Saturday January 25, 2020
Epping claimed a thrilling top-four clash against Heidelberg by two wickets to leap into second position. The Blues claimed the upper hand with the ball as they restricted Heidelberg to just 130 off their 40 overs but a middle order collapse had their chances on the rocks at 7/66. It took a gritty unbeaten 45 from Todd Hughes to get Epping back into the game. With his side needing five off the final ball, Hughes hit a six and the deed was done.
Lower Eltham’s unlikely finals charge gained traction with a three-wicket win over Riverside. Dananjaya Fernando (3/6), Ray Mitchell (3/26) and Mackenzie Stanley (2/17) skittled the ’Siders for 111 but, as is their wont, the Roos made hard work of the chase and almost blew the game by falling from 1/76 to 7/110. The win puts Lower Eltham just three points outside of fourth spot.
Macleod dominated fourth-placed Plenty to produce an entirely unexpected win and kick clear of the bottom of the ladder. Tim Wise (67) and Jai Swainger (58) plundered the Power as the Eagles stormed to 228, whereupon a still shell-shocked Plenty was over and out for 124 in just 32 overs.
Bundoora’s season has gone from bad to worse with the Bulls demolished by Rosanna. With Scott Dunbar (4/3) and Nathan Pietsch (3/16) causing havoc, Bundoora was all out inside of 30 overs for just 82. Rosanna reached its third win of the season by seven wickets in the same time frame.
North Eltham’s wildly divergent season hit a new high as the Wanderers broke Diamond Creek’s winning run with a phenomenal bowling performance. Defending just 127, North Eltham conducted a ramraid on a previously infallible batting line-up. Adam Tsapatsaris claimed the crucial wickets of openers Dan Gilbert and Jacob Ramsey before Jack Young took 5/26. The Wanderers had a previously unimaginable win well within their keeping by the time the final wicket fell for just 94.
It was a batting shoot-out at WA Smith Reserve as the Lalor Stars prevailed over Montmorency to set the cat amongst the pigeons in an already chaotic race for top four positions in Money Shield. Aaron Amos’ white-hot vein of form continued (87) with Steven Kemp adding 42 as the Stars’ total ballooned to 237. Montmorency batted deep in reply with four batsmen reaching 25 or more but the Magpies couldn’t score quickly enough and fell 61 runs short.
Research Eltham Collegians made it two in a row with a hard-fought three-wicket win over Old Paradians. The Collegians’ chances were remote when they fell to 6/49 chasing 130 without captain Josh Turner. However, salvation was delivered through Shannon Malone (36 to get his side back in the hunt) and Anthony Cooper (38 not out).
Mernda is celebrating its first win in a year after squeezing past Lower Plenty by two wickets. The Redlegs held the Lions to just 133 but when their turn came to bat, the going was tough. Mernda had to survive two mini-collapses, falling to 3/38 and then lost 4/16 in the last leg. It was youngsters Cooper Perrin and Jimmy Baker who pushed the matter and secured the win.
Banyule solidified its position at the top of the table with a crushing win over Mill Park. After their shock loss to the Collegians, the Bears were in a murderous mood with Brent O’Connor (78) and Jack Arandt (43) leading their side to 199. O’Connor wasn’t done: thrown the ball as Mill Park attempted a mighty chase, he took 4/26 with Spencer Veal claiming identical figures to rout the Tigers for 109.
Bundoora United proved far more adept at the one-day format than Eltham, eclipsing its top four rivals by 99 runs. The Bulldogs set the Panthers a challenging 201 for victory after Conlan Gunn (61 not out) hit his second half-century in as many digs. Eltham was never in the hunt, fizzling out for a disappointing 101.
Thomastown defeated South Morang by 44 runs on the back of Lou Alberti (62 not out) and Thusith Alboruge (47) bankrolling a total of 8/187. The winless Lions lost wickets too regularly to build momentum and were all out for 143.
Laurimar remains in second position after scraping past Greensborough by two wickets in a low-scoring affair. Ray Kelsey’s unbeaten 46 was the shining light in Laurimar’s chase of 130, taking his side from 4/22 to home for the loss of eight wickets.
A bag of brilliant individual performances guided Panton Hill to a crucial win over Thomastown United, keeping the Redbacks’ finals hopes alive. Michael Stamkovski’s career-high 83 not out came as part of a 134-run second-wicket stand with Glenn Motschall (59) before the wicketkeeper added a further 98 with Josh Barton (62 not out).
The Redbacks’ defence of 234 was spearheaded by Scott Tung, who took 6/27 to lead his side to a 92-run win.
Bundoora Park returned to the winners’ list with a 43-run win over Diamond Creek. The Power batted first and Thilina Herath (45) top-scored with Ramindu Nikeshala (36) adding support to the total of 207. Diamond Creek was skittled for 164 to secure Bundoora Park’s position atop the Mash Shield table.
Whittlesea remains very much in the finals hunt after defeating Hurstbridge by four wickets. Hurstbridge was dismissed for 156 just inside its 40 overs and the Eagles made the most of their opportunity: Yasith De Silva hit 62 with Corey Baker adding 30 to guide Whittlesea to its third consecutive win and keep it within three points of the top four.