By Nick Creely
DDCA TURF 1, 2 AND 3
REVIEW – ROUND 5
It’s almost inevitable that Springvale South and Buckley Ridges will play out a few more thrilling battles this season.
Their first encounter of the season in Saturday’s Round 5 one-dayer went down to the final over – and it couldn’t have been scripted any better.
The Bucks had a bat first at Alex Nelson Reserve, and the Bloods snared two key scalps early, sending the dangerous Daniel Watson (12) and classy Susa Pradeep (10) back to the sheds without inflicting much damage.
Gun Kiwi Greg Todd (61) looked in fine touch, and combined in an entertaining 63-run stand with Troy Aust (30), and eventually, the Bucks reached a highly competitive 5/183 off their 40 overs.
Malinga Bandara (1/22) was highly important with eight tight overs for the Bloods, while seamer Tim Ford (2/34) did the bulk of his damage in the early part of the innings.
Michael Vandort (18) and Nathan King (52) ensured the Bloods could muster up plenty of momentum with the bat, compiling a strong 61-run opening stand before Vandort was undone by Matthew Goodwright (1/25), who trapped the left hander in front.
The Bloods continued to move things along, but the wicket of King sparked a mini-collapse, and suddenly, it was game on as the home side found themselves 5/143.
The wise veterans, Craig Slocombe (26 not out) and Steven Spoljaric (59 not out), knew exactly how to handle the situation, finding the boundaries when they needed to be hit, and the pair soaked up plenty of pressure to leave the equation with six balls remaining and four runs to win.
With Bucks champ DJ Watson steaming in, Slocombe found the straight boundary off the first ball of the over, giving the Bloods early bragging rights.
Twin centuries, meanwhile, to Nathan Pilon (123) and Jordan Cleland (111) helped set up a comfortable Berwick win against St Mary’s.
The opening pair devastated the Saints, helping the Bears notch up 5/270 despite Ruwantha Kellepotha’s (4/35) brilliance with the ball.
Pilon is no stranger to devastating centuries, clubbing his fourth triple figure score for the Bears, with the former state player in ominous touch before Christmas, while Cleland scored his first century at the club, and in the DDCA, to cap off what has been a solid start to the season for the former Cranbourne premiership player.
The Saints fought hard to finish on 8/223 off their 40, but ultimately couldn’t recover after losing a clump of wickets early.
Mordialloc finally broke through for their first win of the season, showcasing the form that is expected from the powerful reigning premiers.
Off the back of gun opener Brendan Morris (89 not out), the Bloodhounds raced down HSD’s 175 with ease, notching up their first points of the season just three wickets down.
The Cobras clawed their way to 8/175 off their 40 overs, with James Van Elewoud finding some form with 54, while Suraj Randiv impressed in the middle order with a well-made 36. Ian Daniel (3/28) was the pick of the bowlers for the Bloodhounds.
But, Morris, who also picked up a brilliant 95 earlier this season, was once again a rock, with the rising opener combining well with the likes of Ryan Morris (35), Ian Daniel (20) and Nuwan Kulasekera towards the end of the innings to guide the reigning premiers to a comfortable win in the end.
And Hallam Kalora Park (6/217) held off North Dandenong (169) at Lois Twohig Reserve to pick up a much needed win and draw within breathing distance of the top four.
Meanwhile, in Turf 2, it seems to be all about the three Narre’s, who occupy the top three spots in the ladder…and by a fair margin.
The top of the ladder Narre South hosted Dandenong West at Strathaird Reserve in a one-dayer on Saturday, and got off to a blistering start courtesy of openers Morteza Ali (60) and Jakeb McVicar (34).
The class and experience of the Lions’ middle order took its toll on the Westers, with skipper Scott Phillips (78 not out) putting the visitors to the sword with a brutal knock that included four maximums, as the home side posted a mammoth 5/277 in 40 overs.
Seamer Tim Phillips (1/24) struck early to remove Nathan Power, and despite an entertaining 40 by Karthik Nadadur, the Westers could only muster up 9/172 in their 40 overs.
Second placed Narre North also snared a key win, holding off a dangerous St Brigid’s/St Louis at Narre North Reserve.
Off the back of a sublime 91 to Rams’ opener Josh Henry, the home side posted a competitive 6/182, but with the visitors’ quality with the blade, it was certain to be an entertaining chase.
It seemed destined that an upset was brewing despite losing an early wicket, with Tyler Brodie (38) and Vaib Deshpande (54) putting on 101 runs for the second wicket, but the key scalp of Deshpande proved to be the downfall, bowled out for 175.
And the third Narre – Narre Warren – held off Cranbourne to continue its impressive recent form at Casey Fields.
The Magpies were in a strong position at 3/105 after strong hands by Zach Allen (48) and Janaka Liyanabadalge (36), but an excellent bowling display from Jordan Margenberg (4/25) and Pardeep Boyal (3/23) saw the visitors rolled for 162.
In a chase that ultimately could have gone either way, the Magpies showed enough composure with the ball – largely through the efforts of Ben Ingham (3/21) – to restrict the home side to 9/146 in their 40 overs.
And in the final game of the round, Parkmore Pirates also managed to stave off a surging Dingley at Souter Oval.
The Pirates notched up an impressive 6/197, off the back of gun batsman Aditya Ganesh’s 55, and the Dingoes fell just short, finishing on 9/189, with skipper Corey Booth (43) enjoying some strong form.
And in Turf 3, Keysborough knocked over ladder leaders Beaconsfield in a brilliant display of cricket on Saturday, in a low scoring belter.
Batting first, the Tigers struggled to work their way to 7/132 off their 40, with the home side’s disciplined bowling group managing to curtail the threat that is Matt Golding, Kevin Baldsing and Jack Benbow in the middle order.
The home side quickly found themselves in a spot of bother at 5/44, with Callan Tout (5/19) ferociously rummaging through the top order, and it seemed that the Tigers would once again firm as winners.
But, Cameron McLeod (57 not out) had other ideas, defying the wickets tumbling around him – including a hat-trick to Matt Golding (4/27) that saw them fall to 8/88 – to pull off an absolute stunner of a win.
At 9/114, McLeod and tail-ender Daniel McConville (three not out) held their nerve, knocking around the runs as the Tigers desperately tried to obtain the match-winning wicket.
But the home side found the runs, in an important win for the club that has them second on the ladder coming into Christmas.
In other games, Fountain Gate (6/164) defeated Lyndale (9/131), while Parkfield (3/71) knocked over Silverton (70), while Coomoora (1/127) thumped Lynbrook (126).