerney was caught out on 32, North was once again at risk of being knocked over for a low total despite reaching triple figures against West for the first time this season.

However, Declan Kenny’s no-fear approach changed the tempo.

The tail-ender struck his first ball for four before clubbing 22* at a good rate to ensure the Tigers had the defendable total of 141 after almost batting the entire 80 overs.

Josh Cornolo was the pick of the bowlers with 3/43, while Crute and Justin Dejong both took two scalps each.

The overhead conditions were more pleasant for the second day’s play on Sunday and the Roos’ young brigade showed their grit.

Although Kenny removed Jack Geddes early on, Kale Wrightson and Connor Prior proved they were up for the fight against the reigning premiers.

The pair’s defence came to the fore with Wrightson scoring 12 off 123 rocks, while Prior moved to 17 off 89.

Despite the slow run rate, they did their job taking the shine off the new ball by navigating through more than 30 overs.

However, two run outs inflicted by McInerney changed the course of the game and West stumbled to 4/48.

Jake Blackwell (23) and Sam Willis (13) tried to revive the innings, but the tail could not cope with the class of Kenny and Tim Young after tea.

The Roos were caught in the spotlights and lost 6/28 to be bowled out for 101.

Kenny picked up four victims while Young claimed three and McInerney said his side’s ability to step up in the big moments got the job done.

“From the position we were in with the bat, we were happy to squeeze out that score and felt it was more like a 180 on a faster outfield,” he said.

“We also knew West had a lot of depth with the bat, so breaking that Willis and Blackwell partnership was massive.

“It gave us a little bit of momentum coming out of the break and we were able to take some quick wickets to win which was great.”

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