Swift holt to advance

Endeavour Hills' Nick Cigetic just beats a run-out attempt by Noble Park's Marasinghe Perera. 129255 Pictures: JARROD POTTER



THE cross-town rivalry renewed again as Endeavour Hills (146) and Noble Park (1/66) locked horns.
The reigning premiers flexed their mighty bowling attack early as the Eagles lost Justin Merlino (1) to a Rizan Mawzoon (4/53) thunderbolt that edged to Mevan Fernando. The responsibility fell to Zach Allen (50) – with the Southern Pioneers representative batsman showcasing his true capabilities. His last big knock was 83 plundered on the MCG in February against Inner South East Scorpions – but his steadying half-ton on Saturday held great significance to the Endeavour Hills’ revival.
Allen would lose his wicket immediately after raising the bat as Fernando (1/24) straightened one of his spinners to force the young batsman out LBW. Andrew Berman (2/14) and Mawzoon continued to chip away at the Eagles before Ben Swift (43) stopped their advance. Swift was left to anchor the innings as wickets fell about him. The wicketkeeper-batsman posted his best score for the club and was only denied a half-century by a lack of support at the other end. Mawzoon and Marasinghe Perera (2/31) also played a significant part in denying Swift his maiden VSDCA half-century as they ran through the tail. Swift’s valiant knock would end as he edged Mawzoon to his opposite keeper Dirk Vandergert, leaving Endeavour Hills with 146 in the bank off 56.2 overs. Andrew O’Meara’s (3) slow start to the season continued as Chris Periera (1/19) found the opening wicket. O’Meara’s edge to Merlino would be the only Eagles’ highlight for the Noble Park innings as Sanjeewa de Silva (30 not out) and Perera (26) knocked off nearly half the required total by stumps.