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By Richard Millott

Eildon Park have made the most of the second chance, posting a solid score in their Preliminary Final against Knoxfield.

The Panthers elected to post runs early, which was well justified as Ben Morris posted 49 from the top to be 2/68. David Smyth was busy down the other end of the pitch, revelling against the Knights attack before falling cruelly for 98 after being the key to transition into the middle order. With the score at 4/210, Tom Boxell (3/45 off 12.3 overs) and Zac Wilson (3/48 off 16 overs) begun to claim wickets as the overs ticked along, including the wickets of key contributors Josh Dowling (55) and Jarrod Hicks (33). The Knights rallied hard in the closing overs, claiming 6/32 to finish the innings in the final over for 278.

It was the Daniel Cormack Show in the Decoite Shield Preliminary Final, the South Batsman reaching 97 as part of the effort against the visiting Rowville. Cormack’s innings was the highlight with the willow, whilst Steve Sandhu claimed 3/60 for the Hawks to lead the attack. Rowville will be working hard on Day 2 to chase down the target and set up a Derby Grand Final against Lysterfield.

In the first of the Grand Finals, Knoxfield posted 5/282 against The Basin in Division 3, with Matt Plumridge reaching triple-figures for the Knights. Electing to bat first, Plumridge lead from the top to carry the bat through the innings, eventually finishing on 128 not out, including 14 fours. Matt Train was the partner in crime at the top of the order before being dismissed for 44. Despite Ben Carnell claiming 3/56 from 20 overs for the visitors, James Petrovski hit 32 late to finish off a competitive total for the Bears to chase on Day 2.

A Team effort from Knox Gardens in Division 4 has put the Falcons in good stead in their match against Rowville. Efforts from Hayden Morrison (71), Andrew Potts (60), Jason Buljabasic (56*) and Jay Wagner (33) were the key to the Falcons reaching a solid score, posting 5/265 for the Hawks to chase on Day 2.

In the first of the Split-Innings Finals, Knox City have the early honours, reaching 2/117 from their 35 overs against Knoxfield. The Tigers won the toss and batted first, denying the visiting Knights attack from claiming early breakthroughs. In the reply, Brodie Paroissien (28*) and Rob Harris (28) both reached Day 1 starts to end at 3/86.

Division 6 is evenly balanced as Rowville reached 2/107 from their overs against Monbulk. In response, Monbulk sit at 3/88 and will be wanting to overhaul the deficit on Day 2 to take the Premiership up the hill.

The Division 7 decider is poised for a grandstand finish as The Basin and Ferntree Gully do battle. The Basin elected to bat first, with Vito Blangiardo reaching 55 not out at the change, forming the bulk of the Bears’ 2/110. Not to be outdone, the Blues reached 3/105 to all but level honours on Day 1.

Upwey got the early jump on Belgrave in the Division 8 Final, the Tigers sitting at 4/127 from their 35 overs. The Pies sit at 5/85 and will be wanting quick runs in the second stage of their innings.

Meanwhile in B1 One Day Grade, St Johns Tecoma is the first club to win a Senior Premiership this season, defeating Johnson Park in the Final by 2 wickets. In front of a home crowd, Johnson Park elected to bat first but were in trouble early as the Saints attack ran through the top order to have the Sharks at 3/32. Paul Adams claimed 3/21 for the Saints, whilst with the bat Chirag Pindoriya lead the way for the Sharks with 28 as the home team was dismissed for 96. Despite the low total, it was game on as the Sharks bowling attack, lead by Bhavtik Vekaria with 5/19 from his 8 overs, were equally as attacking without conceding. Brett Smith was the shining light in the low-scoring affair, his unbeaten 37 not out helping provide support with the bat to reach 8/97 to claim the Premiership.

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