They're calling it the Miracle at McGrath.

 

Sutherland's fourth grade cricket side is into this weekend's grand final against arch-rival and neighbour St George after pulling off a near impossible semi-final escape.

 

Needing only to avoid defeat to go through to the decider, the young Sharks sent Sydney Uni into bat and they responded with an imposing 4-315 (dec) at Glenn McGrath Oval.

 

Sutherland lost a wicket late in the day, leaving them with a straight-forward equation heading into day two - score 292 runs off a minimum of 96 overs or bat the day out for a draw and advance to the grand final.

Both options appeared off the table when Sutherland slumped to 6-31, thanks largely to a catastrophic over which saw three wickets fall in six balls.

By lunch they were eight wickets down and the winning target was irrelevant.

But captain James Hawksworth and No.10 Zac Philipson weren't finished with, digging in and batting for time in the hope of salvaging an unlikely draw.

Gradually the overs ticked by and, two hours later, they were still there when the teams trudged off for afternoon tea.

Philipson hung on for a fine 51 from 195 balls before being trapped lbw deep in the last session.

His partnership with Hawksworth yielded 137 off 390 balls for the ninth wicket – a new ninth wicket record for fourth grade.

Philipson's exit brought No.11 Luke Ritchie to the middle with a nerve-wracking 37 minutes still to go.

As word spread and a crowd started to gather, Hawksworth brought up a magnificent century as the overs ticked by.

By now every dot ball was being applauded.

Ritchie found himself on strike for the 105th and final over of the day.

He blocked it out to ensure the mostly unlikeliest of draws before jubilant Sutherland players and supporters stormed the ground to celebrate with the undefeated batsmen.  

The Sharks finished on 9-231 from 122 overs, with Hawksworth batting 315 minutes and facing 282 balls for his unbeaten 110.

Ritchie was nine not out off 41 balls.

The performance is being hailed as one of the greatest in Sutherland's 56-year history.

The young Sharks meet St George in the grand final on Saturday-Sunday at Hurstville Oval.

The Dragons will also contest the second grade grand final against Manly at Manly Oval.

The Waratahs have only won seconds once in the last 115 years. 

In the other grades, Northern District take on Eastern Suburbs in thirds and NDs are up against Gordon in fifths.

Schedules here (change grade under the 'Grade' tab).