Hawks de­fend­ing top-four po­si­tion

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY ‘ONE SHORT’

The end of round nine in Grampians Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion A Grade pro­vided a sur­prise vic­tory, a pre­dictable end­ing and an out­right re­sult, al­low­ing Taty­oon to jump into the top four at the ex­pense of Aradale.

The sur­prise re­sult was Pomonal’s de­feat of sec­ond-placed Buan­gor.

Need­ing just 54 runs with seven wick­ets in hand, Buan­gor man­aged to lose 7-41 thanks mainly to Lee Oliver’s 6-18.

The only Buan­gor bats­man to show any fight was Ja­cob Bates with an un­beaten 19.

This vic­tory en­sures Pomonal’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the fi­nals.

Pre­dictably, Aradale was un­able to match Swifts-great Western’s 340 and fin­ished its game at 8-173.

Riley Wood and vet­eran Clin­ton Rodger each scored 33 to be the best of the bats­men, while three bowlers each took two wick­ets for the Com­bine.

The bowl­ing of 21 maid­ens from 77 overs was prob­a­bly the high­light of the bowl­ing.

Taty­oon gained max­i­mum points at Halls Gap’s ex­pense to leapfrog over Aradale into the four.

Re­sum­ing at 5-42, the Gap­pers’ first in­nings closed at 90 with Sean Man­tell the main con­trib­u­tor with 33. Seek­ing max­i­mum points, Taty­oon, which had made 222 the week be­fore, forced Halls Gap to bat again and this time Halls Gap man­aged 138, with Damien Folkes scor­ing 51.

This left the Hawks just seven runs to win. The star of this match was Hawks skip­per Michael Har­ricks with 112 runs and 13-72, an un­be­liev­able all-round ef­fort. This week sees the start of the fi­nal home-and-away round with the main in­ter­est whether Aradale can re­claim its po­si­tion in the four.

Go­ing into the round Aradale is four points shy of fourth-placed Taty­oon.

Pomonal plays Taty­oon and Aradale takes on Halls Gap, so Aradale will look for Pomonal to top­ple Taty­oon, and at a min­i­mum, gain first-in­nings points it­self against the Gap­pers.

If Taty­oon gains first-in­nings points over Pomonal, Aradale will need the full 10 points avail­able to draw level on points and use their su­pe­rior per­cent­age to re­place Taty­oon in the fi­nals.

To com­pli­cate matters, Halls Gap’s only win came against Aradale. Both Pomonal and Taty­oon showed good form in the last round, so this should be a great match. The game is at Pomonal, where on the small, fast ground, runs will be the key.

Hawks skip­per Har­ricks is in white-hot form and will be the key for Taty­oon, while the Tigers will look to Lee Oliver for his lead­er­ship with the ball.

Aradale will be hop­ing John But­ler is avail­able for its game to strengthen bowl­ing stocks against a brit­tle Halls Gap bat­ting side, which will be re­ly­ing on Damien Folkes and Sean Man­tell to carry the day.

The re­main­ing Buan­gor ver­sus Swifts-great Western con­test was loom­ing as a fea­ture match but af­ter the last match, Buan­gor will have to im­prove to de­feat the lad­der leader.

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