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By Richard Millott


Whilst Norm Reeves Shield and Decoite Shield featured on cricket’s return to the community, there were plenty more stories throughout the grades as Divisions 3 through to 10 marked a return to the fields also.


Upper Ferntree Gully won a thriller over neighbours Ferntree Gully. Set 142 by the Blues at Dandenong Club Oval, Matthew Irvine-DeJong put in a great allrounder effort (3/18 with the ball into 32 with the bat) to keep the Kings in the contest, ultimately decided on the last ball of the day with points to the Kings. Elsewhere, Jack Meyers (4/33) influence with the ball helped Eildon Park to the chocolates over Ferntree Gully Footballers by 35 runs, Justin Carland claimed 5/34 before Kyle Gwynne (57*) and Maverick Taylor (58*) put on an unbeaten 101-run partnership to see Lysterfield home over Knoxfield by 8 wickets, whilst other results included Monbulk defeating Johnson Park by 6 wickets, Upwey defeating Belgrave by 31 runs, and The Basin defeating Knox City by 4 wickets.


Re-admitted to the FTGDCA little over a week ago, Aura Vale celebrated their return with a win at Narre Warren East Reserve over Knox Gardens. Louis Nichols claimed 4/25 from 8 overs to keep the visitors restricted to 142, chased down with Mitchel Dubbeld (56) and Mitchell Haughton (57) leading the way to an 8 wicket win. Eildon Park held on in a tight contest at Olinda, claiming the Round 1 points by just 5 runs. Blake Teunissen (73 and 3/11) featured across the day for the Panthers, however Olinda would feel this one got away after losing 4/1 in the latter stages to fall short in their chase. Elsewhere, Mountain Gate had a 7-wicket win over South Belgrave at HV Jones Reserve, whilst wins to Upwey over Boronia churches and St Johns Tecoma over Rowville completed the opening round action after Michael Timmers claimed 5/12 for the Saints.


A bag of wickets from Matt Lima wasn’t enough for Lysterfield to hold back Knoxfield at Parkridge Reserve. Lima (5/29) was the standout for the Beavers, whilst for the Knights Trent Scholfield (79) featured in taking the visitors to 8/191. Harry Occhipinti (42) lead the chase through the middle order, falling short by 35 runs at 7/156. Monbulk claimed the spoils against Silvan by 38 runs. The Hawks – lead by Jason Simmonds (68) - put on 8/173 from their overs. The Slugs fought hard with Robert Dipietrantonio (44) from the top, before the Hawks bowlers dismissed the hosts for 135. In the other matches, The Basin logged a first-up win over Upper Ferntree Gully, whilst Ferntree Gully claimed the points on the back oval at Wally Tew against Ferntree Gully Footballers.


Martin Wood put on a batting masterclass at Menzies Creek Reserve in Belgrave’s win over St Johns Tecoma. The Saints batted first posting 7/165 with Zach Vallantine (43) leading with the willow. Wood became the first batsman to reach the milestone for the season on the way to the Magpies posting 6/207 in reply to claim the win. Johnson Park SKLPS claimed a tight win over Upwey at Thompsons Reserve. Asked to bat first, the Sharks were lead by Kishan Vekaria (46) on the way to posting a target of 161 – Aidan Beattie leading the way with the ball for the Tigers claiming 4/26. In response, the Shark bowlers shared the spoils around the attack, with the hosts falling for 148. In other matches, Lysterfield enjoyed a first round win over Rowville, whilst Johnson Park defeated Olinda at Fairhills.


A spirited bowling effort from Mountain Gate wasn’t enough to deny Knox Gardens, with the Falcons victorious by 23 runs. Brodie Hunt (4/35) and Pat Liddy (4/25) brought the visitors back into the game after wickets were hard to find early on as the experience of the Falcon’s Deepak Puri (34) and Travis Mulder (39) came to the fore to reach 155. Braedyn Williams (48) carried the bat through the Gator chase, however it wasn’t to be as the Falcon bowlers shared the duties to restrict the visitors to 4/132. There were bags of wickets on both sides of the fence at Karoo Reserve between Upwey and Ferntree Gully. Pat Van Dyk (5/24) claimed his in the early afternoon, however Richard Wicks (69) was equally as influential to help the Tigers post 8/149. In response, the Blues were hampered by Noah Weston claiming 5/12 to be dismissed for 100. Elsewhere, Upper Ferntree Gully held on by 16 runs over Boronia Churches, whilst Knoxfield held on for a 7 run win over Knox City despite Kaden Baldock’s 5/49 for the Tigers.


Aura Vale enjoyed a big win over St Johns Tecoma at Dobson Park. After a promising start to the day for the Saints, Gary Brown (4/15) and Elijah Macgraw (4/2) had the ball on a string for the Lakers to send the Saints packing for 77. In reply, the Saints were unable to find a breakthrough as the visitors reached 0/82, with Chris Mahony (41*) and Dusty Macgraw (37*) leading the way. Lysterfield capitalised on their bowling to bankroll an 8-wicket win over The Basin at Colchester Park. James Duke claimed 4/4 from his 6 overs, going a long way to dismiss the Bears for 79. Aaron Singh (45*) provided the Beavers with the platform needed to pass the target, ending at 2/81. Johnson Park had an 8-wicket win out the back of Eildon Park, whilst Ferntree Gully travelled to Rowville in order to claim the points over Johnson Park SKLPS.


Upper Ferntree Gully’s Pat Henry joined the exclusive Round 1 Hattrick Club in a big win over Olinda at Kalorama. The Kings reached 7/199 with Andy McLean (40) leading the way with the willow before Henry (4/18 inc Hattrick) ripped through the order to deny the hosts by 77 runs. Wickets and runs were the order of the day at Baynes Park in the match between Monbulk and Boronia Churches. Darcy Brown (48) lead the scoring as the visitors reached 122 in the 26th over. The Hawks reply – lead by Chris Defina (47) – needed 18 overs on the short ground to end the match at 2/124. Belgrave tasted success over Mountain Gate at Windermere Reserve, whilst Ferntree Gully Footballers claimed a 3-wicket victory over South Belgrave.


Nicholas Keegan fell short of a perfect start to the Season in Monbulk’s win over Bayswater. Keegan fell for 93, with Clayton Spooner (45) also featuring to take the Hawks to 8/210. Kulvir Bhullar claimed the best figures for the day in the FTGDCA, taking 6/18 from his 7 overs. The hosts’ response struggled, with the Waters ending the day at 9/79 with the Hawks sharing the wickets around. St Johns Tecoma had a big win over Lysterfield at Gillmour Park. The Beavers were on the back foot early, with Nick King (3/5) leading the attack for the Saints to dismiss the hosts for 86. In reply, Adam Preece reached 64* as the Saints hit 1/110. Whilst in the final match, 4/11 from Olinda’s Charles Eames wasn’t enough to deny Ferntree Gully a 3-wicket win.

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