Saturday, March 3, 2018
Riverside completed an undefeated season in the most emphatic of manners, hammering third-placed Montmorency by 199 runs to finish the home-and-away season on top of the ladder with 10 wins and a draw. As has been the ’Siders calling card all season, a spread of bowlers prevented the Magpies from finding any respite with Tim Knox (3/10) and Chris Salm (3/22) the most dangerous. Macleod will defend their 2016/17 Barclay Shield title from second position after locking away first innings points against Lower Eltham. The Eagles declared with a lead of 105 after Scott Lumsden (51) and Richard Johnson (44) top scored. Rosanna has fallen 0.15 per cent short of a finals berth after failing to defeat Old Paradians outright. It took the fifth-placed Rosanna 58 overs of arm wrestle to dismiss the Wolves for 91 and a hopeful attempt at an outright was aborted after 10 overs. Diamond Creek will contest for the Barclay Shield premiership for an eighth straight season after squeezing home against Epping by just two wickets to hold fourth spot from Rosanna, Bundoora and North Eltham. The experienced heads of the Creekers prevailed in their run chase of 164 as Jacob Ramsey (34 not out) steered his side through the hubbub of their predicament to close out the win. Bundoora needed to beat North Eltham to keep their top four hopes alive and did… only to watch in horror as their finals berth was snatched away by Diamond Creek’s victory. The Bulls successfully defended their total of 171 on the back of outstanding spells from Jason Kaminski (4/47) and Ryan Eley (3/31) but their 30-run win came to nought.
Bundoora United has surged into the finals after their total of 233 proved far beyond Lower Plenty. After hitting 52, Scott Barnett took it upon himself to seal the deal for the Bulldogs with 5/49 as the Lions crashed to 146 all out and fell out of the top four with their third straight defeat. Mernda ended their season on a bright note and consigned Research Eltham Collegians to their second relegation in as many years as they chased down the Collegians’ total of 164 with two wickets to spare. Cooper Perrin (58) and Callum Dean (42) were the heroes for Mernda while for the Collegians, a chance to start afresh in Mash Shield beckons. After securing first innings points against Lalor Stars to guarantee a finals berth, Heidelberg was content with some light batting practice that at least spared the Stars the ignominy of relegation. A cracking 74 from Mitchell Johnson saw Plenty remind Money Shield who is king of the hill as the Power defeated Banyule by four wickets to claim the minor premiership. Johnson and Kenroy Peters (37) top-scored as the Power became the first side to defeat Banyule since Heidelberg in Round 4. Mill Park’s first day victory over Eltham already had them popping champagne corks at earning a place in Money Shield for 2018/19. The Tigers batted their merry way to 5/216 before a belated declaration that left them with little chance of defeating Eltham outright. For the Panthers, a humbling, frustration and inconsistent season has finally come to a close.
Greensborough made short work of Thomastown’s total of 173 in their last hit-out before finals. Simon Salpigtidis (56 not out) and Tom Vilchez (41 not out) made the most of their chances in the ’Borough’s run chase that saw them overhaul Thomastown for the loss of just four wickets.
Panton Hill made a dive for the finish line against South Morang as an unbeaten lower order stand of 52 from Austin McCrabb and Michael Stamkovski at better than a run a ball saw them seal a home final. After starting the day at 7/161, the Lions advanced to 203 all out and then had the Redbacks in all sorts at 7/153. McCrabb (32) and Stamkovski (25) dug deep to deliver Panton Hill a three-wicket win. Hurstbridge breathed fire to claim top spot with an outright thrashing of Thomastown United. The ’Bridgers declared with a lead of 123 and then routed the pitiful Thomastown United for a second time for just 58. Nick Blackwood finished with match figures of 7/32 while Charith Jayaweera claimed 6/70. Laurimar and Whittlesea fought out a high-scoring battle for fifth spot that the Eagles claimed by just 10 runs. After scoring a herculean 135, Rajitha Mendis was the hero with the ball for Whittlesea with five wickets. A century from Andrew Nicholls and 65 from Josh Deans-Draper took Laurimar agonisingly close in their innings of 275; a fierce rivalry may be born from this classic encounter.