The Dalton Dingos, dark horses of the Yass District Cricket Association A and B Grade competition, have begun their gallop towards a first Triggs Shield title.
As underdogs against the Bowning Buffaloes in Saturday's preliminary final, the Dingos upset the second-ranked favourites to claim a gritty four-wicket win and a spot in this Saturday's grand final.
Having lost the toss and been asked to bowl first on Joe O'Connor Park's synthetic wicket, the Dingos got off to a slow start as Bowning's openers batted well.
When the first-wicket partnership reached 48 runs, it appeared Dalton were in for a long day.
However, perennial partnership-breaker and Dingos captain, Mick Poidevin, had other thoughts.
He ripped out David Brown for 13 and cleaned bowled Andrew Swaffield for for 35, and suddenly the Buffaloes were without both opening batsmen and looked vulnerable.
Anthony O'Mara was next out for two, bowled by Jamie Apps, before Mick saw off Lachlan O'Mara and Aaron Wilson to have four of the first five wickets as Bowning reeled at 5-81.
Though Dalton only took three more wickets, Poidevin's spell restricted the Buffaloes to 8-124 off their 40 overs.
"Fairly confident [in chasing the total] if our openers got cracking," Mick said after the match.
"It makes it a lot easier for the rest of us to come in and play with a bit of freedom."
Dalton's openers followed the game plan to a tee in the second innings. Though Harry Morris was dismissed for five after he was bowled by a cracker from Angus Bennett-Burleigh, Jamie Apps scored 28 from 21 balls with three fours and a six.
With his trademark front-on batting stance and a lack of gloves, Apps swung at every ball he faced while Brent Poidevin played himself in at the other end.
After Apps was dismissed, Brent - who played an uncharacteristically circumspect innings - was joined by Neil Corby.
The pair put on 41 for the third wicket, before Corby holed out off Swaffield for 22 with the score at 83.
This sparked a minor collapse as new man in Brad Hansen was quickly dismissed by Swaffield, and Brent followed 10 runs later for a 60-ball 28.
Anthony O'Mara took another wicket, that of Nathan Apps, before Andrew Hansen (17*) and Marty Smith (14*) polished off the chase with four wickets and seven overs remaining.
The win sets up a clash between the DIngos and the Yass Golf Club Cobras in this weekend's Triggs Shield final.
The Cobras have been the standout side all year, and will be rearing to go after a fortnight off since the semi-final.
However, Mick is confident the Dingos can cause a major upset on Saturday.
"I think we go into the grand final underrated, and I think we come out with a victory," he said.
"[The Cobras] were probably hoping for this result, but we proved today that we can knock off the big teams."
While any side in a grand final has reason to be confident, the Dingos have past form to back up their certainty.
Dalton was the first side to beat the Cobras all year, having recorded a three-run win in round four.
The Triggs Shield grand final between the Dalton Dingos and Yass Golf Club Cobras will be played this Saturday, March 14, at Victoria Park from 12.30pm.
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