AUSTRALIAN Ben Phillips notched his highest score in Netherfield colours as the Parkside Road club maintained their perfect TWP Wealth Twenty20 record this season and secured a much-coveted place at finals day.
Phillips put on 90 for the first wicket with skipper Marc Brown, eventually falling for 60 as Netherfield posted 174-3 from their 20 overs, with Saliya Saman adding 41.
In reply, professional Paul Hindmarch led the charge with 59 as Penrith fell 15 runs short with 159-6, as Mark Clarkson notched three wickets.
Phillips and Brown ensured Netherfield started in positive fashion, with the duo bringing up their half century partnership inside seven overs, as Jonothan Osborne, Greg Hall and Hindmarch went wicketless.
The duo continued in a similar vein, with Netherfield 80-0 at the halfway stage and well-placed to post an intimidating score and effectively bat Penrith out the game.
Brown was the first wicket to fall, succumbing to the off-spin of Karanjit Bansal for 37 after picking out Hall on the boundary.
This brought Sri Lankan Saman to the crease as Netherfeld reached three figures in the 14th over before Phillips departed for a well-constructed 60, caught by Will Tyson off Penrith captain Kriss McLean.
Phillips’ knock lasted 51 balls and contained three fours and four sixes, with John Huck joining forces with Saman as the big-hitters looked to give the Netherfield some late impetus.
The visitors added 56 runs in the final five overs, with Saman the most prominent batsmen, clearing the boundary rope three times en route to a powerful 41.
The Sri Lankan was run out on the penultimate ball of the 17th over, bringing his 24-ball stay at the crease to an end, as two lusty blows saw Huck finish unbeaten on 19.
Despite not taking a wicket, Hindmarch returned the most impressive figures, conceding only 19 runs from his four allocated overs, while in contrast McLean returned 1-48 off his four.
Chasing 175 for victory, Penrith found themselves under early pressure as Clarkson once again proved a destructive force with a wicket in each of his first two overs.
After striking a boundary off the second ball of the innings, Ryan Carruthers – who scored 44 in the reverse fixture – departed for five after being bowled by Clarkson.
The former Bolton le Sands seamer was at it again shortly afterwards, bowling Bansal for six as Penrith slumped to 11-2 at the end of third.
Cumberland batsman Alex Atkinson began to rebuild the run chase alongside Hindmarch, with the pair bringing up the Penrith 50 in the eighth over.
Brad Earl struck to bowl Atkinson for 25, as Hindmarch and Tony Threlkeld ensured Penrith reached three figures in the 15th over.
With the Penrith score on 119, slow left-armer Tom Williamson bowled Hindmarch for 59, a vital wicket as the 26-year-old was looking in ominous mood, with six maximums in his 40-ball innings.
Threlkeld and Nicky Burns both rallied, with the latter next to go, caught behind by Ben Barrow off the first delivery of Stuart Dixon’s final over.
With Penrith 146-5 at the end of the 18th over, an economical six balls from Saman followed, leaving Penrith needing 23 to win from the final over.
Clarkson – who finished with 3-20 – conceded seven and bowled Burns off the final ball of the match for an enterprising 19-ball 29, as Netherfield qualify for finals day with one fixture remaining.