Western Park make amends
Division 1 by Joel Batson
Western Park 4/227 def Ellinbank 200 The battle between second and third on the ladder went the way of Western Park at the weekend, as the Warriors made amends for their earlier loss at Ellinbank with a high-scoring victory over a gallant Eagles side.
Batting first on a flat wicket, Western Park stuttered throughout the first half of their innings as starts to Sanjaya Gangodawila (27), Mathew Wakefield (20) and Jason Croft (19) proved dangerous but ineffective, as the Warriors slumped to 4-105 as Sean Masterson (2-49) proved potent.
However, with 13 overs remaining and Daniel Sheehan promoted up the order for some late hitting, the game changed. Batting proved easy for he and Leigh Diston (52*), as an extraordinary assault took the game away from Ellinbank, as balls flew to the boundary at an alarming pace.
Sheehan was undoubtedly the aggressor, winding back the clock to some of his innings from the past as he made a rapid, 40-ball 76 as the pair added 122 in quick time to push the score to 4-227 off the allotted overs.
In reply, Ellinbank lost key men Troy Ferguson and Ben Spicer early as Troy Lehman (2-33) collected both scalps.
The Eagles, however, showed why they are the most improved side in the league as Matt Farthing and Sean Masterson put the chase back on course with an outstanding partnership. The pair added 108-runs and made it look easy, both showing why they are so crucial to this line-up before Masterson (41) fell as well as Farthing (65) to put the game back in the balance.
Nick Fairbank hit some lusty blows to continue the chase, however his run-out spurned a collapse as Joel Batson (2-37) and Tyler McDonald (2-38) looked to close the innings out.
Another run-out soon after signed the deathknell for Ellinbank, and despite some late runs from Luke Rogers (27), Ellinbank ultimately were bowled out for 200, and Western Park celebrated a 27-run victory.
Panters upset Buln
Buln Buln 220 def by Yarragon 4/223 Yarragon has upset Buln Buln away from home, with a thrilling chase outlining their finals credentials thanks to some familiar faces.
Yarragon won the toss and elected to field, a decision that paid dividends in the first half of the innings as Gamini Kumara and Oliver Watt (2-31) ran riot, dismissing the top five Buln batsmen as the Lyrebirds floundered to 5-70.
Such is the depth of Buln’s line-up that two of the league’s best batsmen- Cal Stewart and Daniel Hamilton- joined each other at the crease as the pair repaired the damage from the carnage created by the Yarragon bowlers. Stewart (62 off 49) played a particularly effortless knock, while Hamilton (56 off 76) anchored the last half with smart batting.
Max Kelly (21) continued his fine form as despite a terrific haul from Kumara (5-37), Buln pushed their way to 220 all out.
In reply Yarragon put their best foot forward in the early stages of their chase with a 57-run opening stand between Andy Trewern (17) and Nuwan Perera proving to be a thorn in the Lyrebirds’ side.
Kumara, elevated to number three, came in for Trewern and the Yarragon chase took another step as he and his Sri Lankan counterpart added 86 before Perera was removed for a swashbuckling 84.
Kumara found support in Lucas Kilday (20), however a couple of late wickets to Cal Stewart (2-42) almost de-railed the chase until a few lusty blows from Kumara, who finished his man of the match performance with 79*, helped Yarragon across the line for a famous victory with four balls to spare.
Stags off bottom
Neerim District 3/166 def Hallora 9/165 Neerim District has climbed off the bottom of the ladder with a stunning upset against the in-form Hallora team.
Bowling first, the Stags took four early wickets as the likes of Toby Bayne and Ben Lockett ran amok, before Fraser Duncan (52) and Jai Newcombe (32) steadied ship with a 69-run stand. The pair were the only two shining lights of the innings, as once Newcombe was removed off the bowling of Kody Wilson (229), the tail-end struggled.
Hallora stumbled from 4-123 to 9-165 off their 40 overs, as Matt Kelliher (3-26) strangled the lower order and created some late carnage to keep the score on-par.
With 166 needed for victory, Neerim surged home in relative quick time.
Jack Ward (60*) anchored the innings in strong fashion, as he added 85 for the first wicket with Nathan Bayne (36) to suck the air out of the Hallora attack.
A slight collapse of three wickets left Neerim at 3-116 and in slight disarray, however Matt Ward (33*) showed his class, seeing his side home with his brother with six overs to spare as the pair took the Kangas attack apart.
Hawks hopes alive
Jindivick 123 def by Drouin 8/261 Drouin has kept hopes of a one day final berth alive, dismantling Jindivick to send them crashing to the bottom of the ladder.
Batting first, the Hawks welcomed Damon Healy back to the fold with a quick 24, whilst Jonathan Bell was at his best making 45 despite a collapse of 3-5 created by Craig Boswell (4-24) in a terrific spell of bowling after the openers leaked runs.
Bell was eventually dismissed the leave the Hawks on 4-85, however Trevor Gardiner (59) pushed the scoring at a rapid rate, proving he is back to his classy best.
The Jindivick change bowlers were proving to be ineffective and outclassed by the Drouin middle order as Paul Timewell (47*) and Sam Vanderzalm (42) were unbelievably ruthless at the back end of the innings as the Jumping Jacks struggled at the death as they have all season.
The Hawks surged to 8-261 by the close of innings as Greg Interlandi picked up three wickets, albeit without being able to slow the scoring rate.
Jindivick begun their batting innings without much confidence and it showed, as no batsmen crossed 25.
Interlandi (24) and Steve Dillon (24) showed fight, however all of the order proved to be out of form as Dale Weller (6-23) crushed their middle order. In the end, the Jumping Jacks were all out for 123, as the Hawks continue to fly.
Ellinbank’s Nick Fairbank battles against a strong Western Park batting line up; Photographs: Paul Cohen.
Jason Croft gains a leading edge as he attempts to consolidate Western Park in the division one match against Ellinbank.
Western Park’s Mathew Wakefield takes off for a single.
Ellinbank’s Michael Pandolfo returns to the bowler during a difficult day in the field.