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By Richard Millott


With the season reaching it’s Christmas Crescendo, several divisions are delicately balanced with a number of key performances influencing proceedings


Division 3

Season to date: Just like their Norm Reeves Shield squad, The Basin (42pts) sit atop with only one loss, ahead of Knoxfield and Upwey (both 36pts). Upper Ferntree Gully (30pts) complete the Top 4 following their defeat of the Bears in Round 8. Just outside, Lysterfield and Ferntree Gully (24pts) are vying to break into the top 4, whilst Ferntree Gully Footballers (18pts), Johnson Park, Eildon Park (both 12pts) and Belgrave (6pts) complete the ladder.

Key performers: Upper Ferntree Gully’s Byron Rickard has had a memorable start to the season, with the King’s batsman leading the run tally with 486 runs at an average of 69.43 to Christmas, including 3 half centuries and an unbeaten century against Eildon Park in Round 5. Upwey’s Dain Howe (307 runs at 43.86) and The Basin’s Leigh Cook (289 runs at 57.80) feature prominently on the tally – the trio having all scored centuries in the first half of the season. Craig Bridle has produced the highest score to date, his 132 against Ferntree Gully Footballers in Round 3 which has also being the highest 1st Wicket Partnership (209 runs) in the Division and is an Upper Ferntree Gully club record. With the ball, Upwey’s Steve Gannell has lead the way with 21 scalps at an average of 5.71, with best figures of 6/30 against Lysterfield in Round 7 – the best individual pre-Christmas return in Division 3. The Basin’s Ben Carnell (15 wickets at 13.20), Luke Plumridge from Knoxfield (13 wickets at 13.69) and Upwey’s Darren Buck (13 wickets at 14.92) also feature in results consistently


Division 4

Season to date: Knox Gardens enjoy an undefeated start to the season, who sit clear from Rowville (42pts) by a match. St Johns Tecoma (40pts) remain in touch in 3rd and are off-sequence thanks to outright victory over South Belgrave in Round 5. Completing the Top 4 is Knox-Boronia Churches (24pts), who sit clear of an eager Monbulk (18pts), with Olinda, South Belgrave (both 12pts) and Mountain Gate (0pts) finishing the candidates.

Key Performers: Knox Gardens’ Rhys Marget has reached 397 runs at an average of 66.17, with the talented Falcon scoring centuries against Mountain Gate (106 in Round 2) and Monbulk (112 in Round 7), alongside 2 half-centuries. James Fenby is the lead runscorer at St Johns Tecoma, with 336 runs at 67.20, whilst teammate Andrew Doyle is the other 300-plus batsman, with 301 runs at 43.00 on the board. Dean Palandri provided the grade with a reminder of his skills, with the St Johns batsman scoring 165 against Mountain Gate in Round 7 to be the best individual score so far this season, who, alongside James Fenby, put on 217 for the second wicket to be the highest partnership. Anthony Jongen leads the way with the ball in hand, with the Falcon holding 19 wickets at 12.63 with a best return of 5/36 against Knox-Boronia Churches in Round 5. Knox-Boronia Churches are represented by Martine Reid (16 wickets at 12.94), whilst Daniel Pearce (St Johns Tecoma – 13 wickets at 12.23) and Joel Wensley (Monbulk – 13 wickets at 15.69) follow. Rowville’s Steve Oudshoorn (6/24 vs St Johns Tecoma) and Knox Gardens Josh McGowan (6/51 vs Monbulk) are the best returns, with Oudshoorn delivering a Hat Trick during his performance.

Division 5

Season to date: Knox City and Upwey are in an arm-wrestle atop Division 5, with both teams on 5 wins each. Knoxfield (24pts) are a match back, whilst Lysterfield and Ferntree Gully (both 18pts) fight for a finals berth. The Basin and Eildon Park hold 6th and 7th places with 12 points each respectively, whilst Knox-Boronia Churches (0pts) are seeking their first win of the year in 8th place.

Key Performers: It’s a Tiger Trio in the Battle of the Batsmen, with Upwey’s Paul McCarrick the leading runscorer with 342 runs at 85.50, including 3 half centuries and a 101 not out against The Basin in Round 4. Craig Obrien (Knox City) has produced a valued effort for the Tigers, his 320 coming at an average of 106.67, including 3 half centuries and 3 not-out performances. Likewise, teammate Bart Hoggett reaching 307 runs at 102.33, with 3 half-centuries and a century against Knox-Boronia Churches. Meanwhile with the ball, The Basin’s Nathan Freeling (10 wickets at 14.50) and Knoxfield’s Dilhan Rahubadde (10 wickets at 15/50) lead the way, with Bear Trent Phillips just behind with 9 wickets at 19.33. Rahubadde has provided the best individual effort to date, claiming 6/18 against Knox-Boronia Churches in Round 6.


Division 6

Season to date: A variety of different results sees Division 6 wide open, with Rowville (33pts) on top from Monbulk (28pts) and Upper Ferntree Gully (27pts), whilst there is a 3-way battle for the final Finals place with St Johns Tecoma, Olinda and Knox Gardens (all 24pts) only split by percentage. Johnson Park sit a match behind on 18 points, whilst Belgrave (6pts) lead from the winless South Belgrave and Mountain Gate

Key Performers: Rowville’s Akila Nawagamuva leads the scoring with 226 runs on the board at 75.33, followed closely by South Belgrave’s Alan Petersen (203 runs at 40.60). Ben Lees (St Johns Tecoma – 172 at 86.00), Todd Henderson (Rowville – 172 at 57.33) and Michael Hyett (Olinda – 172 at 57.33) all are level in runs, Hyett with the benefit of providing a century in Olinda’s Round 6 match against Belgrave. Meanwhile, Rowville’s Sugi Rajapakse has claimed 13 wickets so far at an average of 6.08, highlighted by his 6/11 in Round 3 against Monbulk. St Johns Tecoma’s Bailey Elder has 10 wickets at 16.20, whilst Terry Gibbs (Olinda – 9 wickets at 10.33) and Greg Crook (Knox Gardens – 9 wickets at 11.78) are next in line and will be looking to extend their fortunes into 2019.


Division 7

Season to date: Only 6 points separate 5 teams in one of the closest Divisions at the break. The Basin (30pts) and Knoxfield (28pts) are inseparable on yet another ladder, whilst the next 3 spots are blanketed by 0.5% with Upper Ferntree Gully, Ferntree Gully and Lysterfield (all 24pts). Eildon Park (12pts) follow from Johnson Park (6pts) and Rowville (0pts) to complete the Division.

Key Performers: Gavin Kalisperis has supplied ample performances for Ferntree Gully, with the Blues Batsman sitting on 370 runs at 123.33, including 4 fifties and an unbeaten century in his latest showing against Lysterfield. Knoxfield’s Hayden Burley is next on the score sheets, his 270 runs coming at 67.50, whilst Upper Ferntree Gully’s Leigh Gifford joins the 200-club, with his double-century tally coming at an average of 40.00. The split innings format has provided a very even competition in the bowling stakes, with Upper Ferntree Gully’s Thomas Brady (12 wickets at 5.67) leading the way from Knoxfield duo Hayden (11 wickets at 10.00) and Mitchell Burley (11 wickets at 13.73). Brady produced one of the Performances of the Year across the Association, with the young Kings’ junior claiming 9/29 from 12.5 overs in Round 4 against Eildon Park.


Division 8

Season to date: The Magpies soar high as Belgrave (36pts) sit 2 matches clear of a tight competition – Upwey (24pts) sitting 2 matches clear of the bottom rung on the ladder. Behind the Tigers in 3rd is Ferntree Gully Footballers (21pts), with St Johns Tecoma and Olinda (both 18pts) fighting for the final place in the top 4, with Monbulk (15pts) and Ferntree Gully (12pts) both looking to stage late-season runs.

Key Performers: Monbulk’s Brayden Caldwell (221 runs at 110.50) and Ferntree Gully Footballers’ Dale Collins (215 runs at 107.50) are in a narrow race at the top of the order, with Andrew Dodds (Belgrave – 200 runs at 66.67) and Brayden Bowes (Ferntree Gully Footballers – 200 runs with no average) remain close. With the ball, Belgrave’s Sean Connolly leads the wicket-takers with 11 wickets at 12.82, ahead of Olinda trio Peter Bolam (9 wickets at 8.78), Kevin Brickley (7 wickets at 15.00) and Zach Pitts (7 wickets at 18.00)

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