DIGGERS have strolled into next week’s preliminary final after crushing a hapless Hanwood in their elimination final at West End Oval yesterday.
It was a win set up with the ball and then confirmed with the bat, as Diggers cracked 286 in their first and only inning in a one-sided contest.
Needing 171 for an unlikely victory, Hanwood were 4-17 yesterday when captain Dean Catanzariti decided to pull up stumps mid-afternoon.
Hanwood won the toss on Saturday but were bowled out for 115 with Jason Bertacco (33), Brendan Hicken (32) and Justin Cimador (14) the only men to notch double-figure scores.
Diggers were without strike bowler Glen Faganello but showed plenty of depth in their attack as Jarrod Cahill and Tom Webb bagged three wickets apiece.
Craig Lugton only claimed one but did so at an extremely economical rate, giving up just seven runs across eight overs.
“All our bowlers were great. I’m pretty happy with that because we only used five bowlers and we had Glen missing, and he’s a contender for most wickets in the season,” captain Nathan Smith said.
But it was the Diggers top-order who stole the spotlight.
Second drop Mick Duncan was in lethal form, belting 72 from 82 deliveries including nine boundaries and one big six.
He was ably supported by Smith (67), who stuck around in the middle for close to 70 overs, while Tom Webb finished one run short of a half-ton.
“Hanwood were bowling alright, especially young Tom West. He had me out probably three or four times but they couldn’t hold their catches,” he said.
“I stuck around and the other guys did their stuff. It was a good team effort in the end.”
Smith said his side will take a huge amount of confidence out of the result, ahead of a preliminary final date against Exies this weekend.
“I like our chances against them,” he said.
“Exies have beaten us a couple of times this year but they had a different side. They’ve lost a few guys.
“The two sides in the major semi-final today probably scored in combination as much as we did in one inning. We’re feeling good, our batting and bowling is in form right now. We’re looking forward to next week.”