READ MORE – Strathfieldsaye v Bendigo United | PHOTOS
BENDIGO United has broken a drought of 440 days, winning its first Bendigo District Cricket Association home and away match since October of 2017 on Saturday.
The Redbacks’ long-awaited victory came against Strathfieldsaye by five wickets on a hot day.
However, the most significant outcome of Saturday’s one-day round was the tightening of positions in the top half of the ladder.
While Golden Square has cleared out at the top by nine points, there are now just six points separating Sandhurst (36), Huntly-North Epsom (34), Eaglehawk (31), Strathdale-Maristians (30) and White Hills (30) from second to sixth with four rounds remaining.
At Tannery Lane, Bendigo United’s victory over Strathfieldsaye was its first home and away win since defeating Huntly-North Epsom on October 29, 2017.
Chasing the Jets’ 6-180, the Redbacks – strengthened by the inclusion of all-rounders Clayton Holmes and Leigh McDermott – answered with 5-181 to win with 16 balls to spare, with Jake Klemm beginning 2019 where he left off in 2018.
The competition’s leading run-scorer ticked over the 500-run mark (509) with an unbeaten 89 off 119 to guide the Redbacks over the line.
The other key knock of the successful run chase came from veteran McDermott in his return from a calf injury.
McDermott made a brisk 44 off 46, with he and Klemm – the only players to score in double figures – putting on 93 for the fourth wicket, with the pair combining to score 133 of the Redbacks’ 181 runs.
Spinner Savith Priyan (2-29) was the only multiple wicket-taker for the Jets, who earlier produced a far better showing with that bat than their previous outing when they were bowled out for 39 by Huntly-North Epsom.
Although, the signs weren’t promising early when the Jets were 3-24 with Klemm (3-18) having taken all three wickets – Pat Felmingham (8), Abe Sheahan (9) and Luke Jones (3).
However, skipper Ben Devanny’s unbeaten 71 – his fourth half-century from eight innings – was the backbone of the Jets’ 6-180 and featured a 55-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Priyan (24) and later an unbroken stand of 45 with ’keeper Jack Stubbs (31 n.o.).
• Strathdale-Maristians burst Huntly-North Epsom’s bubble with a four-wicket win at Bell Oval.
Just as they did to Sandhurst the previous round, the Suns ended the Power’s five-game winning streak and are now lurking ominously on the cusp of the top four.
Batting first, the Power compiled 7-189 having earlier been well-positioned to push beyond 200.
Following an early flyer from openers Ryan Grundy (57) and Adam Ward (35), the Power had been 2-107 in the 20th over.
However, the Suns put the screws on, holding the Power to 5-82 off their last 25 overs, with Adrian Pappin (3-14) doing the bulk of the damage, starting with the third ball of his first over when he dismissed Shehan De Silva (24).
Opening batsmen Cameron Taylor and Jack Neylon – stepping up to fill the void by the absence of James Vlaeminck, who suffered an ankle injury at training on Thursday night – got the Suns’ chase off to a strong start.
They put on 85 for the first wicket before Taylor (48) skied a catch to Brett Elvey at square leg off Sandun Ranathunga (1-40) for the first breakthrough.
But this time there were to be no bowling heroics from the Power of previous weeks as the Suns mowed down their target with two overs to spare, reaching 6-191.
Taylor’s 48, which came after a rare wicket-less performance with the ball, in conjunction with knocks from Neylon (55), skipper Ben DeAraugo (39) and Sam Johnston (26 n.o.), who lifted his season average above 50, were the key innings in getting the Suns over the line.
Mitchell Whittle’s 2-33 were the best bowling figures for the Power.
• White Hills has strung together consecutive victories for the first time this season, and in doing so inflicted a second loss in a row on reigning premier Sandhurst at Scott Street.
The Demons won by 19 runs to continue their strong recent record over the Dragons, which is now 6-1 in favour of White Hills since 2013-14.
White Hills overcame the loss of captain and their leading run-scorer this season, Mitch Winter-Irving (0), in the opening over to post 9-168 after winning the toss and batting.
Recruit Caleb Barrass (50) scored his first half-century for the Demons, who also had opener Rhys Irwin make 33 and Gavin Bowles add 26, with those two putting on 62 for the second wicket.
Dragons skipper Taylor Beard, who claimed the key wicket of Winter-Irving when he was caught behind by Ash Gray, was Sandhurst’s leading wicket-taker with 3-41, while the spin duo of Sam Sperling (2-15) and Kayde Howard (0-22) combined for a tidy 2-37 off 16 overs.
Will Keck (2-38) was at one stage on a hat-trick after dismissing Irwin and Ben Daley (0) in consecutive deliveries in his fourth over.
Sandhurst’s run-chase was on the ropes 23 overs in when it crashed to 5-51.
However, a steadying sixth-wicket partnership between Matt Combe and Tyler Hinds gave some momentum back to the Dragons.
The pair had added 69 and taken the score to 120 when spinner Linc Jacobs (1-33) struck for the Demons, bowling Combe for 61.
Hinds finished unbeaten on 46 as the Dragons were restricted to 8-150.
All six White Hills bowlers used took a wicket, with Tom Schultz’s 2-15 the Demons’ best figures. The victory came with a double bonus for the Demons.
Not only did it close their gap to the top four to just one point, but it also propelled the Demons into the Keck-Findlay Shield one-day final against Golden Square at the QEO on February 3.
• Bendigo breathed some life back into its faltering season, defeating Eaglehawk at Canterbury Park for the second year in a row.
The Goers fought back strongly with the ball to dismiss Eaglehawk for 146 after the Hawks had been strongly-placed at 1-72 in the 18th over batting first.
Spinner Liam Evans (3-13) played a leading role in the demise of the Hawks, taking wickets in his third, fourth and fifth overs, while Eaglehawk didn’t help itself with three run outs – Aaron Monro (5), Matt Fitt (5) and stand-in skipper Shaun Knott (2).
Only Brodie Hawke (46), Cam McGlashan (38) and Anthony West (20) scored in double figures for the Hawks, who now have just one win in their past five games after the Goers replied with 7-148.
It was a successful run-chase built off the back of players chipping in with contributions – Evans (28), Tom Hart (27 n.o.), Alex Pearson (25), Shane Koop (23) and Kyle Humphrys (17) in what was the Goers’ first victory since round three.
Richard Tibbett (3-55) and Hawke (2-13) were both multiple wicket-takers for the Hawks, who are now just one point inside the top four.
• Golden Square again showed why it’s the best batting line-up in the competition, crunching 8-260 against Kangaroo Flat at Dower Park.
Square batted first after Roos’ captain Brent Hamblin finally lost his first toss of the season.
The Square innings featured a pair of better-than-a-run-a-ball half-centuries from Tim Wood (73 off 57) and Scott Trollope (66 off 54), who between them clubbed 15 boundaries and three sixes.
Square already had 100 on the board by the 19th over and didn’t allow the Roos to bowl any maidens in their 45 overs.
Hamblin (3-49) was the only multiple wicket-taker for the Roos and also took the catch to dismiss the in-form Ben Gunn (14) off Dylan Klemm (1-66).
While it was a tough 45 overs for the Roos, there was a highlight when Luke Stagg (1-3) took his first A Grade wicket when he had Ryan Hartley (16) caught by Nathan Hamblin.
In reply the Roos were all out in the 36th over for 192, with their hopes all-but-dashed by the 11th over when they were sinking at 4-63.
Chris Barber continued his breakout season with the bat opening the innings with an entertaining 73 off 60, laced with nine boundaries, while Hamblin followed up his three wickets with 31.
While his impact with the bat was minimal, Gunn finished as Square’s leading wicket-taker with 3-33, which included removing Barber, who was one of three catches for Scott Woodman.
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