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By Richard Millott


Knoxfield sit in second place at the Christmas break after defeating Ferntree Gully Footballers at Carrington Reserve.


Electing to bat first after winning the toss, the Knights reached 7/153 from their 20 overs, with Tom Boxell the top scorer with 74, including 8 boundaries. Darren Petersen earlier started the innings off strongly with 35. For the Griffens, Ben Rawlings was the pick of the scoresheet, his 3/23 coming from 3 overs. In reply, the Griffens were in trouble being 2/1 early in the chase, of which they never fully recovered to finish 8/115, with Kuldeep Sidhu the highlight with the bat with 36. Despite the loss, the Griffens find themselves entrenched in 3rd spot.


A thriller at Knox Gardens Reserve as Johnson Park hit a boundary from the final ball of the match to deny the Falcons of victory. Batting first, it was a measured start with the willow from the home team with Josh Gregory (35) and Pete Dunlop (33) helping to guide Knox Gardens to 4/133 at the end of the innings. What prevailed was a Christmas Classic as the Sharks doggedly chased the Falcons target, reaching 7/134 to reach the target score on the final ball of the match. The result helps to shape a congested mid-table contest, with Johnson Park sitting 5th being in a 3-way battle for 2 finals spots on 30 points, whilst for the Falcons the result leaves them a match back in 6th on 24 points.


The Basin remain undefeated at the break after victory against a spirited Upper Ferntree Gully. Blake Walters sent the white ball to all corners of Batterham Reserve on his way to 91 not out, in an innings which included 7 fours and 5 sixes. Jayden Turcinovic helped to finish the innings strongly for the Bears, reaching 4/165. In reply, the Kings kept their hosts honest in the contest, reaching 5/147 at the end of their innings, with Jay Collee the standout with 73 not out. Upper will be looking to use the close result in the new year to help lift themselves further up the ladder, whilst for The Basin they sit atop on 48 points, 2 matches clear.


Upwey returned to the winners list after accounting for Ferntree Gully. The Tigers set 146 as a target, with Darren Spence leading the way on 35. The Blues endured a horror start to their chase at 3/7 in the early part. Adrian Catalano again featured on the scoreboard with 49 not out as the visitors were all out for 105. Kyle Snyman (3/5 off 3 overs) and Cameron Wheeler (3/24 off 4) ensured the Tigers were in control early with the ball, a control which never relented. The win helps Upwey into 4th spot in a group on 30 points, with strong performances in the new year needed to remain there. For the Blues, they sit in 8th place and will be aiming to improve their showings to push further away from the drop zone.


Eildon Park enjoyed a comfortable win against Belgrave, the Panthers victorious to the tune of 9 wickets. Earlier, Belgrave reached 9/104 thanks to Aaron Brunner’s 45, whilst with the ball Jake Pollard starred for the Panthers, claiming 3/8 from 3 overs. In response, Cody Morris (41*) and Josh Dowling (41*) produced solid efforts against the Magpie bowling to seal the win, reaching 1/107 at the 17 over mark. Eildon Park joins Knox Gardens on 24 points as the Panthers improve their fortunes, whilst for the Magpies they sit in 10th place and will be looking to build on their one win for the year to date.


In Decoite Shield, Nathan Hicks put in a performance not seen since the days of Stick Cricket, with the Lysterfield skipper smashing 176 not out from just 75 balls in their match against St Johns Tecoma. The contest was blown away early as Hicks hit the Saints bowling at will in an innings including 16 fours and a massive 15 sixes. Hicks’s score is the highest individual T20 score in the FTGDCA, eclipsing Nicholas Bogar’s 117 last season. The Beavers reached 119 before their first wicket, eventually concluding at 3/263 from 20 overs. In reply, the Saints had several who reached starts, however the 13-an-over target was far too much, eventually finishing at 6/132. Lysterfield are clear on top of the ladder on 42 points, whilst St Johns Tecoma sit 7th on 12 points until the break.


It has been 7 days of differences for South Belgrave, who bounced back from defeat against Olinda last week to defeat Monbulk this week. Being sent in to bat, South made 5/151 from their 20 overs, with Mark Baker the lead with 47 whilst for the Hawks, Braden Taeuber continued his wicket-taking spree in the first half of the season, his 3/18 from 4 overs almost the perfect T20 spell. The contest evolved as South dismissed Shane Cosstick early, and, despite Aaron Bermingham’s 39, the Hawks were not able to continue at the required pace, finishing at 7/123. Monbulk now drop a game back in 2nd place, and remain a game clear of South Belgrave who sit 3rd.


Just like South, Mountain Gate’s fortunes have greatly changed in the past week to defeat Rowville to re-enter finals calculations. John Rozakis was formidable early with his 56 not out, and Pete Castledine’s 43 not out later in the innings, providing the platform for a competitive 3/132 from their overs. Alex Walker helped start the Hawks chase on the right foot, his 32 eventually being the top score against a tight Gator fielding effort to restrict Rowville to 6/101. Both teams sit 5th and 6th respectively on 18 points and will be looking to finish the season strongly to reach an attainable finals berth.


Olinda made it 2 from 2 as they defeated Knox Gardens. The Falcons reach 7/118 from their innings, with Rhys Marget (40) and Gerard Jongen (38) the main contributors to the effort. The Swans were 2/20 in reply when Tim Scott commenced the fight, his 55 not out the key to the innings that reached the required 6/122 with 10 balls to spare, despite Adam Wild claiming 4/20 for the Falcons. Olinda now joins St Johns Tecoma on 12 points each, whilst the Falcons remain in 4th spot a game behind 3rd and a game clear of 5th. 

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