Riverside has landed a potentially catastrophic blow on Epping in the final round of the home and away season. With the reigning premier’s finals hopes long since extinguished, Tim Knox and Chris Salm worked in tandem to claim four wickets each and guide the ’Siders to a shock first-day victory against the second-placed Epping.
Diamond Creek is set to complete a white-washed home and away season after ending the first day’s play against Bundoora just 31 runs from victory. The top-of-the-table Creek burned through the Bulls with Luke Campitelli bagging 4/16 to roll the visitors for just 78, all but snuffing out Bundoora’s thin finals hopes.
With a chance to avoid the wooden spoon on the line, Montmorency bounced back from a woeful start against Rosanna to have the match on an even keel on Day One. Sam Sheehan (98) and Nick Carlton (47) posted 136 for the first wicket but Nishantha Weerakkody became a one-man wrecking ball, taking eight wickets as Rosanna was reduced to 206 all out.
Lower Eltham is now down to miracles in its top four goal after North Eltham posted 165 with the Kangaroos realistically relying on an outright victory to make finals. For the Wanderers, a victory would ensure the evasion of the wooden spoon.
A committed bowling unit performance has put Macleod in a strong position to at last guarantee a finals position. The Eagles dismissed Plenty for 116 with Rob Wise, Jai Swainger, Glen Rigg and Daniel O’Leary all claiming multiple wickets.
Lower Plenty needs a further 159 runs as well as a Lalor Stars loss to jump into fourth place. The fifth-placed Lions dismissed Greensborough for 176 and wiped 18 runs off their chase for no loss of wicket.
Heidelberg batted its way to an untouchable position against Mernda, all but staking its flag on a finals place. The day was a procession with Lachlan Turner (68), Pete Cashen (66), Mark Favrin (49) and Justin Whitcher (31) piling on to Heidelberg’s total of 319.
Lloyd Mash put Mill Park to the sword to give Eltham every chance of playing finals. The former Bushranger hit a career-high 192 with Matt Chrimes adding 49 to rocket the third-placed Panthers to 6/332.
Old Paradians may not be able to make finals but they are showing every intent of dragging Banyule out of the top four with them. Udhara Ranasignhe (91) lead the charge with Damien Wegener (49) and Shaun Barker (31) playing the foil. The top-placed Bears now face the challenge of chasing down 259 next week or risking missing out on finals altogether.
The sliding doors match between sixth-placed Bundoora United and fourth-placed Lalor Stars is weighted in favour of the Bulldogs at the end of Day One. Nilanka Rukshitha (79) picked a fine time to play his best innings of the season with Thissa Sanjeewa hitting 40 and Ash Hamilton providing a fantastic bonus with an unbeaten lower order 48 as Bundoora United hit 8/235 to open the door on stealing a finals spot. Paul Higgins the best for the Stars with 5/68.
The runs flowed at Laurimar Town Park as the home side broke the record for the biggest team total in a Mash Shield innings against Thomastown. Luke Richardson (180) and Rian Boddy (160 not out) monstered the bowling to provide the heart of their side’s 6/472 to ensure Laurimar will hit its maiden finals series at peak performance.
Hurstbridge’s Kusal Edussooryia rewrote the record books with the highest individual score in Mash Shield history and the second highest Shield score of the season against Whittlesea. Edussooryia hit 217 of his side’s 331, registering his third century for 2018/19 and passing the 700-run mark in the process.
Panton Hill captain Rick Ford was at his awesome best against Thomastown United. With his side weighed down by five losses in a row, Ford unleashed a withering spell to finish with figures of 7/21 as United was decimated for just 56. The Redbacks at last tasted victory by six wickets to guarantee a third successive Mash Shield finals performance.
Research Eltham Collegians dominated with the bat against South Morang to neatly snuff out the Lions’ chances of a miraculous finals berth. Josh Turner (91) and Will Purvis (77 not out) merrily piled on 128 for the sixth-wicket as the Collegians cruised their way to 7/271.