Riverside batted out its season for a further 21 overs before calling it a day against Epping, having already iced a five-wicket win on the first day. The win left Riverside in seventh position after its unbeaten premiership in the previous season while Epping was left licking its wounds but nonetheless through to finals for the first time since 2009.
Diamond Creek completed a perfect home and away season with a seven-wicket win over Bundoora. The Creek reached its target of 79 for no loss from its overnight score of 3/48, showing no sympathy for the Bulls’ desperate dreams of claiming a miraculous win and a finals berth.
74 from Ruwinda Shaman was not enough to stop Rosanna from defeating Montmorency by 69 runs. Shaman stood alone in the Magpies’ batting line-up and once he fell at 7/128, the rest of his side folded shortly after. Rosanna has finished the season in third place and will taste finals action for the first time since 2015.
Lower Eltham’s desperate sprint towards an outright victory over North Eltham and a last-minute finals place fell just short. The Kangaroos needed 152 in 14 overs and came on like a hurricane from the first ball, whipping up 5/129 with Ishan Pathirage hitting 62, but were doomed to settle just outside the top four on percentage.
Shaun Lumsden’s unbeaten 65 guided Macleod to its seventh win of the season at the expense of Plenty – and another finals appearance. The Eagles came home in a canter against the power, winning by seven wickets to hit March action with a full head of steam.
Lower Plenty had no interest in leaving its do-or-die chase of 177 to chance as Daniel Fielding (69) and Brad Wright (64) took the score from 1/35 to 2/153 against Greensborough. The Lions then watched on in delight as Bundoora United’s win over Lalor Stars not only guaranteed their finals berth but saw them jump to third on the ladder.
Eltham fought its way to second position on the ladder with a day of cricket that was more a feat of endurance than anything else: Mill Park batted for 80 overs to reach 8/84 in pursuit of 333.
Old Paradians finished its season on a high with an upset 35-run win over ladder-leaders Banyule that tipped the Bears to fourth position. Udhara Ranasinghe (3/80), Udhara Wellalage (2/23), Damien Wegener (2/33) and Mat Harding (2/41) had to fight all the way to finally close out their sixth win of the season.
It was mixed emotions for Bundoora United and heartbreak for the Lalor Stars as the Bulldogs knocked the Stars out of the top four on the last day of the season after holding top spot on the ladder for much of the season. The Bulldogs rose to fifth on the ladder and missed out on finals by 1 point due to Lower Plenty’s win over Greensborough. Scott Barnett (4/60) and Lee Solar (3/28) did the damage as the Stars were all out for 205, well short of their target of 236.
A crushing 213-run win over Mernda put Heidelberg atop the Money Shield ladder. Jack Ridewood (3/36) had the best figures as Heidelberg continually denied the Redlegs any chance to build match-turning partnerships, claiming the final wicket at 106.
Panton Hill defeated Thomastown United easily, leaving the Redbacks in fourth position and another Mash Shield finals campaign.
South Morang’s guttering finals flame was extinguished by a five-wicket haul from Research Eltham Collegians’ Brixton Timewell. With his side defending 271, Timewell claimed career-best figures of 5/12 as the Lions were vanquished for 167 and the Collegians claimed the minor premiership.
Whittlesea’s final match of the home and away season against Hurstbridge was one to forget all round. After conceding 331 on the first day, including Mash Shield’s all-time greatest innings in Kusal Edussooryia’s 217, the Eagles were smashed by the ’Bridgers’ bowlers. Charith Jayaweera (3/21), Edussooryia (2/6) and Daniel Sadowy (2/15) wrapped up the innings for just 57.
Thomastown was never going to threaten Laurimar’s massive total of 472 and endured one of the biggest losses in Mash Shield history. The final margin was 359 runs with Josh Deans-Draper (3/19) and Michael Peters (3/31) claiming the best figures as Laurimar now looks forward to its inaugural finals appearance.