Action from the last round of Armidale first grade's two-day season

The final round of the first grade cricket season started on Saturday with a top-of-the-table clash between Hillgrove and Easts.

Easts entered the game with momentum on their side after a grand final win last Sunday to mark the completion of the one-day season. 

Last week both captains cited the winner of this match would hold a mental edge heading into the finals. 

At the end of the first day Easts had the upper hand, dismissing Hillgrove for 81 and ending play at 6-106. 

“We got a couple of early wickets which is nice and being a massive batting side that they have, the likes of Andrew Brownlie at seven and Dick Heagney at eight, just proves the calibre of batting they had and proves how well we bowled,” Easts captain Sam Uphill said. 

“I think that is one of the best bowling performances I have been in.”

Hillgrove captain Matt Schaefer was his team’s top run scorer with 29 while the rest of the team managed 13 or less. 

“Schaef looked really good, it's probably not a nice thing to say but it was probably the best I have seen him all year,” Uphill said. 

“Apparently he has been good all year but he looked like he was really determined to score big runs on Saturday so it was nice to get him relatively cheaply.

“He put up a big fight but he did bat really well.”

Todd Francis picked up three wickets including the key one of Schaefer while Uphill, Matt Jackson and Jackson Gwynne nabbed two each and Tyson Burey finished with one. 

With the bat, Francis finished with 50 not out while Hillgrove’s Max Laurie was their best bowler with 2-3.

Guyra are set to miss the finals but will search to finish their season on a high note in their final round match against Ex-Services after their most recent win over City. 

At Guyra turf, the host’s bowlers set to work early to dismiss Servies for 52. 

Jake Ellis finished with 5-29, BJ Cameron 3-12 and Tom Smith 2-7. 

“The pitch was a very poppy pitch, we just bowled in the right spots and it was very similar to [the previous match against] City I thought,” captain Charlie Keen said. 

“They just couldn't get going and we just kept bowling nice and tight.

“Jake and BJ just seem to work off each other.

“Tommy Smith came in and we just finished them off.”

Guyra declared late in the day at 7-140 with BJ Cameron the side’s top-scorer with 49 runs. 

Matt Finlay smashed 29 runs which included belting three sixes to send Servies’ fielders on a search for the ball. 

“With the batting, the pressure was off us a bit, we had all day to bat and we did,” Keen said.

“I think we could have batted until the very end and even next Saturday but I messed up on a declaration rule there. 

“I am happy with the way we batted, very happy with the way we bowled and we are in a great spot and very confident for a second Saturday. 

“Matty Finlay batted sensationally, kept losing the ball.”