STRATHDALE-MarISTIANS produced a stunning fightback with the ball to defeat Eaglehawk by 14 runs in the Bendigo District Cricket Association on Saturday.
The Hawks looked well on track to inflict a rare defeat on the Suns when they were strongly placed at 1-104 in the 59th over chasing Strathdale-Maristians’ 172 at Canterbury Park.
However, the Hawks capitulated in dramatic fashion as the Suns claimed the last nine Eaglehawk wickets for just 54 runs to bowl the home side out for 158.
It was spinners Craig Howard and Cameron Taylor who led the Suns’ revival as they combined to take seven of the last nine Hawks’ wickets to fall.
Howard claimed 4-48 off 24 overs, while Taylor picked up 3-24 off 18 overs.
At one stage during their collapse, the Hawks lost 4-2 as Cory Jacobs (2), Jason Abbott (89), Andrew Smith (0) and Shane Herdman (1) were all dismissed with the score between 144 and 146.
Abbott’s 89 headlined what was a disappointing Eaglehawk scorecard in which just three players made double figures.
Abbott batted for 275 minutes and faced 243 balls, hitting six boundaries and one six, but he didn’t have enough support.
The Hawks had resumed their chase at 0-21, but lost Luke Jones (12) in the second over of the day without any addition to the score.
However, Abbott and a patient Matt Fitt (22 off 123) put the Hawks in the box seat with an 83-run partnership for the second wicket.
But when Fitt was bowled by Jaran McKay (1-13) with the score on 104, it signalled the beginning of the end for the Hawks, who lost their last nine wickets in just 34 overs after Fitt’s dismissal.
Abbott batted through until the 78th over, with his captain’s knock ending when he was caught by Jonathan Davidson off Taylor, leaving the Hawks 6-144.
While Howard and Taylor were the chief wicket-takers for the Suns, opening bowler Ben DeAraugo was also outstanding, although, he went wicketless.
DeAraugo conceded just 35 runs off his 23 overs, with his tight bowling helping to keep the screws on the Hawks, who earlier scored only 34 runs off the first 33 overs.
While disappointed to surrender such a strong position, Abbott said there were positives the Hawks – who had 98 overs to chase the 172 – would take out of the game.
“Unfortunately, Maristians got on a roll and we just kept losing wickets and, in the end, fell short,” Abbott said.
“It was disappointing, but instead of focusing on the negatives, we know we’ve pushed the premiers of the past two years all the way.
“For the majority of the game we were on top of them, but we played a really bad 45 minutes today and it cost us.
“There’s plenty of positives there for us that we’ll take into the rest of the season.”
A win would have had the Hawks sitting second on the ladder. Instead, they are fifth.