Winners of the last two Illawarra Twenty20 competitions, Wollongong and Keira, will meet in next month’s final after they notched impressive victories in their Australia Day semi-finals.
An unbeaten stand of 125 from skipper Dave Studholme and Troy Yabsley helped Wollongong chase down Balgownie’s 6-128 in a nine-wicket win, while Keira (5-151) beat Corrimal (7-137) in the other semi.
Wollongong were declared winners of the Illawarra Twenty20 comp last year after having the best run rate when both the semi-final and final were washed out.
The previous year the whole competition had had to be abandoned. And Keira won the 2009-10 title, beating Wollongong in the final.
Studholme admitted it would mean a lot more this season to win the final, set for February 17.
‘‘Last year it was a bit of a win by default. This year, with no rain, hopefully if we win it we’ll really have earned it.’’
After finishing second in their pool behind Corrimal, Studholme says the short form of the game suits his side.
‘‘We’re like Twenty20 specialists – the format suits us and we’ve been pretty successful the past couple of years,’’ he said.
Batting first, the Magpies posted 6-128, with Balgownie all-rounder James Fleming (51) and David Giorgio (37 not out) top-scoring.
Wollongong’s NSW Country star Andrew Hicks bowled the spell of the match, taking 2-13 off his four overs.
Troy Yabsley (55not out) and Studholme (66not out) batted superbly as the Lighthouse Keepers reached the target with 4.4overs to spare.
At Ziems Park, Corrimal were without a couple of key players who were competing in the Country Colts under21s.
Keira batted well to post 5-151, led by opener Mark Johnston (43) and Jonathon Cook (41). Adam Brown took 3-25 for the Cougars.
Keira restricted the home side to 7-137, with Keira skipper Graeme Batty taking 2-27.