A gritty middle-order push and another impressive bowling display have seen Colts past Marist and into the grand final. It is the Bunbury powerhouse’s first appearance in the Bunbury and District’s Cricket Association’s decider since 2019 — when they beat Eaton — who they will meet again this weekend. It means Marist are the first side since 2018 to be bundled out of the finals in straight sets. Chasing their first victory at Forrest Park since round one last season, the visitors’ solid early base was blown apart by surprise selection Daniel Lomax when Brian Hughes sent a ball up the chimney to keeper Cooper Dehring and fellow opener Jake Michell was bowled just two balls later. The ball to dismiss Michell made such deft with his off-bail, the bustling Marist quick appealed for a caught behind, but a 65-ball 47 from Bevan Bennell in tandem with Riley Miguel helped Colts right the ship again. Miguel turned his hand to taking down gun spinner Corey Fitt and in his typically laconic style, dispatched his first two balls to the boundary. But the representative spinner would have the final say, ripping a Warne-like leggie past Miguel’s outside edge for Dehring to take the bails off. Bennell hit Alan Utterson back over his head for a monster six as he and Murray Goodwin navigated the middle overs, while three boundaries came off Brayden Clarke’s first over. Fitt dismissed Goodwin and the Bennell in quick succession — Colts’ prized recruit slashing at a wide-one which finished in the hands of Shawn Gillies at cover. When Clarke and Wilson dismissed Christian Pitcher and Caillin Blackwood in consecutive overs, the visitors were seven down with two new batters at the crease. Contributions from each of Pitcher, Blackwood and Cruize Ciallella, meant they were able to grind their way to 181. And just like they did against Steve Denison and Leschenault the week before, Colts’ openers were forced to ride out a blistering opening stand by Ben Clarke. The competition’s leading run-scorer cruised to 21 from just 24 balls, including four boundaries in a knock that looked to have his team well on its way, before a stunning Pitcher catch to dismiss him was followed by the demise of Davis and then Gillies without a run being added. At 3/32, Brayden Clarke dug in for more than an hour and a half to score 30, before Josh Topliss trapped him in front. Cooper Dehring went soon after and attention turned to Lomax, who made a shock return to the first-grade team in place of Sam Roots. The bowling all-rounder, who had opened the batting in the twos, hit 15 off just 20 balls to keep his side in the hunt, but the remaining wickets fell quickly with Fitt and Ben Shipley combining for just 12, while number 10 Utterson and number 11 Wilson both made ducks. Topliss finished with four wickets, taking him to nine for the finals series, Colts will carry one injury concern into Saturday and Sunday’s grand final, with Ciallella coming off the field with a shoulder injury mid-way through Marist’s innings. The left-arm off-spinner did return, and would go on to bowl nearly seven overs and take two wickets.