HUNTLY-North Epsom kept in touch with the Bendigo District Cricket Association top four with a one-run win over Golden Square in their round five one-day match yesterday.
Chasing the Power’s 6-201 at MyJet Oval, Golden Square needed five runs off the last over bowled by Sam Johnston to win.
However, Johnston bowled a superb final six balls, only allowing Golden Square, who had John Lalor (32 n.o.) and Jamie Bysouth (3) at the crease, three runs as Square finished at 7-200 to suffer its first loss of the season.
Johnston had been expensive throughout the innings, conceding 53 runs off his nine overs, but he held his cool superbly in the tense last over.
Opener Max Grant top-scored for Golden Square, making 66. Grant belted nine fours – five of which were his first five scoring shots.
It was a rare failure for fellow opener Scott Johnson, who was dismissed in the fourth over by Nick Roebuck (1-28) for three.
But as he has done so often throughout his career, having missed out with the bat, Johnson still had an impact on the game, taking 4-24 off five overs.
The Power’s score of 6-201 was set up by a 158-run opening partnership between Ryan Grundy (90 off 132, seven fours) and Brodie McRae (68 off 139).
Golden Square didn’t break the partnership until the 38th over when Grundy was bowled by Johnson 10 short of what would have been his second century of the season.
The victory was the Power’s first over Golden Square, meaning they have now beaten every club, except Strathdale, since the North Bendigo-Huntly merger in 2001-02.
Meanwhile, there’s bound to be plenty of fielding practice at Strauch Reserve this week after the Power dropped six catches.
● Bendigo won its first game of the season with a brilliant five-wicket victory over Sandhurst at Weeroona Oval.
Set 256 to win by the Dragons, Bendigo recovered from 2-5 in the second over to post 5-259.
The Goers’ fightback after their shaky start was led by veterans Brett Andrews (81) and Mark Ryan (66).
From 2-5, Andrews and Ryan put on 117 for the second wicket to shift the momentum the Goers’ way.
The partnership ended in the 19th over when Andrews was caught and bowled by Levi Walker (1-60).
In the absence of suspended skipper Marcus McKern, Andrews made the most of his elevation up the order, with his 81 coming off just 63 balls and including 13 boundaries and a six.
With Andrews out, 17-year-old Alex Pearson and Ryan kept the runs ticking over with an 82-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Ryan batted until the 29th over and faced 75 balls in making his 66 (nine fours), while Pearson blasted 58 off just 39 balls (five fours, four sixes) in what was his maiden first XI half-century.
Mitchell Blackman (26 n.o.) and Glenn Franzi (17 n.o.) then finished the job for the Goers, who won in the 42nd over.
Earlier, Sandhurst opener Andrew Bourne’s good form continued as he made his third-straight score over 50.
Bourne – who had made 52 and 108 in his past two innings – scored 64 off 93 balls (eight fours), with the other key contribution 91 from Shane Robinson.
Starting his innings at 3-72, Robinson faced 88 balls and hit eight boundaries in his 91, but was denied a century when trapped lbw by Scott Dole (3-21) with the score on 234.
Brenton Jones improved his average to 218 with his unbeaten 41.
● Strathdale-Maristians had few hassles accounting for Strathfieldsaye by nine wickets at Bell Oval.
The Jets could muster just 7-131 off their 45 overs as their batting woes continued.
The Jets’ innings was in tatters inside the opening nine overs after they crashed to 4-12, with Liam Smith (1), Cory Devanny (1), captain Ben Gunn (5) and Tim Wood (4) all dismissed.
Spinner Craig Howard, who opened the bowling, claimed three of those early wickets on the way to a man-of-the-match return of 4-22 off nine overs.
Having lost four wickets in the first nine overs, the Jets did show some fight in only losing three more for the rest of the innings.
After his 157 in the second XI last week, Luke Millard worked hard to put a high price on his wicket, scoring 52 off 92 balls (six boundaries).
But as is becoming an all-too-familiar story for the Jets, they again had too many passengers.
After the Jets struggled to 131, there were no such worries for the Suns, who took just 21 overs to reach 1-135.
Fresh from his 170 last week, captain Linton Jacobs backed it up with 78, while Cameron Taylor (48 n.o.) returned to form, with the pair putting on 127 for the first wicket.
Taylor’s unbeaten 48 followed his economic 1-14 off nine overs of leg spin.
● White Hills is now the only team without a win after losing to Eaglehawk by 106 runs at Canterbury Park.
After winning the toss and batting, the Hawks produced a consistent batting performance in making 7-242, led by innings’ from Anthony West (45), Matt Fitt (40 n.o.) and Cory Jacobs (40), who was fresh from his 12th man duties with Carlton the previous day.
Captain Aaron Monro (3-43) and Thomas Schultz (3-49) took three wickets each for the Demons, who in reply were bowled out for 136.
Only Gavin Bowles (33) and impressive youngster Brayden Stepien (25) passed 20 for the Demons.
Just like the batting, the Hawks’ bowling was even, with five players all taking two wickets apiece.
● Bendigo United cemented its position in the top four with a 39-run win over Kangaroo Flat at Harry Trott Oval.
Heath Behrens (81 off 94, 11 fours) was again the Redbacks’ standout, while Nick Crawford (44 off 93), who hit a rare six, offered solid support in a 110-run partnership for the third wicket.
Skipper Leigh McDermott finished 33 not out off 28.
Captain Adam Burns (4-26) picked up four of Kangaroo Flat’s six wickets, including that of Behrens.
Kangaroo Flat answered with 8-166. While not a winning score, it was an improved performance on the previous week against Golden Square.
Daniel Barber (43) made his highest first XI score, while Brent Hamblin was 24 not out, but no one else made more than 20.