HASTINGS and Lismore will play the 2014 Walter Taylor Shield Final at New England Mutual Armidale Sportsground today.
The two sides finished top of their four-team pools in contrasting styles yesterday.
Hastings had to overcome a gallant Ballina in a thriller at Rologas, sneaking to a one wicket win, while Lismore knocked host side Armidale out with a 121-run win in their match at Harris Park.
Lismore scored 263 in 44.2 overs, with Elliott Nance (77) topscoring.
Tom Carlton (55), Dane Pratt (35), Cooper Stahl (34) and Jacob Graham (14) also batted well while Pratt also starred with the ball.
The right-arm opening bowler claimed a couple of early Armidale wickets and then returned to clean up the tail with four more.
He finished with 6-16 while spinner Will Parsons continued his consistent form to grab 2-22 off his 10 overs.
Lismore coach Trevor Graham said his young side was looking forward to today’s final.
“It’s been a fantastic carnival – they’ve had a great time,” Graham said.
“They’ve enjoyed themselves and played some good cricket.
“It’s also been a great team effort.
All the boys have contributed with bat and ball.”
Carnival co-ordinator Ian Reeves said the 2014 WTS had gone off well.
“The weather’s been great and we’ve had some very high- scoring matches and some very impressive individual performances as well.
“The two best teams are playing the final.
“Hastings look very strong and Lismore has some big hitters.”
Hastings snuck home against Ballina yesterday thanks to a fine 90 from Dan Middleton.
He was the ninth man out at 159 when the two sides were level after a half century partnership.
Ballina will play West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook in the playoff for fifth at Rologas while Armidale tackles Penrith in the playoff for third at Lambert Park.
Tamworth and Hunter Valley seek their first wins at Harris Park in their playoff for seventh.
Tamworth batted first and made 131 against Penrith yesterday, with Tom Fitzgerald and Lachlan Fauchon hitting 23 and Adam Cruickshank 18.
Penrith, in reply, got the runs without losing a wicket and with 23 overs in hand.
“They batted well and hit the gaps,” Tamworth coach Simon Hood said.
Josh Heins was the main protagonist and was unbeaten on 64 while Chaitnya Sharma finished 39 not out.
Hood thought they didn’t bat that badly.
“We lost our first wicket at 16 overs,” he said.
The plan was to go through to first drinks.
“We just fell short of that,” he said.
“But then we got bogged down. We didn’t tick the score over.”
It started straight after drinks, with Penrith bowling three consecutive maidens.
They also again lost too many wickets in clumps, which has been the story of their carnival, although they did make it to 46 overs.
Hood was also pleased with the way they didn’t give up in the field.
After getting off to a flyer they restricted Penrith to just 26 runs from their last 10 overs.
Jason Orton was the main destroyer for Penrith, claiming 4-22.