AROUND THE GROUNDS: BEARS SUBDUED BY WILD BUCK
By Richard Millott
Upwey’s Darren Buck scored career-best figures during his 7-wicket stint to claim the points against The Basin.
Buck set the trend early, showing no mercy against the ladder-leading Bears’ top order who were reeling at 5/9 before ultimately being dismissed for just 34. Quenten Well (57) and James Dobbie-Hayward (35*) made light work of the target, finishing the match at 2/146. Upper Ferntree Gully are now in the Top 4 thanks to victory against Johnson Park. Alister Lord reached 70 to lead the Kings to 234, and with the Sharks at 2/136 it was the hosts who looked the goods. However Tom Roleff (5/42) and Rob Birnie (4/53) combined across the innings to dismiss the Sharks for 194. Knoxfield now sit atop the Division 3 ladder after a dominant showing against Eildon Park thanks to Michael Casement (5/33). The Knights are on 52 points, whilst Upwey and The Basin (both 48pts) are separated on percentage. Upper Ferntree Gully complete the 4, whilst Ferntree Gully will be looking to jump their neighbours in the run home.
In Division 4 and it was Knox Gardens who extended their winning streak into double-figures, their 10th win coming against South Belgrave. The Falcons were held to just 156 thanks to South’s Jake Lawson claiming 6/39. However the visitors were to be denied, despite Lance Davidson’s (43) efforts. Josh McGowan (5/34) and Travis Mulder (3/30) ensured the Falcon target was defended, dismissing South for 129. Knox-Boronia Churches all but confirmed the makeup of the top 4, with an away outright victory over Mountain Gate seeing them now 16 points clear of the chasing Monbulk with 16 points on offer. Meanwhile huge scores from Andrew Doyle (109) and James Fenby (101) – who together combined for a 175-run 3rd wicket partnership – saw St Johns to 7/376, accounting for Rowville who were lead by Darren Hill (69) to reach 173 in response.
Upwey have pulled clear on top of Division 5 following a 10-wicket win over Knox-Boronia Churches. Wickets were shared by the Tigers who dismissed the Burras for 92, before declaring at 4/149 after a Rick Lizza 92. In the second innings, Jackson Barnard claimed 3/6 from his 11.4 overs to do his part to dismiss the hosts for 80, with Upwey passing at 0/26 to finish the match. Meanwhile Knox City find themselves in close company following their encounter with Knoxfield. The Knights scored 9/386 at Benedikt Reserve, with Dilhan Rahubadde (80), Rob Harris (65), Greg Paroissien (60) and Daniel Seymour (58) all reaching half-centuries. For the Tigers, Chris Eastwood retired after reaching a century, with the visitors dismissed for 238. The Tigers hold onto second place by 0.0015 % from Knoxfield, both teams on 36 points whilst Lysterfield trail in 4th by just 2 points.
Rowville hold onto top spot in Division 6 by just a single point with both teams registering solid wins last Round. Belgrave were on the wrong end of a tight match, the Pies 301 not enough for Upper Ferntree Gully’s 7/311. Tyson Porter (77) and Lachlan Dyer (64) put the Pies in a good place, and Luke Rowe claiming 4/30 the points looked to be remaining in the hills. But a determined opening stand from Pat Henry (67) and Jesse Morton (59), combined with a middle-order 95 from Steve Collard, saw the Kings’ victorious. The final Top 4 spot is still up for grabs after Olinda and St Johns Tecoma (both 30pts) suffered defeats against Rowville and Monbulk respectively.
It was the home teams who ruled the roost in Division 7, with Ferntree Gully taking the points in an important matchup against The Basin. Wickets were shared amongst the Blues’ bowling attack, restricting the Bears to 9/139. In response, Gavin Kalisperis reached 105 retired in the first phase, the match ending at 1/169. Whilst Lysterfield posted a strong win over Eildon Park, the Beavers 6/320 bolstered by Dean Nicolopoulos (100 Retired Not Out) and Mitchell Johnson (80). The Panthers were dismissed for 87 as a reply, Ashley Heap claiming 4/13. The results sets up a fantastic battle to play Finals, with just 6 points covering the top 5. Lysterfield, The Basin and Ferntree Gully (all 36 points) battle for a vital home advantage, whilst Knoxfield (34pts) and Upper Ferntree Gully (30pts) all remain in proximity should results change.
A Division 8 shootout between Ferntree Gully Footballers and Belgrave saw the Griffens home. Brad Wiseman (100 Ret) helped the Pies to 9/227, before Brayden Bowes (101 ret) and Ishan Goonetilleke (74) guided the Griffens to 1/233 to claim the points. Meanwhile, St Johns Tecoma enjoyed the day, reaching 6/314 with thanks to skipper Paul Armstrong (100 ret) and Anthony Chandler (55). The Saints proved too strong for Monbulk, dismissing the visitors for 190. Despite the loss, Belgrave sits clear of Upwey (36pts), Ferntree Gully Footballers (33pts) and St Johns Tecoma (24pts), with Olinda half a game out.
In B1 Grade, Johnson Park wrapped up the minor premiership with an 8-wicket victory over Bayswater. St Johns Tecoma denied Lysterfield a chance to join the Top 4, whilst Eildon Park continue to influence the top 4, defeating 3rd-placed Knox City.