SPRING Gully caused one of the upsets of the Emu Valley Cricket Association season on Saturday after inflicting reigning premier Emu Creek's first loss.
After parting ways with coach and leading wicket-taker Damien Dunlop mid-game during the week, the Crows hit back brilliantly with the ball as the match was slipping away to win by 11 runs at JG Edwards Oval.
Defending a score of 220, the Crows bowled the Emus out for 209 in the 47th over.
The Emus were in a comfortable position at 3-180 and looking well on track to keep their unblemished record intact.
However, the Emus sensationally collapsed, losing their last seven wickets for just 29 runs
The collapse included losing 6-10 with the score between 180 and 190, before Jarrod Henderson (18) and Anthony Collins (1 n.o.) added 19 for the last wicket.
The match-winning wicket was taken by the Crows' Jason Tovey, who trapped Henderson lbw.
Tovey bagged 4-40 off 7.1 overs, while Liam Pilcher (4-70 off 21) also took four wickets for the Crows in their third win of the season.
Earlier, after resuming the day at a healthy 1-56, Brad Rowe (53), captain Daniel Chamberlain (38) - who is now the EVCA's leading run-scorer with 323 - Tim Hobbs (36) and Shaun Cattanach (26) batted the Emus into a position of strength before the Crows stormed back against the odds.
The defeat was Emu Creek's first since losing to Marong in round nine last season.
The Emus maintain top position on the ladder, but are now one of three teams, along with United and Marong, with a 5-1 record.
Spring Gully batted for 27 overs in its second innings, making 5-83.
• Marong enjoyed a day of batting practice against Maiden Gully, rather than having a crack at an outright win at Evolution Oval.
The Panthers had already secured first innings points on day one.
After bowling Maiden Gully out for 81 last week, the Panthers resumed at 3-82 and they added 328 more runs in what was a mammoth total of 410 before being bowled out in the 95th over.
Four players cashed in with half-centuries for the Panthers - Nick Ede (91), Andrew Gladstone (78), Richard Murphy (66) and captain Jeremy Ross (58).
Gladstone and Ross put on 135 for the fourth wicket, while Murphy and Ede later added 109 for the sixth wicket.
Ede's 91 followed on from his 66 n.o. against Spring Gully the previous round, while Ross' 58 was his third half-century of the season and took his tally of runs to 312 at an average of 62.4.
While it was a tough day in the field for the Gully, they fought the game right out.
Marong had been 5-351, but the Gully took their last five wickets for 59 runs.
Rob Brown (4-94) and Paul Martin (3-80) took seven wickets between them for the Gully.
• Mandurang's finals aspirations took another hit after copping a 100-run loss against West Bendigo at Ken Wust Oval.
The Rangas were bundled out for 159 chasing West Bendigo's 259.
Mandurang was well-placed in its chase at 2-109 before its innings hit the skids with the loss of three quick wickets to crash to 5-114.
However, worse was to come later in the innings.
After Ben Rodda (25) and Tom Williamson (17) worked hard to rebuild the innings with a 39-run stand for the sixth wicket, the Rangas crashed again.
Starting with the dismissal of Williamson, the Rangas lost their last five wickets for just six runs.
The Mandurang innings included five ducks, with the side playing like a shadow of the team that has contested the past three grand finals.
Rhys Williams top-scored for the Rangas with 51, while the side also had starts from Phil Berry (29), captain Warrick Behrens (27), Rodda and Willamson. No-one else made more than three.
Ashley Durie (4-48) and captain Dion Prange (3-11) were the leading wicket-takers for the Redbacks, while Dale Warren was outstanding in taking 2-23 off 21 overs, including nine maidens.
• Golden Gully finally ended a run of six losses in a row to Sedgwick, defeating the Rams by 39 runs at California Gully Oval to keep in touch with the top four.
The Cobras - who last beat Sedgwick in round one of the 2008-09 season - answered the Rams' 194 with 5-233 declared.
The successful run-chase was led by captain Brendon Lummis (73), former skipper Brad Webster (63) in his first innings of the season and Nathan Hamblin (48).
Captain Dustin Elliott (2-13) was the only multiple wicket-taker for the Rams. Elliott then made 47 n.o. in Sedgwick's second innings score of 1-80.
• Axe Creek fell well short in its pursuit of United's 9-397 at Champions IGA Oval, but still made a respectable 257 - its highest score of the season.
Charles Ready (59) and captain Travis Nolan (53 n.o.) both made half-centuries for the Cowboys, while Rob Fisher (47) and David Cannings (44) also batted well.
Ready and Nolan added 81 for the seventh wicket after the Cowboys had been 7-160.
Dominic Colville in his first game in division one impressed for the Tigers, claiming 4-27 off 9.4 overs, while Michael Frilay picked up 2-37.