It’s the first of the elimination rounds in Gulgong cricket, and RSL is chasing the chance to go three in a row after taking top honours for the past two years.
Bowlers and defending champions RSL have met multiple times already this season, but the last time they clashed was a close affair, with RSL running down the Bowlers by just a single run off the back of a massive pile of 88 for Mark Hundy, even under Mick Jarvis’ 4 downed wickets.
The contest at Victoria Park promised to be equally tight, as the Bowlers got off to a thrilling start.
Although Amit Sutaria was sent packing early for just ten runs, Mark Gorrie and Lachlan Henry set a base in their partnership, with Gorrie tallying 51 runs and Henry pocketing 34.
Darren Coubrough added 15 late on for the Bowlers as they batted their way to a 132 total off their ten wickets.
It was Greg Parish that ripped apart the batting order with a five-star performance, bowling four of the batsmen cleanly and taking a fifth with an LBW. In the end he allowed just 25 runs off his 7.5 overs, including a maiden over.
Geoff Lee recorded the next best of the bowling for RSL, taking 2/24 and recording two maidens from his eight overs, with Mick Jarvis equally two wickets and two maidens, but he allowed 8 more runs over his two additional overs.
Then it was Gulgong RSL up to bat and looking to repeat their Round 18 performance in running down the Bowlers’ run count.
Hundy opened the accounts with 38 runs, and even though his opening partner Cal Ruming fell for just 8 runs, Jared Clulow followed through with 19 more of his own.
It was hat-trick heroics from Henry and Gorrie that skittled the order however, and the run chase found difficult under the shadow of their balls – Gorrie took his three off 8.1 overs and allowed just 21 runs, while Henry allowed just 3.5 runs average in each of his ten overs.
Glories went to the Bowlers this time around however, as RSL fell all out for 111 runs, 21 runs off the mark and too far to make the final, denying RSL the chance to take three wins in a row and defend their crown.
Now Bowlers will take on Goolma on the weekend in the pinnacle battle of the season, where Goolma look to change their fortunes after falling at the final hurdle last season.
The match will be again played at Victoria Park on March 19 between the two championship hopefuls, kicking off at 10am.