Cricket North has been reduced to a three-horse race after South Launceston and Launceston bolted to victory on Saturday.
The Knights secured their spot in this year’s final by coasting past Riverside’s 203 with six wickets in hand, compiling a total of 5-329 before rain called an end to the day’s play.
Openers Tom Waller and Will Foster put on 59 for the first wicket and from there the Knights never looked in doubt, with Alec Smith, Jeremy Jackson and Nathan Philip all passing the half-century mark in a disciplined batting display.
“It’s pleasing to see three people get in, it would have been nice for one of them to get a 100 but so be it, everyone batted really well,” Smith said post-match.
“Whenever we lost one the incoming batsman stuck around at least for 15 runs themselves so it was pleasing we didn’t lose wickets in clumps.
“We don’t have so much pressure on ourselves to make finals now, we should be in finals, so really happy to get a win going into the bye.”
The Blues tried every trick in the book to keep their finals hopes alive, using nine bowlers in an effort to unsettle their opposition.
They remained in with a sniff at 4-168 but Jackson and Philip were relentless.
“It didn’t go the way we wanted with the ball today,” Riverside paceman Lyndon Stubbs said.
“We created a couple of opportunities in the first session but weren’t able to take them and given they had wickets in hand later in the day, that turned things dramatically in their favour.
“As a bowling group we’ve got to work on not giving those boundary balls away, creating pressure and taking those chances when they come.”
LAUNCESTON locked itself for a quasi-elimination final with Westbury next weekend by chasing Mowbray’s 269 at Invermay Park.
A 99-run stand between captain Alistair Taylor (90) and Cameron Lynch set the foundations for the win, with the Lions sneaking past the target with three wickets left in the shed.
Lynch’s 62 was his biggest knock for the season and couldn’t have come at a better time for the Lions.
“I think it was really important for us to get a big partnership on the board, that’s what we’ve been talking about a bit,” Taylor said.
“To put on almost 100 was fantastic team-wise and it was really good for Cameron as well who’s found a bit of form now getting 60-odd with the bat, so I was really pleased to be in that partnership with him.”
Jarrod Freeman took 3-88 in his first game back, while opening pair Justin Reeves and Jono Jones nabbed two wickets apiece.