EMU Creek proved its flag credentials in the Emu Valley Cricket Association on Saturday by defeating reigning premier Mandurang.
Resuming at 0-45 in reply to the Rangas’ 9-260, Emu Creek replied with 278 on the back of an even batting performance.
Seven Emu Creek batsmen passed 20, yet none made more than 50, with veteran Shane Hamilton top-scoring with 47 as his consistent form continued.
Emu Creek had looked like cruising to victory when it was 6-256 and needing just five runs to win with four wickets in hand.
But the Rangas showed their fighting spirit by taking 2-0 to leave the game on a knife-edge with Emu Creek 8-256.
However, the last two Emu Creek wickets combined to put on 22 runs as last year’s wooden-spooners took a step towards securing a top-two finish.
Skipper Warrick Behrens led Mandurang back into the game late as he took 4-38 off 11 overs, while Geoff McLean claimed 2-39 and took three catches.
● An eight-wicket bag from Spring Gully’s Peter Stepien propelled the Crows to their second win in a row.
Stepien took 8-60 off 22 overs – the best bowling figures in the EVCA this season – as West Bendigo was bowled out for 141 in reply to the Crows’ 171.
West Bendigo’s top-order failed as the Redbacks, who had resumed at 2-28, crashed to 7-41.
Only Ken Bell (44) and Andrew Sharpe (37) made double figures for the Redbacks, whose three-game winning streak came to an end.
Stepien’s eight wickets were three bowled, three lbw and two caught.
Spring Gully was 5-143 at stumps in its second innings.
● Golden Gully ended its five-game losing streak with a superb batting performance against Maiden Gully.
Set an imposing target of 338, the Cobras scored 9-347.
In his first game of the season, Leigh Penrose (81), Nathan Shatwell (72) and opener Paul Barber (68) all made half-centuries for the Cobras in what was their first score over 300 for more than five years.
Glenn McCoomb battled hard to try to lift Maiden Gully over the line, picking up 5-51 off 13 overs, including the wickets of Barber and Shatwell.
● Marong won its third game of the season with an 89-run victory over Axe Creek.
Axe Creek resumed at 2-69 in reply to the Panthers’ 234, but added just 76 more runs before being bowled out for 145.
The Panthers shared the wickets around, with Duane Anderson (3-41) picking up three to take his tally for the season to 14.
The Panthers were 6-163 in their second innings, with Richard Murphy following up his first innings 128 with 57, while Scott Ross finished 61 not out to pass the 500-run mark for the season.
● For the third time this season, unbeaten United scored more than 300.
The Tigers answered Sedgwick’s 196 with 6-358
The run-spree was led by Jayde Mullane (76 n.o.), Josh White (73), Joshua Filo (65), Alexander Collins (58) and Andrew Gaul (44).
Leigh Gorrie toiled hard for Sedgwick with 3-73 off his 17 overs.
Meanwhile, it was also a long afternoon in the field for the Sedgwick second XI against the Tigers.
United’s seconds belted 5-468, with Daniel Holland (237) and Ian Alexander (131) putting on 330 for the second wicket.