THE Griffith Over 35s have established themselves as the team to beat in the Don ‘Captain’ Coleman Twenty20 Shield after knocking over fellow finals qualifiers Exies on Friday night.
In the perfect tune-up ahead of the business-end of the tournament, the Over 35s showed once again that brains conquer brawn in the shortest form of the game.
Exies batted first but lasted less than 14 overs in the middle, with paceman Brian Irvin (4-27) and G Collins (3-14) wrecking their best-laid plans.
Only first-grade regulars Jamie Winkler (32), Lyle Campbell (19) and Tom Valeri (14) could muster double figures as their side posted a meagre total of 89. The Over 35s chased it down, but not without a couple of early hiccups.
The veterans lost Mark Favell for zero - yet the young Exies upstarts were foiled once Brad Hornery (32) and M O’Connor (28) got their eyes in.
Brenton Harrison (18 not out) and Geoff Bortolin (five) were the unbeaten men at the crease when the winning runs were scored.
As Pool A’s top two sides, the Over 35s and Exies can now look ahead to the knockout portion of the competition which begins on Friday February 15.
In the other game, Yenda won by six wickets over Leagues Club Panthers, who are still without a win in all three formats of the game this season.
The Panthers perhaps thought their maiden victory was within sight after batting first and finishing up on 3-142, their innings steered by Connor Matheson (56) and Kierran Williams (52 not out).
But the Jets were in rare form, with Peter Vardanega (56 not out) and Matt Bruce (48) blasting their side back into the contest.
It came down to the very last over - and with the very first ball, Yenda found the winning runs, shattering dreams of a droughtbreaker for Leagues Club.