A WIN over Taree West ensured Old Bar will play in the inaugural final of the Manning T/20 grand final on Saturday afternoon at Johnny Martin Oval.
The day started well for the reigning premiers when captain Tim Rees won his first toss of the season and elected to put Taree West into the field. Brothers Michael and David Rees again opened the innings. Michael had yet to be dismissed this season but that record didn't last long as Brian Levi got one to stay low to bowl him for 7 with the score at eight.
Gun batsman Jamie Hartland was next to the crease and with David Rees looked to get on top of the Taree West attack. Jonathon Paff put paid to that bowling Rees for 13 and making score 2/26.
Mark Burgess hit a quickfire 16 before being bowled by Paff (3/66). Hartland was the next to go when dismissed by Luke McLeod for a sparkling 30 making the score 4/81. Tim Rees looked to up the run rate hitting a quick 15 before dragging one on to McLeod and the score at (5/102).
This left North Coast representative Ben Cole and wicket keeper/batsman Bevan Coleman to finish up the innings, with Coleman out last ball 20 and Cole undefeated on 40. Old Bar set Taree West 147 for victory on a wearing pitch.
Brock Stewart took the new ball for the first time in first grade and together with veteran David Rees set about restricting the Taree West scoring. Rees produced a peach in his first over to clean bowl Adam McLeod for 2 (1/10). The experienced pair of Paul Cox and Lee Crozier to set about repairing Taree West's innings. Although they faced some outstanding bowling by Rees the pair put on 39 to give West some hope of victory.
Rees introduced spin for immediate success with Michael Rees bowling Crozier for 27 (2/49) and impressive youngster Brendan Fuller bowling Cox 15 for (3/51).
This resulted in a flurry of wickets for Old Bar with Michael Rees picking up 2/19 from four, Fuller 2/24, also from four, Tim Rees 3/8(3), David Rees an impressive 1/12 (4), Stewart 0/28 (3) and Blake Paulson taking his maiden wicket in first grade to finish with 1/16 from two. Taree West were Taree West 9/115 after 20 overs.
"It was another good all round effort today from our guys, especially in the field with Alex Studdart leading the way,'' skipper Rees said.
"Next week will be a real test for us though playing United first then either United or rivals Wingham in the grand final. It should be a fantastic afternoon's cricket."