By David Nagel
WGCA LOWER GRADES
REVIEW – ROUND 11 (ONE DAY)
Upper Beaconsfield (6/171cc) has scored its most timely win of the season, upsetting second-placed Carlisle Park (9/151) to keep its season alive at Upper Beaconsfield on Saturday.
Coming off losses to top-four incumbents, Devon Meadows and Merinda Park, the Maroons had a choice to make.
To lose, and kiss their finals hopes goodbye, or win and stay in contention and be perfectly poised to make the most of a positive draw in the run home to finals.
The Maroons face two of the bottom-three teams, sandwiched in between is a Round 13 showdown with Tooradin that is set to decide their finals’ destiny.
The Maroons were dedicated with the bat, Inesh Rabel (50 not out) and Nick Meyers (42) surviving tidy spells from Atta Basit (3/30) and Iftikhar Ahmad (2/20) to post a competitive score.
And the Maroons were like a dog with a bone in the field as their bowlers trundled for their lives.
The quartet of Meyers (3/23), Harry Sharlassian (2/25), Ben Amos (2/28) and Craig Chapman (2/38) took wickets at precisely the right time, with six Vikings making their way into double figures but none really having an impact.
The only batsman to kick on was number 11, Brendan McCarthy (23 not out), but by that time it was a case of too little too late.
The Maroons were almost their own worst enemy – conceding an innings high 34 extras to the Vikings.
Emerald (9/141) can start planning for next season after having its finals hopes dashed by Devon Meadows (182) at Glover Reserve.
The Bombers are 40 points adrift of fourth place, and only have themselves to blame after conceding a whopping 67 extras prior to tea.
Tristan Fraser and Jarrad Donders (2/34) were the main offenders, bowling 15 wides each in a wides total that stretched to 48. Hunter Wardale (4/33) was mesmerising for the Bombers, while a late rally from Brett Irvine (50 not out) saw the Panthers recover from a shaky 8/97 to post a solid score.
The Bombers struggled in reply with Kieran Thoms (49) the only batsman of note. The Hussey boys, Dave (4/29) and Ben (2/22) bowled their side to victory.
Merinda Park’s (5/95) bowlers suffocated Kooweerup’s (92) batsmen on Saturday.
Agyapal Sidhu (2/6) and Uma Rattan (2/5) claimed bowling honours, but it was the precision line and length of Jamie Smith (0/12 off 8) and Jass Dhaliwal (0/18 off 7) that saw the Demons fail to post three figures. Only Stuart Mills (28) could hold his head high.
Karanbir Tiwana (56 not out) steered the Cobras home despite some top-shelf trundling from Arie Hazendonk (3/16).
And Tooradin (7/212cc) smashed aside bottom-side SFX Old Collegians (122).
Peter Stone (70) and Mitch Halstead (59) set the platform for the Seagulls, who had Luke Adams (2/13), Tom Bethune (2/17), Adam Jacobs (2/21) and Leigh Frankhauser (2/22) finish things off in the afternoon session.
Josh Hargreaves 4/42 and 49) was a clear top pick for X-Men, with Ordell Buntine (36 not out) also digging deep.
Officer (6/196cc) has clearly won the battle of the potent bowling attacks after its strike-force had the radar dialled in against Cardinia (78) on Saturday.
The Bullants have now taken 99 wickets for the season, three short of the Bulls and well clear of any other team in the competition. But it was the Bullants’ batsmen who did the early damage, with skipper Billy Carlyle (77), Daryl Hargreaves (35) and Darren Kneebone (28) all contributing heavily to an impressive score.
With runs to play with – the Bullants went on a rampage with the ball.
Only Danny Salvato (20) could make it past the teens as Daniel Irvine (4/13 off 8), Jake Tivendale (2/14 off 7) and Matt James (3/3) made hay while the sun was shining.
The Bullants bowling attack holds the key to this year’s premiership.
Pakenham (7/118) has jumped into second place after a largely unimpressive victory over Aura Vale (117).
The Lions were more than adequate with the ball, with Dale McCraw (3/18) and Mitch (3/16) and Dan Tielen (2/11) leading the way, but made surprisingly heavy weather of their run chase.
The super-consistent Troy Wilson (31) top scored for the Lions, while Sam Webster (22) made his first significant start in just his third game for the season. Brad Little (22 and 4/53) picked up three votes in the Lakers best and fairest award while Nigel Stevenson (2/11 off 8) caused the Lions plenty of headaches.
Ending a five-game losing streak has paid off handsomely for Pakenham Upper/Toomuc (7/175cc), who has snuck into the top four after a hard-fought victory over Carlisle Park (9/159cc).
Lee Harris (42) and Johno Sherer (30) turned a positive start from Brett Carey (20) and Casey Thomsen (23) into a competitive score, repelling the great efforts of Geoff Godfrey (2/13 off 8).
And the Yabbies were equally as effective with the ball, Tyson Carey (2/24 off 8) dangerous, while Matt Southall (1/14 off 8) put his left-arm precision to good use. Fateh Ahmed (25) top scored for the Vikings.
And Cranbourne Meadows (6/162cc) has made it four wins from its last five games after accounting for Catani (154) at Lawson Poole.
Jaiden Vanderlaan (43) and Trevor Poole (37) set the scene for the Rebels while Brendon Green (51), Josh Bethune (36) and Lachie Gregson (2/15 off 8) were the best for the Cats.
Even World Series of Poker winner Phil Ivey would be impressed with the shuffle taking place at the top of the D Grade ladder.
And Kooweerup (9/187cc) was the team to cause it, knocking Officer (147) from first to third with a character-building win at Starling Road on Saturday.
Tom Cottrell (72) did the early damage for the Demons before handing over to Hayden Watson (55) to steer his team to a defendable score. Vrag Patel (4/30) and Brent Pullen (2/26) did their best to limit the damage.
The Bullants started horrendously in reply and never fully recovered, although Tanay Katarey (46) and Adrian Woods (44) did bring some respectability to the scoreboard.
Bailey Perry (4/22 off 4.5) cashed in late for the Demons, making the most of Cottrell’s (1/10 off 8) early laser-like accuracy.
Merinda Park (0/143) is the new ladder-leader after a crunching 10-wicket victory over Pakenham (140) at Toomuc Reserve.
Matt Kouris (44) and Rob Newell (32) threatened to ignite for the Lions but fell at important times as Thanuja Senerathna (4/25), Corey Moncrieff (2/21) and Bo Hellman (2/24) shared the load beautifully for the Cobras.
Hellman (74 not out) and Lester Betreen (66 not out) then put the Lions through some Saturday afternoon torture, not providing a chance until very, very late into their unbeaten 143-run stand.
Nar Nar Goon/Maryknoll (4/122) has strengthened its grip on fourth spot with an easy victory over Pakenham Upper/Toomuc (9/116cc).
Opener John Nooy (25) and number 11, Ron Milnes (22 not out), provided the bread for the sandwich, but there was no filling as their Yabbie team-mates crashed around them. Chase Saunders (4/29) took the glory for the Goon, but the effort of Ash Bailey (1/4) to bowl five maidens in his eight-over spell should not – and will not – go unrecognised.
The Goon lost early wickets but Saunders (64) and Dan Gentile (34 not out) made sure a crucial 12 points were banked.
And Clyde (5/211cc) has prevailed in a high-scoring contest against Emerald (8/173) at Worrell Reserve.
Brayden Bowes (49), Noel O’Brien (45 not out) and Shane Jack (38) steered the Cougars to a winning score, with Dale Street (38 not out) and Jake Santini (32) doing the Bombers proud in reply.
Poor old Nyora (95) has seen plenty of spankings this season but none more fearsome than that handed out by Tooradin (5/246cc) at a rumbling Rutter Park on Saturday.
With the Tractor Pull roaring in the distance, Tooradin decided this was a good day to unleash its newest recruit, Rory Gilliatte (102 not out), who put on a masterclass of hard-hitting.
Gilliatte, who made 71 and 48 for Pakenham Upper/Toomuc in last season’s District Division finals series, relished the chance of spanking the bottom-placed E Grade side to all corners of the park.
Rory and Beau Gilliatte (76) put on 149 for the third wicket in just 24 overs as the Maroons ran for cover. Dale Bethune (2/9 off 8), James Thompson (2/26) and Luke Townsend (2/2) completed the rout.
WGCA head-honcho Brett Armitage (97 not out) has single-handedly led Merinda Park (6/180) on a mighty run-chase against Devon Meadows (7/175cc).
The hard-hitting left hander took his season’s tally to 505 runs at an average of a tick over 72 with an innings that included 12 fours and three sixes. Armitage took the very best that Chris Floyd (3/32) and Neil Baker (2/38) had to offer to secure a very important victory in the context of the season.
Earlier in the day it was the combination of Mark Hosking (58) and Floyd (39) that saw the Panthers post a competitive total. Russ Jenkin (2/28) and Rod Morrison (2/24) toiled honestly for the Cobras.
Officer’s (108) John Armstrong (5/8 off 6) has crashed through a brittle Kooweerup (60) line up to score an upset victory at the Kooweerup High School.
A Bullants victory looked highly unlikely after Curtis Eddington (4/26), Darcy O’Hehir (3/9) and Paul West (2/19) had the visitors on the ropes at 6/43. But late runs from Bradie Gledhill (26) at least gave Armstrong something to bowl at.
Armstrong waltzed his way through the Demons, receiving great help from Jon Wanden (2/15 off 8) as the Bullants crashed the party.
Troy Ryan (23) was the only Demon to offer resistance.
And finally Gembrook (1/55) has toyed with Catani (52) with Dean McPherson (4/6 off 4.5) and Brett Burmeister (2/30) rolling the Cats in double-quick time at Catani.
Craig Heppell (20), McPherson (17 not out) and Dean Allcott (17 not out) completed the chase with little fuss.
Home semi-finals are almost locked in for Lang Lang and Merinda Park after the top two overcame their nearest challengers on Saturday.
Lang Lang (3/156) was super-impressive after Carlisle Park (7/151cc) threw down the challenge at the Hillcrest Christian College.
Jason McQualter (55) continued his fine form for the Vikings, striking his second half-century on the trot to lead his side to a competitive total. Owen Milton (3/17 off 8) and Gouthaman Vivehananthan (2/19 off 8) were impressive for the Swampies – who exploded after tea.
Sam Cole (73 not out) and Milton (58) toyed with the Vikings attack, taking just 30 overs to reach their target.
Very little separated Merinda Park (145) and Upper Beaconsfield (142) at Holm Park Reserve.
The Maroons lost early wickets but then consolidated, with youngster Sam Curtain (40) combining with the wise heads of Peter Brennan (22) and Cam Waterhouse (49) to keep the Cobras at bay.
Trevor Lewtas (4/13 off 6.4) and Jess Gwozdz (3/33) gave the Cobras the slight advantage at the break.
Merinda Park started its chase soundly with John Cuthbertson (37), Andy Syddall (23) and Lewtas (23) all looking dangerous. But brilliant spells from Curtain (4/22 off 8) and Jason Balraj (4/18 off 7.3) saw the Cobras nine down and still one run adrift.
A determined Peter Aberle (12 not out) saw his team across the line and closer to a home final.
Pakenham (9/140cc) and Officer (6/143) had an interesting struggle on the back ground at Toomuc Reserve.
After a slow start the Lions posted a modest total, with Dave Hyland (53) continuing his great form and Duane Lucas (20) contributing late runs. Cooper Pursell (3/29 off 8) and Aidan James (2/14 off 8) bowled beautifully for the Bullants, who set off in reply.
Grant Tivendale (50) and Troy Pipicelli (28) had things under control until the Lions struck quick blows, with Liam Wolstenholme (2/23) bringing the score back to 6/118.
Officer needed a game-breaker and found one in Dave Power (15 not out) who lived up to his surname by crunching the Lions to all corners of the park.
Power, who received great support from Pursell (10 not out), finished the game off with a mighty six.
And Jeremy Jakupi (48) and Joel Driver (42) have led Clyde (168) to just its third win for the season against Emerald (8/123).
Kevin Stapleton (4/11 and 38) and Ben Lewis (38) were clear top picks for the Bombers.
Wow … there’s not much else to be said after Carlisle Park (4/346cc) went on a 40-over rampage against Gembrook (102) at Heatherbrae on Saturday.
It’s almost hard to compute the maths after Manjeet Sandhu (120 not out) and Iqbal Soi (107 not out) took the poor old Brookers to shreds with some incredible hitting.
Soi opened the batting and cracked six fours, not bad, but paling into comparison against the 11 boundaries and seven sixes of Sandhu.
The Brookers eight bowlers were crucified, going anywhere from six to 15 runs per over. Mark Newton (39) and Darren Snowden (30) were never going to win, but showed immense fight in the Brookers right of reply.
Cranbourne Meadows (8/232cc) had the better of the contest between third and fourth on the ladder, belting Catani (110) at Lawson Poole Reserve.
The Rebels were on fire from the get-go, with Scott Pallent (65), Mark Zoldak (37), and Eddie Pulu (35) and Ross Hopwood (27) carving the Cats at every opportunity.
Jeremy Hill (3/18 off 8), Ash Zinnow (2/22) and Tom Robinson (2/25) did their best to stem the flow.
Matt Coleman (33) and Hill (22) made a promising start for the Cats but it fell to pieces in a hurry. Nargarra Hume (3/9 off 5) had a great day out for the Rebels.
And Upper Beaconsfield (226) enjoyed a soft and comfortable victory over Devon Meadows (128).
Lee Thomas (35) and Graham Watson (28 not out) tried hard for the Panthers but were made to work by Russ Muir (3/34), Chris Howard (2/12) and Dave Westra (2/15 off 8).
The Maroons gained some solid batting practice in reply with Paul Matthews (60), Nick Pastras (58 not out) and Josh Westra (38) all getting amongst the runs.
Clyde forfeited its game and the 12 points to Pakenham.