Sunday, March 18, 2018
No one could accuse Riverside of fumbling under the pressure of a Barclay Shield Grand Final. In a superb bowling and subsequent batting performance, the ’Siders reached stumps on day one with an elusive premiership within their grasp. Riverside claimed wickets steadily early on then received a massive boost when Macleod’s premier batsman Tim Wise was run out to leave the score at 3/47. The loss of Wise proved a turning point in the match as the Eagles were unable to arrest their slide to 128 all out. Nick Gedge capped an outstanding season with three wickets as six Riverside bowlers all claimed a scalp – there was no escape for the reigning premiers. Given the fickle nature of momentum in Grand Finals, Macleod was far from out of the contest and the Plenty Park crowd waited for a dangerous bowling line-up to launch a counter-attack. However, Riverside was wonderfully served by Sean Money and Nathan Bragg, who wiped 42 runs off the deficit before stumps.
Plenty Power found the going tough against Heidelberg in the Money Shield Grand Final at Waterview Reserve South. The minor premiers ground out a gruelling 165 in an entire day’s play. While captain Gordon Zull (42) and Mitch Johnson (30) led from the front, no Plenty batsman truly got on top of a disciplined Heidelberg attack. Pat Hannah (3/16) and Jack Ridewood (3/52) forged the breakthroughs for a side that has flown under the radar all season but announced itself on the big stage.
A heroic unbeaten stand between Matt Crawford and Trent McNamara saw Greensborough take the day away from a stunned Hurstbridge in the Mash Shield Grand Final at Eltham Central Park. Simon Salpigtidis (68) and David Patullo (41) had the Borough rocking at 2/140 before the ’Bridgers finally turned things around on the back of a four-wicket burst from Tom Simpson. It was then that Crawford and McNamara rose above themselves and the flow of play. Coming together at 7/182, the pair put on 80 to guide their side to 262 come stumps.
Riverside posted 9/189 against Epping on the back of a strong top order performance. Steve Corcoran (37), Glenn Smyth (35), Marcus Brooker (31) and Brett Money (26) all delivered when their side needed them most while Epping’s Marcus Murphy (6/46) fought a lone hand for his side.
Glen Drummond etched his name in the annals of the Lalor Stars’ history books with a knock of 134 against Rosanna. Drummond was the difference between disaster and delight for the Stars in their total of 240 that puts them in the box seat for the flag.
It was a ferocious mano-a-mano battle between Plenty Power’s Ash Coles (76) and Banyule’s Callum Asbury (4/7) at Waterview Reserve North. The batsman single-handedly took his side from the rubble of a disastrous start to the relative comfort of 154.
A dominant batting performance has Riverside with the upper hand against North Eltham. An unbeaten 62-run stand between Marcus Nolan and Cameron Drake took the ’Siders to 246 at stumps with Nolan desperately unlucky to be stranded on 99 not out.