Saturday February 16, 2019
Montmorency has at last left the field victors after defeating North Eltham by 19 runs in a high-scoring shoot-out at Montmorency Park. The Magpies declared at 6/270 with Ruwinda Shaman unbeaten on 147, leaving the Wanderers with a big chase to win the game. The match hung in the balance all day before Montmorency finally forced the door shut.
Diamond Creek escaped a scare to remain undefeated thanks to canny lower order batting and a typically superb bowling performance against Lower Eltham. Starting the day at 5/84, Adam Brown (40) led a 19 over charge as the Creek went from battling to 155 all out. The Kangaroos did not give up the chance to topple the unbeaten Creek easily but Mark Keenan (3/15) cut through the top order to engineer their dismissal for 133.
Macleod was left thanking Rob Wise (64 not out) and Daniel O’Leary (47 not out) after the pair countered a massive batting collapse to save the Eagles against Riverside. Chasing 137, Macleod stumbled badly in the middle of its innings to sit in peril at 7/70 before Wise and O’Leary steered their flagging side home for a three-wicket win to hang onto fourth spot for another week.
Rosanna moved a step closer to locking in a finals appearance with a four-wicket win in the one-day match against Epping. A fourth-wicket stand between Houss Almatrah (47 not out) and Scott Dunbar (37) worth 83 proved the turning point in the match as Rosanna reached its target of 163 with 14 balls to spare.
A six-wicket haul from Shupindar Taggar saw Bundoora defeat Plenty by 63 runs and keep the Bulls’ finals chances alive. Taggar’s scalps included Plenty dangermen Gordon Zull and Kenroy Peters as the Power was skittled for 136. Sitting in fifth place but just half a game from fourth, Bundoora will need to go where no team has gone this year and defeat Diamond Creek in the final game to make finals.
Mill Park came up trumps to stun Mernda and overhaul a hefty target of 233 with four wickets to spare. Hayden Castle (65), Sajith Kalumpriya (40) and Adam McLaughlin (32) batted with conviction as the Tigers left Greensborough languishing on the bottom of the ladder.
Bundoora United’s finals chances live another week after the Bulldogs tipped Lower Plenty from the top four with a three-wicket win. Matt Ross and Nilanka Rukshitha (36 each) got their side off to a strong start in the chase of 105, ensuring that a late stumble would not cost the Bulldogs victory.
Eltham sits in third spot going into the final match of the home and away season after comfortably accounting for Greensborough by 119 runs. The Borough fought hard but a chase of 305 was always going to be a stretch.
Heidelberg’s surge into finals contention continued with a 15-run win over Old Paradians. Jack Ridewood and Andrew Fotinopoulos snared three wickets each as Heidelberg ground the Paradians out for 163, effectively ending their finals chances and vaulting into second position following the Stars’ loss to Banyule.
Banyule cemented its batting development with a three-wicket win over the Lalor Stars that sees the Bears on top of the ladder turning into the final stretch of the home and away season. In pursuit of 161, Nick Murray (50), Mick Hannan (31 not out) and captain Henry Tyler (28) got on top of the Stars’ bowling to guide their side to perhaps its most significant win of the season.
Thomastown United saved face and prevented carnage in the Mash Shield top four by denying South Morang an outright victory at Mill Park Lakes Recreation Reserve. Jason Lalios conjured 57 to top-score in United’s total of 5/168. To make finals, the Lions now need to thrash Research Eltham Collegians and pray that Panton Hill loses to Thomastown United.
Jack Sassella and Jack Fitzpatrick nearly pulled off what would have been a fairytale Research Eltham Collegians victory against Hurstbridge. The pair combined for a 78-run tenth-wicket stand but fell 20 runs short as the Bridges celebrated a significant win ahead of a potential rematch in finals.
Laurimar guaranteed its maiden Mash Shield finals appearance with a 70-run win over Panton Hill in its one-day match. A deep batting performance saw Laurimar power to 228 thanks to Rian Boddy (51), Andrew Nicholls (44), Ash Williams and Michael Peters (34 each), which proved far beyond the free-falling Redbacks.
Thomastown locked in its fourth win of the season and left Whittlesea in danger of a wooden spoon finish with a six-wicket win. Reaping the rewards of a bowling performance that held the Eagles to just 121, Thomastown stormed home thanks to an unbeaten 50 from Shanak Kethbevilage.