Sydney University and Randwick Petersham have progressed to the First Grade Limited-Overs Cup Grand Final with contrasting semi-final wins on Sunday.
The students, who finished top of the Limited-Overs table, amazingly tied with fourth-placed Penrith and booked a home Grand Final courtesy of a higher qualifying position.
Off-spinning allrounder Ryan McElduff (67 not out) and No. 11 batsman Ben Joy (13) ultimately saved Sydney University in a nail-biting chase that went down to the third last ball.
The pair shared a 46-run partnership for the final wicket. Both sides tied on 199 at University Oval and were each dismissed in the 50th over.
Third-placed Randwick Petersham convincingly defeated defending champions Sydney by 69 runs at Drummoyne Oval. Opening batsman Shaun Eaton starred for the victors with 113 from 101 balls.
It will be the third consecutive Limited-Overs Grand Final for Sydney University, next Sunday, and first for Randwick Petersham since it won the Cup in 2011/12.
The students were in trouble at 6/125 in the 31st over with Brisbane Heat and former NSW Blues quick Josh Lalor claiming the top four batsmen, including University captain Liam Robertson (39) and Sydney Sixers allrounder Hayden Kerr (41).
The left-arm paceman returned 4-33 from 10 overs but a rallying effort by McElduff and Joy defied Penrith.
Left-arm pace bowler Dugald Holloway returned best figures for University with 3-42 from 8.3 overs.
Eaton’s match-defining century contributed to a total of 7/280 posted by Randwick Petersham from its 50 overs at Coogee Oval.
He shared a 108-run partnership with English County batsman Daniel Bell-Drummond (39), for the second wicket, that provided the platform for the match-winning total.
Seamer Adam Semple also remained unbeaten on 47 from 39 deliveries.
In reply, Sydney was dismissed for 211 on the first ball of the 45th over. England County batsman Stephen Eskinazi ran out of partners and remained 76 not out from as many balls.
Semple (3-37) and left-arm finger spinner Riley Ayre (3-33) were two of the three multiple wicket takers for Randwick Petersham. Former Indian Premier League player, Ryan Ninan, was the other taking 2-37 from his 10 overs of off-spin.
NSW Premier Cricket – First Grade Limited-Overs Cup
Sydney University 199 (R McElduff 67no H Kerr 41 L Robertson 39 J Lalor 4-33 M Collins 2-39 H Railz 2-41 R Smith 2-47) tied with Penrith 199 (J Browne 47 T Liddiard 41 R Gibson 25 J Lalor 21 D Holloway 3-42 B Joy 2-38) at University Oval;
Randwick Petersham 7-280 (S Eaton 113 A Semple 47no D Bell-Drummond 39 W Affleck 33 N Bills 2-56 H Manenti 2-58) bt Sydney 211 (S Eskinazi 76no N Gubbins 29 B McClintock 21 R Ayre 3-33 A Semple 3-37 R Ninan 2-37) at Drummoyne Oval.
Grand Final (Sunday 23 Feb):
Sydney University v Randwick Petersham at University Oval.