The quarter-finals at the Under-18 Bushrangers Pathway Championships have gone down to the wire with two last over finishes.
A century to Ash Armstrong and a five-wicket haul to Logan Gray headlined an incredible day as the race for this season’s title was narrowed to four.
The tight finishes saw South East Sharks and South East Bayside Breakers win through to today’s semi-finals, along with North East Falcons and Central Highlands, who both enjoyed an easier time of things.
The Sharks, who defeated Barwon Rockets by just two runs, won through on the back of some terrific death bowling from Jake Wood (1-25 off 10) and Billy Humphrey (1-47 off 10).
Humphrey, who bowled the final over against the Rockets, took the wicket of Tim Hosking on the final ball to give the Sharks a memorable win.
The Sharks’ semi-final opponent, the Highlands, remain the only undefeated team in the tournament after victory over Gippsland Pride.
Batting first, the Highlands looked to be in trouble at 6-115 before a Jarryd Vernon-led onslaught that reaped 57 saw them reach 8-189 at their close.
The Pride was never in it; Logan Gray (5-19) and Harrison Travers (3-19) demolishing the top order to leave Gippsland 6-18 early in the piece.
While some lower order partnerships delayed the result, Gray’s final two wickets saw the Pride dismissed for 105.
In the metro side of the draw, an amazing chase by the Breakers secured their place in the semi-finals against the Falcons.
Chasing Western Spirit’s formidable total of 2-249, the Breakers paced their innings perfectly, securing the crucial win with just three balls to spare.
Kyle Gray was the hero scoring 61 not out, while Jack O’Toole registered 61.
Earlier, an Ash Armstrong century put Western Spirit in the box seat to claim victory and a spot in the final four.
In the remaining quarter-final, the Falcons made light work of Outer East Eagles, claiming a nine-wicket win.
The Falcons spin-heavy attack dismissed the previously undefeated Eagles for just 96 before overhauling the target for the loss of just one wicket.
A berth in the final at the MCG on Sunday, February 24 awaits the victors today.
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To see full results from the Under-18 Bushrangers Pathway Championships, click here.