A MELBOURNE Country Week Provincial Group grand final berth is there for the taking for the Bendigo District Cricket Association.
Bendigo yesterday moved into second position on the ladder after its 10-run win over Mornington Peninsula at Melbourne University.
Bendigo has the equivalent of a 156-run buffer on the third-placed Mornington, meaning a win over Leongatha in today’s final round should be all it takes to qualify for tomorrow’s final against Sale-Maffra.
After losing the toss and bowling first yesterday, Bendigo restricted Mornington Peninsula to 9-193, before answering with 6-203.
It was a memorable day behind the stumps for Bendigo wicket-keeper Linton Jacobs, who took six catches as he reaped the benefits of the tight line and length from the bowlers.
As well as his six catches, Jacobs was also involved in the run-out of Mornington Peninsula’s top-scorer, Daniel Warwick (49).
“Our bowlers did a great job and the fielding was terrific today,” Bendigo coach Max Taylor said.
“The fact Lino was able to take six catches for us was testament to our bowlers and their ability to put the ball in the right spot.”
The Bendigo bowlers shared the wickets around, with Richard Tibbett (2-28), who bowled with good pace, Cameron Taylor (2-29), man-of-the-match Miggy Podosky (2-41), who claimed his first Country Week wickets, and Brent Hamblin (2-58) all taking two each.
Although he didn’t take a wicket, Bendigo captain Adam Burns made scoring difficult for the Mornington Peninsula bowlers as he conceded just 13 runs off his 10 overs.
Leigh McDermott (0-8) bowled just one over before being forced from the ground as his nagging calf problem hampered him, but he later batted.
With the bowlers having done their job, opening batsmen Sam Johnston and Ryan Grundy got Bendigo off to a flyer in their run-chase.
The Huntly-North Epsom team-mates peeled off 66 for the first wicket before Johnston (37) was out in just the 11th over.
Johnston’s 37 took only 32 balls and included five boundaries.
Mornington Peninsula later gave itself a chance of getting back into the game when Adam Jones dismissed Anthony West (3) and Grundy (38 off 52, eight fours) to leave Bendigo 3-93 in the 19th over.
However, another fine knock from the reinvigorated Cameron Taylor saw Bendigo across the line and to its second win in a row.
Taylor finished unbeaten on 66 off 110 balls (seven fours), and has now made 233 runs for the carnival following his scores of 106 and 61 on the first two days.
What has made Taylor’s Country Week batting performance more notable is the form in which he went to Melbourne, having made just 28 runs in his previous five games for Strathdale-Maristians.
“Cam is a just a class act and showed that again today,” Taylor said.
“They had a fairly good attack, and when he went in we were at the crossroads a little bit having lost a couple of quick wickets, so it was a super effort.”
Burns chipped in with 23 for Bendigo, which passed its target five wickets down in the 44th over.
Bendigo’s past two wins over Mornington Peninsula and South West have lifted it to second on the ladder following Monday’s day one defeat to Geelong.
Bendigo meets fifth-placed Leongatha today at Moorrabbin Reserve.
● Other Provincial Group results yesterday: Leongatha 8-207 & 3-15 d Ballarat 156; Geelong 4-180 d Murray Valley 9-166; Sale-Maffra 4-312 d South West 9-200.
Melbourne Country Week
Bendigo v Mornington Peninsula
at Melbourne University
Mornington Peninsula won toss and batted
Mornington Peninsula innings
R. Hearn c L. Jacobs b B. Hamblin 13
J. Bridgeman c L. Jacobs b R. Tibbett 5
R. Wilson c L. Jacobs b R. Tibbett 14
D. Warwick run out (C. Taylor) 49
S. Phillips c L. Jacobs b M. Podosky 25
C. Brittian c L. Jacobs b C. Taylor 12
M. Foon c L. Jacobs b M. Podosky 4
J. Grant b B. Hamblin 16
W. Pelzer c A. West b C. Taylor 22
A. Jones not out 14
A. King not out 12
Nine wickets for 193
Fall: 13, 30, 47, 101, 115, 128, 130, 162, 168
Bowling: R. Tibbett 8-2-2-28, A. Burns 10-5-0-13, B. Hamblin 10-0-2-58,
L. McDermott 1-0-0-8, M. Podosky 10-1-2-41, C. Taylor 10-1-2-29, A. Monro 1-0-0-11.
R. Grundy c J. Grant b A. Jones 38
S. Johnston c W. Pelzer b J. Grant 37
A. West c W. Pelzer b A. Jones 3
C. Taylor not out 66
A. Monro b C. Brittain 10
A. Burns lbw A. Jones 23
L. Jacobs c A. King b B. Frith 2
L. McDermott not out 3
Six wickets for 203
Fall: 66, 92, 93, 131, 176, 198.
Bowling: S. Phillips 7-0-0-33, A. King 5-0-0-26, B. Frith 9-2-1-38, J. Grant
10-3-1-20, A. Jones 10-2-3-27, C. Brittain 5-0-1-28, M. Foon 4-0-0-20.
Bendigo won by 10 runs