Mornington are through to the Gunnedah District grand final after defeating Court House by 71 runs at Wolseley Oval in their semi-final match last weekend.

The win for Mornington means they will take on Albion in the competitions decider, who progressed through to the grand final after finishing the regular season as minor premiers in season 2022/23.

Mornington’s win was achieved off the back of starring performances from Ryan Smith with the bat and then opening bowler Lachie Straney ripping through the Court House batting line up with the ball.

Batting first, opener Ryan Smith set the platform for his side and batted the majority of the innings for Mornington.

Although losing opening partner Henry Johns caught off the bowling of Braithen Winsor, Smith was joined by Mornington captain Justin Carter as they set about resurrecting the early set back.

Smith was the main aggressor in their partnership and was particularly savage on anything bowled in his half of the wicket, stroking numerous drives along the ground and through the air.

Carter and Smith took the score to 1/37 off the first 10 overs for Mornington, ticking the score along at just under four an over.

Their partnership flourished as Smith continued in his attacking vain, posting his half century shortly before the drinks interval.

Carter was the perfect foil for Smith and their free flowing partnership progressing the score at the midway 20 over point of the innings to 1/91.

Court House struck back after the interval though and the introduction of Sam Doubleday’s off spin into the attack extracted Carter’s wicket for a patient 27.

Although Doubleday broke Smith and Carter’s 85 run partnership, Mornington were on still in command and on track for a large total at 2/96 after 22 overs.

Court House remained relevant and as Peter McCormack took the wicket of Aaron Condrick, Mornington were struck a double blow leaving them 3/106 with 15 overs remaining in their innings.

Smith remained unperturbed though and Marcus Hayne followed the lead of his captain Carter in picking the singles for his more aggressive partner in Smith.

In the blink of an eye they had put on a partnership of 54 for the fourth wicket, until Smith’s vigil ended on 85 attempting to boost the total towards 200 and was caught off the bowling of Oscar King.

Smith had done the damage though and finished with a brilliant and chanceless 85, ensuring Mornington were in control of the game at 4/160 with five overs remaining.

Hayne continued with his tip and run style innings and despite Mornington falling short of 200, his 27 not out was instrumental in the back end of the innings for Mornington to post 6/185 after their 40 overs.

Chasing 186 for victory, the daunting target for Court House was ripped at the seams by Mornington opening bowler Lachie Straney in his first spell.

Straney blasted out the Court House top order, including the key scalps of Oscar King and captain Kyle Gallen and leaving the Court House run chase in tatters at 5/28 inside the first 10 overs, as Straney emphatically claimed all five Court House wickets enroute to a personal five wicket haul.

Despite Straney’s brutal opening spell, Jacob Price and Ken Walters began resurrecting Court House’s flailing innings through a counter attack.

Price was vigilant on anything short and asserted himself as the main aggressor, whilst Walters played second fiddle to rotate the strike for his more aggressive partner.

Their sixth wicket partnership mounted a fightback and by the 20 over drinks interval they had clawed Courthouse back into the match at 5/88.

Drinks became Court House’s Achilles heel and although Price had dragged Court House back into the match, the re-introduction of Straney saw his wicket fall and to collect his sixth for the match.

Walters remained defiant in his 23 not out, but Josh Langdon wrapped up the innings for Mornington and on the back of Straney’s match defining 6/28, Mornington completed the 86 run win to bundle Court house out for 111 and progress through to the grand final against Albion this weekend. 

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