FALCONS FLY AS GRIFFINS LEAP IN ROUND 5 MOVING DAY

By Richard Millott

A glorious Saturday afternoon greeted the Ferntree Gully District Cricket Association, as a pivotal Round 5 saw some key results provide a shakeup of the ladder prior to the Christmas break.

Knox Gardens put in a strong performance with the ball to claim the points over Knoxfield in a 10-wicket win at Carrington Park. The Knights batted first however was soon one-way traffic as the Falcons claimed 5/7 to have the hosts reeling at 5/27. Drew Withers lead the charge with 3/18 from his 8 overs, with Knoxfield reaching 112 by innings’ end. In reply, the Falcons openers remained resolute to the task, with Pete Dunlop (65*) and Joe Morsello (43*) both walking off to bank the 6 points for the visitors. Knox Gardens now sit 9th with healthy percentage and will look to build on that when hosting Eildon Park, whilst the Knights slip from 5th to 8th ahead of their Round 6 match against Johnson Park.

Ferntree Gully Footballers were another big mover, leaping into the Top 4 from 7th place after a big win over Monbulk. The Griffins chose to bat first and kept the scoreboard busy ticking over, with Tharanga Lakshita (33) and Cohen McElroy (71) keeping the Hawk bowlers at bay. Liam Hunt arrived in the later stages, his cameo of 48 off 38 balls helping to propel the hosts to 6/239. Aaron Bermingham (41) gave the visitors plenty to cheer early as the top order was up to task, with Jason Fraser (49) and Brendan Hooker (34) hitting the scoreboard at 5/148. Troy Maggs lead the way with the ball, claiming 3/21 to dismiss Monbulk for 184. Monbulk drop to 7th however will aim to bounce back against Upper Ferntree Gully, whilst for the Griffins they play Upwey-Tecoma to close out 2020.

In the Top of the Table clash, Lysterfield prevailed over The Basin at Lakesfield Reserve. The Beavers started well with Jake Arundell (31) again leading from the top before Anthony Brolic (53*) partnered with all to take on the Bears bowling, with Lachlan Dobson (46) coming in late to push the hosts to 5/194. The Bears reply was measured and paced, with scores from Tom Edwards (36) and Jake Sherriff (41) the highlights. However Tim Chivers had other plans, claiming 4/17 to skittle the visitors for 162. The Beavers will look to continue their unbeaten start against Belgrave next week, whilst The Basin will play Ferntree Gully.

Upper Ferntree Gully came agonisingly close to opening the account in a close match against Upwey-Tecoma. The Tigers took to the crease first, however the Kings bowlers were able to dismiss through the top order without major contribution, with Jay Collee finishing 30 not out as the Tigers’ leading scorer to post 9/123. In reply, the Kings started well at 0/35 before a Cameron Wheeler spell flipped the script – The Tigers claiming 4/1 all taken by Wheeler. Corey Williams (38*) held firm at the crease, helping to push the Kings to within touching distance of first points. 7 runs were needed from the final over, however a runout and Wheeler’s 5th wicket saw the Kings fall short by 4 runs at 9/119. Upwey-Tecoma now sit second outright on the ladder ahead of their match against FTG Footballers, whilst Upper Ferntree Gully will look to open the account next week up at Monbulk.

Ferntree Gully played host to Belgrave at Wally Tew, with the Blues going on to claim the points by 9 wickets. The Magpies elected to bat first with starts from the top order, with Chad Hitchcock (33) leading the way towards 144. With the ball, Josh Henry claimed 3/21 for the Blues to lead the attack. In response, Henry again featured strongly with the willow, ending the day 74 not out alongside Jayden Bradbury (48) to hit 1/145 in the 31st over. Ferntree Gully are within striking distance in 6th place and will look to improve with a win over The Basin, whilst Belgrave have an assignment next week against Lysterfield to finish the year.

Johnson Park sit 5th after their win over Eildon Park. Batting first, the Panthers recovered from an early wicket with Jake Pollard (38) the score of the top order, whilst Jake Evans (32*) helped to propel the back end of the innings. For the Sharks, Udara Ranasingha was the pick with his 3/28 helping to keep the Panthers to 8/153. The Sharks top order started well before a flurry of wickets saw them fall to 3/39. The Devinish Show continued, with Andrew (45) and Steve (32*) helping apply scoreboard pressure with a supply of runs. The Panthers turned to Jarrod Hicks (3/27) to take charge, however the Sharks brought up the runs required with 4 balls remaining – ending the day on 7/156. Johnson Park will host Knoxfield in a mid-table clash, whilst Eildon Park will look to end 2020 on a positive note with an away trip to Knox Gardens.

In Decoite Shield, Olinda’s winning ways continued, registering their third win on the trot against Rowville. Sending the visitors in was the right call as the Blood bowlers ran riot through the top order, with Taf Kamungozi (3/24) and Josh Langer (3/15) leading the way. Any hope of relief from the Hawks wasn’t forthcoming, with Jonty Scott (3/16) joining the party to dismiss the visitors for 88 within 29 overs. The Hawks toiled hard to try to defend the target, with wickets falling at regular intervals. However Tim Scott (36*) held his nerve to guide the hosts home, ending on 4/89. Olinda now sit a game clear in 3rd place ahead of Rowville in 4th, with next week’s match a return fixture between the duo at Seebeck Oval.

Mountain Gate are still searching for the opening win after being on the wrong side of the result again in a close match, this time against South Belgrave. The Gators elected to bat first, with a number of starts over the top order before Ty Pugliese hit 48 to push the hosts to 6/148 at the close. In reply, Darren Ray once again lead South from the top – his 63 not out pivotal and, combining with Jordan McDermott (35), helped the visitors to 5/149 with 23 balls in hand. The second-placed South host Knox Gardens next week, whilst the Gators will travel to Talaskia to take on St Johns Tecoma.

St Johns Tecoma’s winning streak continues to lead Decoite Shield standings, albeit a close result against Knox Gardens showed plenty of talents on both sides. Alex Ferguson shone with the bat, notching up an unbeaten 100 in the final over as the highlight of the innings to help the Saints to 5/199 from the 40 overs. Not to be outdone, the Falcons top ordered started well, with Jay Wagner (33) and Hayden Morrison (59) pushing the score towards 3/152. A renewed charge with the ball – lead by Beau Newman (3/42) – saw the Saints apply enough of the brakes to restrict the Falcons, who reached 9/189 at the days’ end. The Saints will look to continue their streak against Mountain Gate at home next week, whilst for the Falcons they will look to jump into the Top 4 with a win against South Belgrave.

NORM REEVES SHEILD – PROVISIONAL LADDER (AFTER 5 ROUNDS)

LYSTERFIELD – 30PTS (1.708%)
UPWEY-TECOMA – 27PTS (1.577%)
THE BASIN – 21PTS (1.355%)
FTG FOOTBALLERS – 18PTS (1.101%)
Johnson Park – 18pts (1.027%)
Ferntree Gully – 15pts (1.114%)
Monbulk – 15pts (1.072%)
Knoxfield – 15pts (0.653%)
Knox Gardens – 12pts (1.441%)
Eildon Park – 9pts (0.847%)
Upper FTG – 0pts (0.627%)
Belgrave – 0pts (0.288%)

DECOITE SHIELD – PROVISIONAL LADDER (AFTER 5 ROUNDS)

ST JOHNS TECOMA – 27PTS (2.266%)
SOUTH BELGRAVE – 21PTS (1.303%)
OLINDA – 21PTS (1.293%)
ROWVILLE – 12PTS (0.815%)
Knox Gardens – 9pts (0.659%)
Mountain Gate – 0pts (0.494%)