TIES are usually a rarity in cricket, but not for Bendigo, which has now played two in its past three games.
A fortnight after tying with White Hills in the Bendigo District Cricket Association, the Goers again split the points on Saturday, this time against Eaglehawk at Canterbury Park.
The Goers and Hawks finished level on 172 runs apiece at the end of their one-day match.
Chasing the Goers’ total of 8-172, the Hawks were 9-172 with one ball left in the match to be bowled by Mark Ryan to Nathan O’Neill.
Needing one run to win, O’Neill (4) was caught at short mid-wicket by Glenn Franzi, who earlier in the final over had also run out Richard Tibbett (8).
While the Goers missed out on the six points, the tie did lift them off the bottom of the ladder.
“We’re becoming experts at playing in these ties,” Bendigo coach Max Taylor said.
“It would have been good to get the win, but we played a lot better today.”
Eaglehawk skipper Jason Abbott, who made two in his return from a calf injury, said the Hawks were lucky to escape with a tie.
“Our fielding was terrible today. We dropped four or five catches and our ground fielding wasn’t up to scratch,” Abbott said.
“And our batting wasn’t quite there, so we were lucky to get away with a tie in the end.”
After winning the toss and batting, the Goers had been 5-59 in the 23rd over during their innings.
However, the middle and lower-order dug in, led by youngsters Nathan Fitzpatrick (35) and Alex Pearson (27), who put on 54 for the sixth wicket.
Andrew Smith produced a brilliant bowling display to take 3-15 off nine overs, before top-scoring with 45 off 65 (five fours, one six) in the Hawks’ innings.
The Hawks got themselves in a position to win the game at 5-138 – and later needed 12 off the last two overs – before the Goers hit back to force a tie.
Only four players made double figures for the Hawks, whose inconsistency with the bat still looks to be the biggest knock on them as the finals draw closer.
Ryan (2-37), Scott Dole (2-31) and captain Marcus McKern (2-25) – who knocked himself out taking an outfield catch to dismiss Shane Taylor (5) – took two wickets apiece for the Goers, who are proving a bogey side for the Hawks.
Meanwhile, there were also thrillers in the second XI and under-17 games between the clubs.
The Hawks won the second XI by two runs, while the Goers won the under-17s by one run.
● Reigning premier Strathdale-Maristians held off Golden Square by eight runs at Bell Oval to extend their unbeaten run to 20 games.
Golden Square was bowled out for 191 in the final over chasing the Suns’ 9-199.
Square captain Grant Connelly put his side in a strong position early to chase down the target.
Connelly put his lean form with the bat this season behind him to produce a vintage display of power hitting with 70 off 65 opening the batting.
Connelly belted 10 fours and one six, but when he was dismissed in the 23rd over by Cameron Taylor (1-33), it sparked a Square collapse.
From 2-111, Square lost 5-30 to fall to 7-141 in the 35th over.
However, Jason Johnson (46 off 108) and Luke Baird (20) gave Square a sniff, cutting the target to 25 needed off three overs.
By the final over, to be bowled by Craig Howard (3-34), Square needed 14, with the last-wicket pair of Baird and James Pietromonaco at the crease.
Pietromonaco (6 n.o.) hit the first delivery through cover for four, and then scored a single when a skied ball somehow landed safely near the bowlers end.
That left the equation nine runs to win off four balls, before Baird, who had looked in good touch, was caught at cover by Cameron Taylor.
Earlier, only in-form opener Travis King (64 off 105, nine fours), the returning Nick Baker (53 off 45, three fours, three sixes) and Jono Davidson (18 off 41) made double figures in the Suns’ innings.
Having been 4-88 in the 28th over, King and Baker upped the ante for the Suns with their 72-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
After ending 2012 with three-consecutive centuries, Cameron Taylor has started 2013 with three single-figure scores after he was again dismissed cheaply, this time by Pietromonaco (3-31) for four.
Baird was the best bowler in the match, taking 3-16 off nine overs and dismissing Davidson, Dom Taylor (6) and Adrian Pappin (6).
● Huntly-North Epsom kept its slim finals hopes alive with a six-wicket win over White Hills at Integrating Technology Oval.
Chasing the Demons’ 7-179, the Power – without injured all-rounder Sam Johnston – were in trouble at 4-52 in the 16th over in reply.
In his 200th game for White Hills, Glenn Roulston (3-45) picked up three of the early wickets.
However, after their spirited start, the Demons didn’t take another wicket as captain Linc McRae (82 n.o.) and Isaac Hogan (62 n.o.) guided the Power home with an unbroken partnership of 128 that took the score to 4-180.
Having won the toss, the White Hills’ innings included a 108-run stand for the second wicket between opener Daniel Jones (56 off 88, seven fours), who compiled his maiden first XI half-century, and Rhys Irwin (44 off 99).
Braden Tuohey made the most of his return to the Power’s first XI side by taking 3-39 off seven overs.
The fifth-placed Power moved within nine points of the top four.