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BDCA 2023: Marist survive final-ball thriller to dump Donnybrook out of finals race

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisBunbury Herald
Cory Fitt (Marist) sets off for a run as Donnybrook's Tim Doulton completes his follow through.
Camera IconCory Fitt (Marist) sets off for a run as Donnybrook's Tim Doulton completes his follow through. Credit: Justin Fris/South Western Times

Prior to Saturday’s do-or-die showdown against Marist at Egan Park, Donnybrook had spent the majority of the season in the top four.

It was supposed to be a year when this promising side, aided by the inclusion of mature UK import Robbie Dawson, finally snapped their first grade finals drought.

However in a top four game of musical chairs on the final day of the regular season, Donnybrook’s chair was pulled out from under them by the Blues, who finished in fourth spot ahead of them on percentage.

The visitors received a massive boost prior to the clash, with inspirational all-rounder Brayden Clarke available for selection — something which has not always been the case this season due to work commitments.

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Winning the toss and batting, Marist began positively with Haydn Slodecki and skipper Kyle Davis (75 off 118 balls) at the crease.

Even with Slodecki departed, Davis was ably supported by all-rounder Cory Fitt (75 off 107 balls), who together put on a 127-run partnership for the second wicket.

Cruising at 1-165 with fewer than 10 overs remaining, the Blues aimed to turn the screws into overdrive, which resulted in a flurry of wickets falling, although their final tally of 6-217 appeared a solid total to bowl at.

In reply, the Dons fell to 2-24 early courtesy of two wickets to Dan Lomax, however the calming presence of Bradman May and Adam Bilston helped the hosts regain some composure in their pursuit of 218.

Slowly but surely, the Blues bowlers got on top, and at 9-185 with a handful of overs left, it looked as though Donnybrook’s bubble would burst at any moment.

However Marist were forced to sweat until the very last ball, with tailenders Izaak Bedford and Noah Greenmount throwing caution to the wind and doing all they could to get their side over the line.

Needing six to win off the final ball, Bedford was caught by Slodecki to end proceedings, however he and Greenmount did not die wondering, as they gave the Dons life when all hope appeared gone.

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