Epping will fight for the survival of their 2017/18 season chasing Riverside’s daunting 259. The unbeaten Siders’ middle order dominated with Elliot Smale (72), Andrew Villani (46) and Nathan Bragg (42) putting Epping to the sword.
Macleod ended the day in a strong position against crosstown rivals Rosanna. With the two sides slugging it out for fourth spot, Macleod’s Daniel O’Leary (4/15) delivered the clutch spell as Rosanna was all out for just 112.
Montmorency ground out a slow and at time frustrating day against Old Paradians to post 8/189. A win against the Wolves will all but seal a finals place for the Magpies in their maiden season of Barclay Shield.
North Eltham put themselves in the box seat to win their second match of the season with a dominant bowling performance against Lower Eltham. Travis Baker (4/15) and Tyler Keating (3/17) were instrumental as the Wanderers prised out the final Lower Eltham wicket with the score at just 114.
Plenty reinforced their Money Shield dominance by defeating Bundoora United by seven wickets in their Australia Day clash at Plenty Park. The undefeated Power was challenged by the Bulldogs’ total of 8/182 (Matt Ross’ unbeaten 96 the heart of the innings) but Jack Sacchetta (67) and Mitch Johnson (44) made short work of the run chase.
Research Eltham Collegians captain Tom Burton’s maiden DVCA century gave his side an unexpected commanding position against third-placed Heidelberg. With finals all but out of reach, Burton (112) and Paul Cusma (42) guided their side to 256.
Banyule’s batting resurgence continued against Eltham with the Bears posting 9/266 to prove that their finals charge should now be taken seriously. Banyule had winners deep in their line-up as Justin Poyser (90), Brent O’Connor (41), Jordan Samad (39) and Nick Murray (38) had pivotal innings.
The Lalor Stars crushed Mill Park to claim first innings points in just 73 overs and leave the Tigers in real trouble of relegation come season’s end. Jamie Scott (5/35) torched Mill Park, who were all out for just 88. Alex Manoilovski and Andrew Volpe then hammered a 64-run opening stand to have the Stars home in 18 overs.
Josh Nixon (4/26) and Mitch McAuley (4/38) plagued Lower Plenty to give Mernda more than a sniff of causing an upset. The Lions were all out for just 135 with Mernda’s finals chances hinging on them capitalising on their good start next week.
South Morang eclipsed Thomastown United by six wickets with Darcy Bell (6/19) swooping in to all but win the match for the Lions. South Morang now face an almost certain entry into their maiden Mash Shield finals berth.
Thomastown jumped from bottom of the ladder to sixth, leapfrogging Whittlesea on the back of a thrilling two-run win. Thomastown posted just 131 from their 40 overs and when the Eagles advanced to 0/65 the match seemed done. However, once the wickets began falling they didn’t stop and Thomastown claimed the last three for five runs. Back to back heartbreak for the Eagles but vindication for a Thomastown side hell-bent on avoiding bottom place.
Another outstanding knock from Josh Barton saw Panton Hill return to the winner’s list at the expense of Laurimar. Barton’s 69 was the heart of the Redbacks’ 8/185 and Jackson Mill (4/24) did the honours with the ball.
Nic Blackwood’s 5/34 and a gutsy lower order 42 from Reid Brandt saw Hurstbridge claw past Greensborough by four wickets, retaining their position atop the ladder in doing so. After a strong bowling effort, the ’Bridgers weathered a troublesome start to their innings to reach their target of 123 for the loss of six wickets.