Doncaster hosted Vermont Sth at Boronia Grove and batting first compiled a competitive 6/214cc. Ben Hirsch and Sam MacDonald set the early running with a fine 2nd wicket stand before Hirsch retired hurt for 36. Joe Blyth took up the challenge with a handy 22 but it was MacDonald’s 79 that was the backbone of the innings with Vermont Sths wickets evenly shared.
Namzi Ozkam made early breakthroughs before Jayden MacLeod and Matthew Sutherland played vital support roles to a brilliant 101* by Tom Cunningham to get Vermont Sth home with 5 wickets to spare in a tight and exciting finish.
Both Heatherdale and Donvale were desperately chasing points at Heatherdale Reserve but batting first the home side were quickly in trouble against some excellent Donvale bowling and despite a fighting 33 from Ben Joseph it was bowlers Josh White, Nathan Fraser, Riley Winton and Darcey Brush who shared the wickets around to knock Heatherdale over for only 76.
Scenting victory the Donvale bats put their head down and proved far too strong in reply running out comfortable winners at 4/152 with all batsmen getting a start, Jackson Ford top scoring with 46.
Park Orchards looked early doors as if they were going to post a big score and give ladder leaders Vermont a real fight. Consistent Rudi Hunt and Michael Minz combined to post a healthy 78 run opening stand and Prahn Nicholson kept the runs ticking along to bring up three figures with only 1 down. The introduction of Fraser Day and Max Healey to the bowling crease started the rot with Mitchell Tomkins-Barry snaring an impressive 3/4 to close out the innings at 8/139cc.
A slow Eagles start gave Park Orchards early hope but this was quickly dashed by Ryan Phillips who posted a tremendous unbeaten ton supported by fine all-round performances by Tomkins-Barry 23 and Healey 49 to ensure Vermont kept their unbeaten run intact.
It was a confident Blackburn Sth that travelled down to H E Parker Reserve to take on Heathmont in what promised to be a tight and entertaining clash. It was therefore somewhat of a surprise to see Blackburn Sth wickets tumble at an alarming rate to some hostile bowling by opener James King who was ably supported by Tom Delaney 3/13 and James Kelly 2/17 to be all out for only 76.
Heathmont however made heavy work of knocking of the runs against a steady attack, it took an excellent all round performance by Tom Deleaney who backed up his bowling with a handy 25 to steer Heathmont home with 5 wickets still in the shed in this low scoring affair.
Perhaps the most exciting finish of the round was at East Burwood where the home side hosted the Zebras in what was to prove another low scoring affair. Batting first Forest Hill struggled against the bowling of Justin Meridith 3/11 and Jackson Ealy 3/29 and they only just limped past the 100 mark thanks mainly to Gavin Carusi’s 24 and Ben Matthews 19 accounting for nearly half their total.
Carusi was again prominent for the Zebras when it came time for East Burwood to bat as the bowlers again dominated the bat as the match swung one way and then the other. The loss of Mitch Gale when it seemed East Burwood were slowly but surely coasting to victory gave the Forest Hill bowlers heart and as the score rose slowly and wickets fell it was down to the last pairing to eke out the final few runs as spectators chewed their nails and encouraged their “boys” on. In the end a well struck boundary saw East Burwood over the line in a match that could have so easily gone the other way.
Picking the Maddocks Sports Player of the Round is again an impossible task with the twin tons of Vermont South’s Tom Cunningham and Vermont’s Ryan Phillips sharing the award.
Bring on Rd 5 – Peter