Saturday, February 17, 2018
Bundoora’s finals hopes are still alive after the Bulls narrowly defeated a gallant Old Paradians by just 10 runs at Yulong Park. The Wolves were hurtling headlong towards victory at 4/104 chasing 140 but with their side’s season on the line Jason Kaminski (6/41) and Narinder Sharma (3/12) stood up to trigger a collapse that ended with Old Paradians on 129. After winning one of their first eight games, North Eltham has confounded all expectations by leaping to sixth and rekindling finals chances after defeating Epping by a single wicket. Joel Crook (62) put the Wanderers on the right path before they badly stumbled, needing Luke Anderson and Tyler Keating to haul them over to 168 in a pressure-cooker finish. Rosanna fell short of an outright victory over Lower Eltham but has nonetheless completed its return to the top four. After losing on first innings points, a dogged second innings from Jarrod Curtis (65) and a late declaration gave Lower Eltham enough of a buffer to hold Rosanna out. Macleod has dealt Montmorency a backhander in what may be a dress rehearsal to a finals rematch. The Eagles skittled the Magpies for just 115 as Tim Wise (4/18), Glen Rigg (2/12) and Rob Wise (2/17) eclipsed a fine batting order in their defence of 226. After reaching Diamond Creek’s total of 104 for the loss of four wickets, Riverside took the chance to apply mental disintegration in their top-four blockbuster. Chris Salm (72) and Nathan Bragg cantered away before Riverside put Diamond Creek out of their misery at 8/185.
Bundoora United is still in the mix for finals after a thumping win over Lalor Stars. The Bulldogs’ defence of 234 was short and spectacular as the Stars were blown out of the park for just 84 with Thissa Sanjeewa (3/20), Ash Hamilton (2/17) and Scott Barnett (2/20) spreading the load. Bundoora United still need to win their final game and have either Lower Plenty or Heidelberg lose. Plenty Power’s unbeaten run is at an end after Eltham wiped off the handful of runs required for the loss of just three wickets. The damage had already been done the week before by the Panther bowlers and it was an untroubled effort for Eltham to reach 94 with opener Andrew Lamont (41 not out) top scoring. The battle to avoid relegation got much hotter with bottom-side Mill Park comfortably defending its modest total of 141 to defeat Research Eltham Collegians by 41 runs. The Tigers broke a five-game losing strike to tie with the Collegians on 21 points. Heidelberg has held a top four spot all season and was in no mood to give it up to Mernda, defeating the upstarts by six wickets. Justin Whitcher (67), Peter Cashen (50), Brett Smout (39) and Fletcher Stewart (33) formed a dynamic, match-winning top order performance that saw Heidelberg chase Mernda’s 202 with eight overs to spare. Banyule defeated Lower Plenty by four wickets to seal the deal on a finals position. Starting the day at 2/45 with just 21 runs to chase, the Bears made life hard for themselves with an early splurge of dismissals but the Lions didn’t have a big enough total to prevent Banyule’s fifth straight win.
South Morang has landed a resounding blow ahead of their inaugural Mash Shield finals campaign, dislodging Hurstbridge from the top of the ladder with a 40-run win. After previous failed efforts against rival top four sides, Brad Riley (4/32), Dominic Tropea (3/5) and Daniel Wilson (2/28) rose to the challenge to deliver the Lions’ best win of the season yet. Panton Hill reclaimed top spot on the Mash Shield ladder with an outright thrashing of Whittlesea. The Redbacks routed the Eagles for a second time with 51 runs still up their sleeves as Rick Ford (match figures of 6/59), Stephen Fitzgerald (5/42) and Ryder Hobbs (4/51) dominated. Thomastown United managed to avoid becoming the second side to lose outright in Mash Shield, staggering to stumps against Greensborough at 8/95. Matt Crawford (match figures of 10/33) led the charge for a Greensborough side that is in white-hot form going into finals. A deep batting performance saw Laurimar chalk up their fourth win of the season against Thomastown. Andrew Nicholls (45), Luke Richardson (39) and Scott Toull (30) delivered pivotal performances in Laurimar’s five-wicket win.