League champions Tuff Dogs and CV Chargers remain on course to complete the Evening Cricket League’s coveted double after coasting through their knockout semi-finals.
Tuff Dogs, bidding for a fourth consecutive double after winning the Premier League by nine points, face The Associates, the team they hammered by 66 runs in last season’s final.
Newcomers CV Chargers will take on PHC — the team they edged by three points for the First Division league title — in Saturday’s other final at Somerset Cricket Club, after a boundary-filled century from Dean Stephens saw PHC safely through at the expense of Bad Byes.
Terence Corday, captain of Tuff Dogs, said: “As for the final, we know it will be another competitive game against The Associates, who came out with a very good side last week.
“We are looking forward to trying to exact revenge on them for giving us our only league defeat this year. Should be two great games at our new finals venue and, hopefully, a few of the other teams will come out and show their support.”
Tuff Dogs face The Associates in the opener at 10.30am, with CV Chargers taking on PHC at 2.30pm.
Maclaren Lowe led the way with his side’s top score of 59 as Tuff Dogs eased to a seven-wicket win at Shelly Bay over Fine Leg Byes, who earned a place in the knockout after BCB Academy withdrew because of overseas school commitments.
Dave Greenidge’s 69 helped FLB post 138 for five in 20 overs — expanded from the 16-over format used in league games — with Trevor Corday taking two for 30. Corday then helped Tuff Dogs reach their target with eight balls to spare by making 40 as Kwame Tucker chipped in with 20.
League runners-up The Associates squeezed home by one wicket with an over to spare against Renegades in a low-scoring game.
After winning the toss, The Associates restricted Renegades to 106 for nine, Ryan Miller making top score of 30, as Bron Turner pegged them back with impressive figures of five for 17.
In reply, Will Tyrell, with 28, and 22 apiece from Tom Edwards and Mike Penrose got The Associates over the line, despite three wickets each for Albert Arnold and Mark Wray.
Winning captain Simon Jones said: “It always seems to go right down to the wire when we play Renegades and credit should go to our bowlers who did a fantastic job in restricting them to a manageable score.
“Bron was superb and ably supported by the rest of the bowling attack and the team. We took our catches and that made a big difference.
“Initially, it looked like we were cruising to their total, but Renegades never make it easy and pegged us back with regular breakthroughs.
“There was a deep sigh of relief in the camp when Richie Biram knocked off the winning runs to put us in another final.”
Looking forward to Saturday’s clash against Tuff Dogs, Jones added: “Hopefully, this year we can go one better than we did last year against the usual rivals.”
Somers Carr led from the front as CV Chargers beat North Village by six wickets with four balls to spare at Southampton Oval, taking three for 14 and then cracking an unbeaten 83.
Dion Ball belted 75 and Nakia Smith made 30 in Village’s 154 for eight, with Will Haddrell matching his captain’s three-wicket haul. Price Smith then helped Carr secure victory by making 44.
In the other semi-final, Stephens, who also plays for Cleveland County, smashed eight sixes and ten fours in his 102 and Ian Armstrong struck 56 not out, including six sixes and four fours, in PHC’s 66-run victory after they piled up 236 for five before restricting Bad Byes to 170 for eight, Gareth Jones making 31, Carlos Lee 25, Stephen Palmer 23 and Arun Kikkeri 21.