Frenchville, Gracemere clash comes down to last over
CRICKET: The Gracemere Bulls will have to play the Capricorn Challenge semi-final in Gladstone after being beaten by minor premiers Frenchville in the last game of the regular season.
Their rivals, The Glen, secured second place and semi hosting rights after BITS forfeited to them on Saturday.
Gracemere were sitting second before Saturday's game but the nail-biting loss consigned them to third place.
The Glen will play Gracemere this Saturday at Sun Valley Oval with the winner to meet Frenchville in the decider the following day at the Rockhampton Cricket Grounds.
Gracemere batted first on Saturday, scoring 6/155 from their 40 overs.
The Harmsworth brothers led the way, Todd top-scoring with 46 and Aaron making 31.
Chaice Bidgood and Joe Burke were the best of Frenchville's bowlers, taking two wickets apiece.
Frenchville started well with the bat, with skipper Brent Hartley putting on 42, but the run chase stalled when Gracemere managed to bag several quick wickets in the middle of the innings.
Luke Taylor stood tall, scoring a valuable 25, but the pressure was on when the lower order batsmen needed to score 36 runs from 36 balls.
Enter Logan Whitfield and Chaice Bidgood, who finished unbeaten on 24 and 16 respectively to guide Frenchville to victory in the last over.
Spinner Justin Peacock was the pick of Gracemere's bowlers, finishing with 3/19 from his eight overs.
Hartley said it was a good game to win leading into the grand final.
"We've probably found ourselves in that position a few times before so the boys at the end know how to get those last crucial runs,” he said.
"They had a bit of a job to do. There was a bit of pressure on but they came through with the goods.
"The last couple of weeks we've really performed well as a team, we haven't relied on too many people individually.”
Gracemere skipper Aaron Harmsworth said while there were positives with the bat, his team let itself down with the ball and in the field.
"I felt as though our score was enough, to be honest. It was a very slow outfield so it was probably more a score of 180,” he said.
"It was definitely enough runs, we just didn't bowl tight enough and our fielding let us down, which is unusual for the boys.
"Justin Peacock bowled really well, he got us back in the game but unfortunately he can only bowl eight overs.
"It was another good game and that's what you play for, those really tight ones. You learn more about your team playing those sorts of games.”