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by Richard Millott

Upwey have prevailed for the first time this season in their encounter with Johnson Park, as Cameron Wheeler ran riot with both bat and ball against the Sharks.


Currently in the process of re-inventing himself as a batsman with a bowling problem, Wheeler tamed the Johnson Park attack with 4/45 from his overs, on the back of his 73 the week before. David Carman provided support for the tigers with 3/24 as the Sharks were dismissed for 145, well short of the required 278 set by Upwey. Robbie Cox (45) and Julian Whetstone (30) the only noted contributors towards the target.


A spirited showing by Jonathan Levell and Aaron Brunner wasn’t enough to get Belgrave over the line in their match against Mountain Gate. United at the crease with the score at 1/42 chasing the Gators 7/304, Levell (93) and Brunner (85) put on 135 runs for the 2nd wicket, however a determined bowling attack found a breakthrough in the 52nd over, with Kevin Atacador the main protagonist claiming 5/65 as the visitors scored their first points of the season.


Knoxfield’s game plan of restricting run chases was at it’s best again against Eildon Park, with the Knights remaining undefeated this season. Steve Pimm’s 62 was the only batting highlight for the Panthers in their reply of 168, with Jake Taylor adding 3/20 from his time with the pill in hand.


Ferntree Gully atoned for last week’s batting performance against The Basin, however the result did not go their way as the home team held on. Dismissed for 144 and the overnight score requiring just 47 more runs across the afternoon, the Blues started in the best possible way with a first up wicket. The Bears found runs hard-going as Bryce Galvin (3/30) and Tim Parker (3/21) were restrictive whilst claiming vital wickets. Ferntree Gully’s resolve strengthened as the target approached, with the crescendo being a 9th wicket with 3 runs still required. The Basin managed to scrape past to deny Ferntree Gully of an unlikely victory after last week’s scoreline, thanks in part to Blake Walter (37) and Jayden Turncinovic (34).


Closing out Norm Reeves Shield for the round, Upper FTG proved too good for Knox Gardens, chasing the target down with 2 wickets in hand. Aaron West (41) and Rob Burnie (41*) both were on duty for the Kings’ batting card as they steered the total to 8/167. For the Falcons, Adam Metherall (3/43) and Scott McInnerny (3/46) toiled away with sound performances.


After the conclusion of Round 3, Knoxfield sit atop of Norm Reeves standings from Upper Ferntree Gully as the only other undefeated team. A game back, The Basin and Ferntree Gully find middle ground from Eildon Park, Knox Gardens, Upwey, Belgrave and Mountain Gate a game back, with Johnson Park still looking to open their account for the year.


In Decoite Shield, Darren Hill could do no wrong for Rowville in their match against Knoxfield, claiming an outstanding 7/23 to seize the points. Hill’s innings was the catalyst of the big win, as the Knights were dismissed for 123, well short of the Hawks 6/339.


South Belgrave surprised a few by claiming the points over Lysterfield. Nathan Hicks (46) and Adam Kinniburgh (45) were the mainstays of the Beaver’s innings, however were only able to tally 132 – well short of South’s 215.


After claiming first innings points last week, Monbulk continued against Olinda to 197 with thanks to Shane Cosstick’s 55 and an unbeaten 45 from Tom Taylor. For Olinda, Chris Brown (3/16) and Dominic Woodfield (3/56) ensured it would not be a long day in the field. Olinda then batted time to reach 5/141 at close, Tim Scott again in the runs with 44.


Tharanga Lakshita stared for Ferntree Gully Footballers claiming 5/38 in setting up victory against St Johns Tecoma. Andrew Evans (47) was the shining light for the Saints in their reply, however were eventually rolled for 185 to concede the points to the Griffins.


Ferntree Gully Footballers lead proceedings in Decoite Shield from Monbulk in close range as Rowville, South Belgrave, Olinda and Lysterfield look to build on successes so far this season, whilst St Johns Tecoma and Knoxfield will seek to join the winners list in the coming weeks.


Meanwhile, The Local Cricket Show will preview all of the upcoming T20 Weekend matches, with Ryan Handley and Mark Teofilo from Ferntree Gully joining the team at Radio Eastern 98.1 FM at 8am on Saturday 4th November.

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