Centrals bowlers exceptional in sealing team semi-final spot
CENTRALS are hoping to improve on their positive effort last season when they face Eastern Taipans in next weekend's first division semi-final.
Centrals secured second spot and a home final after a gritty effort dismissing Brothers in their final qualifying match yesterday.
Defending a modest 181, Centrals were under immense pressured watching Brothers reach 1/81 before their bowling attack again completed the job.
Spinner Luke Barrett and quick Nick Vellacott took four wickets each at Mark Marsh Oval to restrict Brothers to 158.
That ended Brothers' hopes of sneaking into a semi-final spot.
"Their bowling effort yesterday got us over,'' Centrals coach Scott Barrett said.
"We went to our strengths and we had to win it.''
Centrals last season also reached the semi-final in first division (against Swifts) and made the grand final (against Fassifern) in second grade.
With a home semi at Limestone Park, Barrett is looking for more consistent performances after making some tough selection decisions this week.
He was pleased Centrals' 181 proved a winning target.
"The bowling was exceptional,'' he said. "180 on Limestone Park doesn't sound like a big score but when you consider what the outfield is like - it's pretty thick still - it (that score) is probably 220/230 anywhere else.''
Barrett said once Luke Barrett had Taylor Peach caught and bowled for 85, and dismissed the experienced Craig Cumming, his team gained momentum.
Vellacott cleaned up the last couple of wickets after tea.
The Taipans finished third after losing their final game to Laidley at Bichel Oval yesterday.
Chasing 131, Laidley made 176 with captain Chris Wilson topscoring with 42.
Vaughan Oldham took four wickets for the Taipans.
Centrals and Taipans will contest the semi-final next Saturday and Sunday.
Laidley has already qualified for the grand final at Baxter Oval, starting in a fortnight.