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By David Nagel

WGCA LOWER GRADES
REVIEW – ROUND 5 (DAY TWO)

 

B GRADE
Merinda Park (7/179) has rubber stamped itself as the team to beat for this year’s premiership after the Cobras steamrolled their way through Kooweerup’s (90) batting line up at Donnelly Reserve on Saturday.
A brilliant all-round performance from skipper Jass Dhaliwal – who backed up his 76 not out from day one with a game-breaking 5/22 from 14.5 overs – paved the way for the Cobras to move two games clear at the top of the ladder.
It’s quite remarkable really, when you consider the Cobras next team up the ranks – their seniors – sit anchored to the bottom of the table in Premier Division.
But that’s a story for another day, with this nest of snakes just happy to celebrate their victory.
The early strikes were delivered by Gurpreet Goraya (2/29) and Amreek Mann (1/19), before Steve Johnson (25) and Jai Lewis (10) lifted the Demons from their 3/8 dilemma. But it was all fake bravado, with the efforts of Johnson, Lewis and Ayden Mills (15) shot down by the in-form Dhaliwal.
He removed all three batsmen in a hurry – putting the finishing touches on a clear man-of-the-match performance.
Officer (9/242) is another team that will be quite content with its spring carnival campaign after the Bullants rolled Carlisle Park (129) cheaply at Heatherbrae.
Vikram Karwal (2/15 off 11) and Dean Perrow (2/23 off 13) did the grunt work for the Bullies before handing over to Craig Fenney (3/41), who was more than happy to play his part through the middle overs.
Fenney took three-key wickets through the middle order, including that of top-scorer Manjeet Singh (46) who backed up his three wickets from the opening day. Gaurav Datt (19) and Dean Lyddy (17) also stuck to their guns for the Vikings, who fall from third to fifth on the ladder.
A stunning all-round effort from Bill Loudon (69 and 5/51) has led Devon Meadows (9/188) to one of the hardest fought victories of the season against Upper Beaconsfield (174).
Defending 188 the Panthers needed to be miserly with the ball, and the experience of Loudon and Mick Floyd (3/56 off 22) would prove crucial in this department. Neither Floyd nor Loudon – who bowled 23.2 overs – had things their own way throughout the course of the afternoon, but they stuck to their guns to lead their team to victory.
The Maroons, they’ll be rueing a missed opportunity after eight of their batsmen made their way into double figures. Those into the 20s included Matt Curtain (27), Nick Meyers (26), Nick Pastras Jnr (25) and Chad McDonald (21).
And a brave Pakenham (230) effort has fallen 28-runs short of its intended target against Emerald (9/257) at Toomuc Reserve.
Jacobus Hynes (37) and skipper Mick McLaren (30) set the platform for the Lions, who still looked out of contention at 6/138. But a rear-guard innings from Fraser Selby (46) – who shared a 60-run stand with Gary Sewell (19) – saw the Lions claw their way back.
It took inspiring bowling spells from Jake Santini (3/23) and Tristan Fraser (3/36) to finish this one off for the Bombers.

 

C GRADE
Nar Nar Goon/Maryknoll (114) has leap-frogged Cardinia (91) into fourth place on the ladder after a stunning bowling spell form Brenton Huyskens (6/11 off 8) stole the show at Nar Nar Goon on Saturday.
Resuming at 3/33 the Bulls had things on track at 3/56, and then 4/74, before the wheels well and truly fell off. Matt Celima (33) and Kobe Boswell (14) tried hard to resist ‘Husky’ and co, but in the end it was a mission beyond their means.
Huyskens was tight but damaging, cashing in on the great work of Luke Hill (3/34 off 15) and Ash Bailey (1/14 off 9.2) – who completed a very neat bowling operation.
Catani (9/189) has retained its second-place billing after its bowlers proved too hot for Pakenham Upper/Toomuc (136) to handle at Catani.
All the key players got starts for the Yabbies, with Brett Armitage (41) holding the top order together before handing over to Brett Carey (17) and Phil Brook (21). But no other batsman could find the key to stopping Riley Miller (5/26), who was absolutely sensational in a gun 18-over spell.
Adam White (3/16) was also impressive for the Cats, who took the last five wickets for 15 runs.
Cranbourne Meadows (6/186) is still the team to catch after five rounds after its batsmen produced the goods against Officer (163) at Starling Road.
There were some early nerves for the Rebels, who lost two key wickets early, but they were settled as Ben Warren-Smith (55) and Sami Muzaffar (37) put their heads down and went to work.
The pair put on a match-winning 78-run stand for the third wicket, with Warren-Smith continuing his good work later into the innings. He departed at a still dicey 6/146, but then watched on as Maqbool Laiq (19 not out) and Josh Matthews (15 not out) completed the main task at hand.
Darcy Taylor (2/35) and Jayson Dryden (2/55) took two wickets each for the Bullants.
And Clyde (6/117) has recovered from its overnight score of 4/26 to take the points against Lang Lang (89).
Skipper Ben Reilly (38) and Ross Elston (35) survived some early hostilities from the Swampies to steer their side to victory. Stuart Williams (12 not out) made sure there would be no calamitous finish as the winning-line approached.

 

D GRADE
A high-class century from stylish batsman Brad Senior (104 not out) has seen Nar Nar Goon/Maryknoll (3/268) crush the hopes of Merinda Park (186) at Nar Nar Goon on Saturday.
Victory was never in doubt for the Marygoons, who resumed at 0/27 and never looked back.
Their dominance began with a 61-run opening partnership between Alan Downes (53) and Scott Campbell (35), before Senior and Downes put on 52 for the second wicket.
But the best was yet to come, with Senior and Geoff Ball (66 not out) flaying the ball to all parts of the ground. The pair on a 155-run stand, with play brought to an end when Ball was trapped in front by Paul Humphrey (1/12) to end his quest for a century.
The Goon now replace the Cobras in second place on the ladder.
Top-team Kooweerup (191) has survived an almighty scare against Carlisle Park (181) at Barry Simon Reserve.
The Demons looked to have this one in their keeping prior to tea, with Will Selleck (4/50 off 19.4), Tom Cottrell (3/52 off 22) and Leigh Tannahill (2/30) keeping the home side under wraps. Gurpreet Soi (28) being the only top-order bat to get amongst the runs.
But from 5/46 the Vikings fought back strongly, first through a 36-run partnership between Mike Chapman (67) and Jason McQualter (18), before Martin Davies (23) and Chapman took their side to the brink of victory.
The Vikings were in command at 7/170, but lost 3/11 to fall 11 runs short of victory. Chapman’s half century included 10 glorious fours.
And SFX Old Collegians (132) had an unexpected walk in the park against Pakenham (41) at the College.
The Lions would have fancied their chances, resuming at 0/18, but fell apart in an awful hurry.
Dave Hyland (16) was the only batsman to score more than four runs as Ross Baker (4/9 off 10), Matt Robinson (2/13 off 10) and Tom Kerr (1/3) took care of business inside 30 overs.
Tooradin had the bye.

 

E GRADE
The sweet taste of victory has finally enveloped Pakenham Upper/Toomuc (6/233) after the Yabbies scored their first win of the season against Cranbourne Meadows (195) on Saturday.
And what an unlikely win it would prove to be – with the bottom team on the ladder providing the Rebels with their first loss of the season.
Day two of this contest was a cracker, with the Rebels threatening to hunt down the Yabbies score at times before the deadly duo of Stuart Langley (5/38 off 13.4) and John Baker (3/27 off 9) put the final issue to bed.
Trent McDonald (39), Terry Lieschke (37) and Wayne Mannix (34) were the main threats to the home side, who took crucial wickets at key times.
Langley’s first impact was to have Roger Cotterell (13) caught by Hayden Roberts, but his second wicket would provide the key moment of the match. After being smacked by McDonald for six, Langley adjusted his line to trap the Rebels number three in front … LBW the very next ball.
Langley then finished the game off, claiming the last two wickets to fall.
Devon Meadows (6/149dec) attempted to push for outright points but was denied by a vastly improved second-innings effort by Emerald (93 and 3/80) at Junction Village.
Resuming at 2/31, the Panthers pushed on to a 56-run lead courtesy of fine knocks from Mark Hosking (40), Peter Zauner (30) and Jason Riley (21 not out).
The Panthers then declared, asking the Bombers to the crease for a second time. Mark Smith (43 not out) stood firm for the Bombers in their second dig, staying composed in a 28-over vigil that saved his team from despair.
Sam Hurdiss (2/14 off 8) gave the Panthers initial hope with two early wickets in the Bombers second innings.
Upper Beaconsfield forfeited its clash against Catani, with Gembrook unfortunately doing likewise against Officer.

 

F GRADE
It was always going to take something special for Officer (5/208) to climb off the bottom of the ladder on Saturday, and Steve Pursell (109 not out) delivered with a well-crafted century against Cranbourne Meadows (6/193) at Lawson Poole Reserve.
Better known for his footballing exploits at Starling Road over the years, Pursell reminded everyone of his all-round talents – cracking 19 fours and one towering six along the way.
‘Pup’ lost his opening partner early, but steadied the ship with a 67-run partnership with Vincent Artis (22) and a 29-run stand with his son Cooper Pursell (21). The Bullants still had some work to do at 5/121, but Pursell finished off his work, joining forces with Greg Henderson (33 not out) for an unbroken union of 87.
Nauman Hameed (3/25) took bowling honours for the Rebels, while openers Dave Waller (1/48 off 14) and Andy Clappers (1/37 off 13) were also honest toilers.
Clyde (196) has dropped from its lofty perch at the top of the ladder after failing to chase down Nyora’s (3/228) impressive total at the Hillcrest Christian College.
The Cougars were well in commission at 3/157; with skipper Shane Jack (59) joined by Harrison Coe (55) and the consistent Clayton Blair (26) in a solid top-order performance. But the Cougars ran aground through the middle stages of their innings, losing quick wickets as Peter Gillian (5/62 off 22), Keith Maclure (2/29 off 17) and Sam Henry (2/42) fought back hard.
Gillian bowled with great control and was the main instigator in a stunning collapse by the Cougars – who lost their last seven wickets for just 39 runs.
Pakenham had the bye in round five while Carlisle Park take top spot after being gifted victory courtesy of a forfeit victory over Merinda Park.

 

G GRADE
Catani (6/323) has fallen just short of producing one of the all-time greatest run-chases – going down to Pakenham (5/335) in an unbelievable contest at Toomuc Reserve.
Rank outsiders at the start of the day, the Cats rode on the coat tails of Daniel Blake (143) whose glorious century propelled his team to the precipice of a famous victory.
Blake dominated the early exchanges, ploughing the ball to all parts in partnerships with Ryan Smith (11) and Matt Coleman (11), before getting serious with John Barrow (89 not out) after tea. The pair put on 98 for the sixth wicket, their stunning union coming to an end at the hands of Harry Patel (2/87 off 20).
But Barrow wasn’t finished yet, finding an able ally in Thomas Cairns (39 not out). The pair combined for a 94-run partnership that almost stole the prize…the pair just running out of time!
Shadab Anwer (3/84 off 20) was the pick of the Lions bowlers, with Patel earning a close second prize.
Nar Nar Goon/Maryknoll (9/196) has sent another clear message to the rest of the competition, this time with a depth-defying run chase against Clyde (181) at the Hillcrest Christian College.
The Marygoons looked in all sorts at 7/62, but showed the depth they have at their disposal with a stunning revival that shook the Cougars to the core.
Kunal Nanda (71) and Karan Nanda (60) were the heroes, cracking a 135-run partnership to keep the Marygoons unbeaten for the season. The Cougars will consider themselves unlucky, but Coby Hodgson (2/30), Michael Cloney (2/31) and Sam Manujith (2/41) can walk away with their heads held high.
And a stubborn Cranbourne Meadows (57 and 2/167) has fought hard to stave off an outright defeat at the hands of Devon Meadows (1/134dec) at the Lyndhurst Secondary College.
The Panthers declared overnight, 77 runs ahead and with maximum points clearly in their focus.
But the Panthers didn’t bank on the quality of Anthony Soros (70 not out) and Paul McCutcheon (52), who held the visitors at bay until stumps were drawn after 53 overs.
Aiden Williams (1/16) and Neil Baker (1/22) claimed a wicket each for the Panthers, who retain second place on the ladder.

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