FINALS UP FOR GRABS DESPITE TEAMS CONFIRMED

By Richard Millott

The Race for the Norm Reeves Finals has ended with Lysterfield, Knox Gardens, Knoxfield and The Basin to finalise their finishing order next week after a crucial Round 11.

Eildon Park travelled to Batterham Reserve with a win the only way to keep their top four aspirations alive. The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first, making progress by seeing off the opening Bears bowling until Josh Lee came into the attack. Lee claimed 5/28 from his 8 overs as the Panthers reached 166 for a target. Scott Vozzo and Shane Luck partnered for an 88-run stand before Luck was dismissed for 36, with Vozzo falling shortly after for 61 to be 3/108. The defending Premiers saw off the challenge of last year’s finalists with the Bears passing the target at 6/168 to book their place in March. Eildon Park host Upwey to finish the season aiming to lock in 5th, whilst The Basin travel to Johnson Park in an attempt to climb above Knoxfield to host the Elimination Final.

A year after claiming the Decoite Shield, Lysterfield have reached rare air at the top of Norm Reeves Shield at the end of the following season after defeating Knox Gardens. The Beavers lost an early wicket however recovered nicely as Nathan Hicks (84), Nathan Walsh (63*) and Anthony Brolic (54) all reached Half-Centuries against the Falcons bowling attack, lead by Scott McInerney (3/36). The visitors went big late – 70 runs from the final 7 overs of their innings - to take control, posting 6/251. In reply, the Falcons toiled hard against the attack in an arm-wrestle to break free and chase at 4/101 after 24 overs. In the end, only Matt Bell (43) was able to affect the Falcons’ scoring as the home team was dismissed for 168. The win places Lysterfield a win ahead with a win against Upper Ferntree Gully all that is needed to secure the minor premiership and hosting rights to the Qualifying Final. Meanwhile Knox Gardens travel to Belgrave to conclude the home and away season, with a result securing the double chance.

Johnson Park prevailed in their key matchup against Upper Ferntree Gully at Kings Park, with Steve Devenish providing an all-round performance. The Kings set out to post a target first however the Sharks ran through the top order early at 3/26. Jay Colee (32) and Daniel Giblin (22) provided resistance to prolong the Kings innings to score, eventually reaching 8/118 from their overs. Steve Devenish was superb with the ball, claiming 3/14 from his 8 overs including 3 maidens. Thoughts of a straightforward outcome disappeared early as the Sharks were 3/21 in their reply. However again it was Devenish (66*) to the rescue, spending over 2 and a half hours at the crease to carry the bat and secure a vital win at 6/119. The win puts the Sharks a game clear of the Kings, meaning victory against The Basin will secure their place in Norm Reeves Shield for 2020/21. In contrast, Upper Ferntree Gully will need a big win against Lysterfield and require The Basin to win big also to sneak into 9th in the final round.

It was a big win at Carrington Reserve as Knoxfield proved too good on the day for Belgrave. The Knights combined well in the middle order as Trent Scholfield (73), Zac Wilson (37) and Jake Balfour (33*) all got starts to propel the home team against the Pies to reach 4/208. Belgrave were knocked around early by the Knights bowlers as the visitors sat at 3/19. Johnathon Levell (33) was the only Magpie to get a start, whilst with the ball Jacob Quigley claimed 4/29 on his recall to the 1st XI as the visitors were dismissed for 109. Knoxfield sit 3rd and will need to defeat Ferntree Gully Footballers and hope for Belgrave to defeat Knox Gardens to jump to 2nd next week. Meanwhile, Belgrave host Knox Gardens, with the result either way most likely keeping the Magpies in 8th place.

Upwey have jumped to 6th place after defeating Ferntree Gully Footballers at Upwey on Saturday. The Tigers used the home deck first as a selection of Middle-order Maestros got starts, with Matt Mulcahy (32), Jordan Dunstone (43), Chris Jewell (49) and Steve Gannell (40*) all contributing to Upwey’s 8/235. Troy Maggs was the pick of the bowlers for the Griffens, claiming 3/66. The Griffens were struck down early as Kyle Snyman went through the top order to leave the visitors reeling at 3/10. The news did not get much better at 6/34 as Snyman reached figures of 4/17 from 8 overs. Some lower-order exploits from Kuldeep Sidhu (59) and Lahiru Kumara (54*) took the Griffens to 8/170. Upwey travel to Eildon Park next round, whilst Ferntree Gully Footballers will take on Knoxfield at Picketts Reserve.

In Decoite Shield, Mountain Gate made it two-from-two against finals aspirants, this time accounting for Rowville at Seebeck Reserve. It took only 3 balls from Luke Turner for the Hawks to be on the back foot, with the Gator skipper claiming 2/0 from the opening over. The Gators were up and about early, running through the Hawks at 5/32. No batsmen were able to reach starts, as Luke Turner (3/20) and John Rozakis (3/25) helped to dismiss the Hawks with 103 on the board. In reply, the Gators were made to work for the win, with Monto Perera claiming 4/13 whilst the Gators chipped away at the target after a middle order stall that lost 4/10, before the winning runs were secured within 25 overs. Rowville’s season is on the line and out of their hands, with the Hawks needing to defeat St Johns Tecoma comfortably and needing the Gators to defeat South Belgrave. The Gators could level on points up to 5th place next week pending results.

Monbulk remain on top of the ladder after a big win over St Johns Tecoma. The Hawks were served well at the top as Jason Fraser (40) and Udara Ravindu (30) got the Hawks going before the Saints bowlers shared the wickets around to restrict the home team to 8/134. Duncan Maher proved the thorn in the side for the Saints, claiming 4/13 as the Hawks rolled the Saints for 89. The Hawks travel to Olinda with an eye on wrapping up the Minor Premiership, whilst St Johns Tecoma will do battle against a determined Rowville squad at Talaskia.

Ferntree Gully are on a run of form coming into finals, with their latest win coming at the expense of Olinda. The Blues had Josh Henry at the top of the order scoring as he pleased, dismissed for 85 with support from Harry Cowling (39) and Jayden Bradbury (31) to reach 7/186, with Taf Kamungozi the pick of the Olinda bowlers with 3/49. Olinda set off in chase however were kept in check by the Blues, with Pat Mastertoun claiming 3/16 as the visitors were dismissed for 114. Ferntree Gully take on Knox Gardens next week to secure a Qualifying Final place – a win and results going their way will allow the Blues hosting rights, whilst Olinda end their season next week against Monbulk.

Meanwhile, South Belgrave are in the box seat for the last remaining place in the Finals after defeating Knox Gardens in a tight affair. South Belgrave batted first and stuck around early, with the score 1/73 from the first 15 overs. Jordan McDermott was the mainstay of the innings with 64, alongside Mark Baker (45) who combined did all they could to stop Spencer Stuckey (4/54) with the ball. South ended their innings at 9/210, and the Falcons were up to the challenge with Lachlan Stuckey (46), Dyllan Milligan (33) and Callum O’Connor (30) all reaching starts and kept the scoreboard ticking, needing 13 runs from the final over but falling short at 9/203. South travel to Mountain Gate, where a win or – in the event Rowville win – a narrow loss would be enough to secure a berth in the Elimination Finals. Knox Gardens host Ferntree Gully, where a comprehensive victory to the Falcons may displace the Blues in the Qualifying Final.

NORM REEVES SHIELD LADDER (AFTER ROUND 11) – PROVISIONAL

LYSTERFIELD – 60pts (1.645%)
KNOX GARDENS – 54pts (1.235%)
KNOXFIELD – 48pts (1.575%)
THE BASIN – 48pts (1.264%)
Eildon Park – 36pts (1.067%)
Upwey – 24pts (0.966%)
FTG Footballers – 24pts (0.802%)
Belgrave – 18pts (0.684%)
Johnson Park – 12pts (0.760%)
Upper FTG – 6pts (0.587%)

DECOITE SHIELD LADDER (AFTER ROUND 11) – PROVISIONAL

MONBULK – 54pts (1.675%)
FERNTREE GULLY – 48pts (1.586%)
KNOX GARDENS – 42pts (1.381%)
SOUTH BELGRAVE – 36pts (0.917%)
Rowville – 30pts (0.839%)
St Johns Tecoma – 24pts (0.982%)
Mountain Gate – 24pts (0.584%)
Olinda – 6pts (0.626%)

© 2013 by Fentree Gully and District Cricket Association.

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