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Match Day

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Match Day

Photo © Chris Mirabella

Wright Shield Semi Finals full of twists and turns as East Malvern Tooronga and Edinburgh advance to the Grand Final

Semi Finals Summary

The 2023-24 Wright Shield Grand Final will be played between the two underdogs of the Semi Final, with East Malvern Tooronga upsetting Ashburton Willows and Edinburgh upsetting Deepdene Bears.

As Edinburgh's chase neared the end Xavier Di Scala was able to open the arms and smash a critical boundary.

Photo © Michael Mirabella

In the same trend for the weekend, the top placed Wright Shield side in Deepdene Bears won the toss and were happy to bat first. But 4th placed Edinburgh came out hot and behind their captain Suraj Kaluhalamulla (6/36 from 21.4 overs) had the favourites reeling at home. Joshua Richardson (20 from 73 balls) and Deepdene vice captain, Lucas Watt (21 from 57) tried to show resistance, but could only help the home side hobble to 10/113, being dismissed in the 50th over.
It looked like Edinburgh would be able to potentially wrap this up still on the first day, but they lost both openers early and a bit of hope returned to Deepdene. James Southby (32) and Sam Oldham (18) were looking comfortable until Marasinghe Perera (2/27) and Ruwantha Ekanayake (4/14 from 11.2 overs) were brought into the attack and flipped the game on it's head, cleaning up the middle order. Ashburton finished day 1 on a very nervous note, sitting 7 wickets down with 30 odd runs required to win.
Edinburgh started day 2 very conservatively, but the two batters were looking very solid in defence, but after a roughly 10 run partnership for the day, Ruwantha Ekanayake claimed his fourth wicket with a clean edge to slips - roughly 20 runs required with just 2 wickets in hand. But Edinburgh's Xavier Di Scala (26*) was ice cold under pressure and guided his side home by 2 wickets with the winning runs.

Deepdene Bears 10/113 def. by Edinburgh 8/117
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Udara Hettige was huge for Ashburton Willows with 4/30 and 59, but it wasn't enough to defeat East Malvern Tooronga.

Photo © Chris Mirabella

Ashburton were also recipients of a favourable toss and therefore putting off the heat for a litle bit as they batted first. But just as the other Semi Final, batting proved to be difficult. Ashburton struggled to form any partnerships, the largest being between Udaya Rodrigo (27) and Udara Hettige (59 from 148 balls) for a 34 run 4th wicket partnership before Rodrigo was caught.
Hettige's innings proved to be crucial as EMT's captain Lachlan Smith (4/38 from 23 overs) and Oscar Sargeant (3/41) tore through the batting line up and kept Ashburton to an under par 150.
East Malvern Tooronga's batting innings was a roller coaster of momentum on the other hand. After an early heart attack for the home side, sitting at 2/1 thanks to Udara Hettige who backed up his half century with 4/30 off 15.1 overs - including the first 2 wickets. But EMT's captain Lachlan Smith (36) on the flip side backed up his bowling with a 103 run partnership with Connor Fisher (56 from 156 balls) who was rewarded for his patient batting with a half century, but was dismissed with the partnership ended by again, Hettige. At 3/104 East Malvern Tooronga looked all but home, but Ashburton's captain Christopher Barr (2/37) and Jacob Latchford (2/28) weren't ready to give up. The pair helped bring the score back to 8/131, and suddenly it was anybodys game. James Speer (12*) and William Giles (10*) didn't let the pressure get to them, and pulled off a tough 2 wicket victory for East Malvern Tooronga.

East Malvern Tooronga 8/154 def. Ashburton Willows 10/150
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It's also worth noting that both Edinburgh and East Malvern Tooronga were promoted from A Turf (Sturgess Shield) last season, and will have a Grand Final rematch in the higher grade this season. 
Edinburgh took home the chocolates with a 55 run win over East Malvern Tooronga in the 202/23 Grand Final.

Nick Dinnison storms in off the long run. Photo © Michael Mirabella