Hawks defending top-four position
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.