Mornington are through to the Gunnedah District cricket competition grand final.

The side accounted for Court House in a semi-final thriller by one wicket last Saturday at Wolseley Oval.

This Saturday, at the same venue Wolseley Oval, Mornington will take on competition minor premiers Albion, which cruised through the home and away season undefeated to earn their spot to contest the 2023/24 premiership.

Although the competition consisted of Twenty20 fixtures throughout the season, finals matches have reverted to 40-over, one day matches.

At the weekend, Court House won the toss and decided to bat first.

Mornington opening bowlers Lachie Straney and Nick Herring applied the pressure early and it was Straney who reaped the benefits of their bowling partnership. He dismissed gun Court House junior, Keaton Walters, LBW to provide the early breakthrough.

At the other end, Herring also chipped in for Mornington and took three quick wickets to rip out the Court House top order and leave them in trouble at 4/32 after 10 overs.

Court House fought back though and through a vital 30-run, fifth wicket partnership between Brad Gander and Braithen Winsor, enabled themselves to wrestle back the early momentum Mornington had.

While Herring remained stringent in his line and length at one end, Mornington rotated the attack at the other and the introduction of Ben Hennessy brought about immediate effect.

Hennessy broke the brewing partnership of Winsor and Gander, with Gander caught in the 17th over for 19.

Court House consolidated to the halfway 20-over mark, with Winsor joined by Will Hicks at the crease to see Court House to 5/71 at the drinks interval.

Winsor was the key for Court House and in finding an ally in Hicks, their partnership would provide the backbone of the Court House innings.

Mornington reverted to spin through Richard Avendano and Josh Langdon, which meant Winsor and Hicks were able to rotate the strike fluently through their partnership, batting the next 15 overs in a partnership of 61.

In the 35th over, Hicks attempted to gather quick runs for his side and boost the score, but was lulled into a false shot by Langdon to be caught, but not before compiling a crucial 20 runs for his side.

Winsor soon followed for a team high and patient 39 runs.

Winsor’s dismissal all but signalled the end of the Court House innings, with the re-introduction of Herring to claim his fourth wicket and Langdon two more of his own, to wrap up the Court House innings for a competitive 133 in the last over of the innings.

Herring bowled beautifully for Mornington and took the bowling honours, claiming 4/27 and was backed up by Langdon who snared 3/16 off his five over spell.

In need of a solid opening stand in pursuit of the target, Mornington were served exactly that through opening batsmen Justin Carter and Andrew Johns.

Together they nullified the new ball and Court House opening bowlers Peter McCormack and Jaycob Price, progressing the score to 32 without loss in the first 10 overs.

Fresh off scoring 39, Winsor’s injection into the Court House bowling attack paid immediate dividends.

Winsor removed Johns, caught for 19 to provide the breakthrough for Court House, bringing Langdon to the crease for Mornington to join Carter.

Together, they took Mornington to safety by the 20-over drinks break at 1/59 but still 75 runs in arrears.

The introduction of Sam Doubleday through off-spin turned the Mornington innings on its head after the drinks interval. Doubleday took two wickets in an over and from 1/59, Mornington slumped to 3/68 in the 22nd over, but crucially Carter remained and would prove to be pivotal to Mornington.

Joined by Ben Hennessy, they forged a much-needed partnership of 37 to chip away at the target, until Hennessy fell to Doubelday for his third victim to keep Court House in the match at 4/105 after 30 overs.

Jonah Cameron chipped in with a wicket for Court House and when Doubleday claimed his fourth, Court House looked as though they could wrap up the Mornington innings.

At 6/111, Carter remained irremovable and despite the wickets falling around him, anchored the chase for Mornington in a sublime innings of determination and concentration.

Mornington lost a further wicket at 7/126, but Court House couldn’t remove Carter and by the 38th over, his 45 not out secured victory for Mornington – best of the bowling for Court House was Doubleday with 4/27 but his efforts were in vain.

The Mornington win earned them a spot in the grand final against Albion, which will prove to be a replay of last season where Mornington, who are reigning premiers, will aim to produce back-to-back Gunnedah District cricket premiership success.

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