PHOTOS - Strathfieldsaye v White Hills
WHITE Hills has kept itself within striking distance of the Bendigo District Cricket Association top four as it marked Gavin Bowles' club record game with a crucial - and convincing - win over Strathfieldsaye on Saturday.
The fifth-placed Demons closed to within three points of the top four with the 90-run win built on the back of their best batting performance of the season.
In game No.214 - surpassing Glen Roulston's previous White Hills' record of 213 - Bowles not only had an impact with the bat as he has done so often through his career that began in 1999-2000, but fittingly, he also took the match-winning wicket.
Bowles was part of a 116-run second wicket partnership with Rhys Irwin after the Demons won the toss and batted, posting 6-237 from their 45 overs.
Both players made half-centuries, with Irwin falling just short of a second career ton with his dismissal in the second-last over for 94, while Bowles' solid form continued with a knock of 51.
It was Bowles' third score above 50 in his past four hits, with he and Irwin taking the score from 1-42 to 158 before Bowles became the first of Jed Rodda's (3-37) three wickets.
Rodda also dismissed Irwin, who skied a ball and was caught by Jets' skipper Ben Devanny at mid-wicket.
While Irwin and Bowles were the mainstay of the Demons' innings, it also featured an entertaining 16-ball cameo from Ollie Geary, who belted three sixes and one four in his quickfire 32.
The Jets didn't help their cause with some ordinary fielding, while the Demons took to the Jets' two spinners in Savith Priyan (2-55) and Darcy Hunter (0-54), whose combined 17 overs went for 109 runs.
However, it was a far more productive day for Demons' left-arm spinner Linc Jacobs, whose solid season continued with a four-wicket haul as the Jets were bowled out for 147 in reply.
Opening the bowling, Jacobs snared 4-22 off nine overs, including the early dismissal of in-form Jets' opener Nayana Fernando (10), caught by Geary at deep square leg off a full toss.
The only Jets' players to occupy the crease for any period of significance were elevated opener Priyan (34 off 63) and Devanny (67 n.o. off 86).
Devanny was forced to watch on from the other end as the Jets at one stage lost 4-7 in the space of just 21 balls to crash from 2-88 to 6-95, with Jacobs picking up three of those wickets as the Demons took the game away from Strathfieldsaye.
The Jets' innings ended in the 41st over when Bowles closed out his milestone game by having Stuart Payne (3) caught by Tyrone Muir at mid-on.
The heavy defeat cost the Jets the chance of building a 15-point buffer inside the top four - instead it's now just half-a-game, with the Demons hot on their heels.
EAGLEHAWK v HUNTLY-NORTH EPSOM
A six-wicket haul to Brett Elvey helped Huntly-North Epsom continue its recent domination over Eaglehawk - although, the Power was made to work hard late in the day for its win.
Chasing Eaglehawk's 131 at Canterbury Park the Power looked to be coasting to victory when they were a comfortable 3-122.
And while the Power did go on to win and beat the Hawks for a seventh-consecutive time, their margin of victory ended up just two wickets after Eaglehawk picked up a flurry of late scalps.
The gallant Hawks took 5-9 to give themselves a chance of forcing a "super over" when they had the Power 8-131.
However, the Hawks' inability to bat out their 45 overs - they left 15 balls unused - came back to bite them as the Power were able to scrape over the line thanks to a bye off spinner Russell Stockdale with Tharindu Darshana (0 n.o.) on strike to reach 8-132.
Stockdale (3-21) and Nash Viney (3-21) combined to take the five late wickets in quick succession over 35 balls as the Hawks battled valiantly against the odds.
"I was really proud of the way the boys fought it out late. We were up against it when they only needed 10 with seven wickets in hand, but we stuck at it and gave ourselves a chance against a quality side. We just didn't have enough runs on the board," Hawks' skipper Cory Jacobs said.
The Power's innings featured a second-consecutive half-century to opener Ryan Grundy, who followed up his 89 against Strathdale-Maristians last week with 55 off 65, featuring seven fours and one six.
Earlier, the Power's Elvey had a day out with the ball, taking six-for in a career-best performance.
The sixth bowler used, Elvey was at his wily best bagging 6-26 from 7.5 overs - the BDCA's third best figures of the season.
Elvey's six wickets included five caught and one stumping by wicket-keeper Danushka Wijemanna.
With Elvey wreaking havoc, the Hawks fell in a heap, losing their last six wickets for 28 runs, crashing from 4-103 to all out 131.
There were plenty of starts in the Eaglehawk innings, but no player capitalised, with six batsmen dismissed between scores of 17 and Stockdale's top score of 22.
The Hawks' two-wicket loss follows a two-run defeat to Golden Square the previous week in what has been back-to-back near misses.
BENDIGO UNITED v SANDHURST
Sandhurst looks to have found the opening batsman it has been searching for to partner skipper Joel Murphy.
The Dragons have rotated openers throughout the course of the season and on Saturday it was Anthony McMahon's opportunity - which he grasped against Bendigo United at Harry Trott Oval.
McMahon took to the opening slot like a duck to water, crunching 113 - the fourth century made by a Dragons' player this season.
In his first season with the Dragons, McMahon cracked 10 boundaries and two sixes in his 108-ball innings that helped propel Sandhurst to 8-260 batting first.
The cornerstone of the Dragons' highest score of the season was a 138-run partnership for the second wicket between McMahon and Dylan Gibson, who tormented Bendigo United for the second time this season.
Having made 103 n.o. against the Redbacks in round two, this time Gibson compiled 72, with he and McMahon taking the Dragons from 1-60 in the 13th over to 198 in the 36th before Gibson was lbw to Ashley Younghusband (1-56).
McMahon's innings later ended in the 43rd over when he was caught at long-on by Riley Treloar off Bendigo United's leading wicket-taker Scott Harper (3-41).
"It was a really good innings from Tony... it's the first time he has opened and for him to get a hundred was awesome," Dragons' skipper Murphy said.
"And then to back it up with the ball the way we did was really pleasing."
The Dragons looked like they could post a winning margin of more than 200 runs after the Redbacks offered little resistance with the bat when they slumped to 8-48 in the 21st over.
However, while the top-order failed, the Redbacks' tail wagged as captain Miggy Podosky (35), Younghusband (40 n.o.) and Billy Quirk (24) combined to add 88 for the last two wickets to push Bendigo United to 136 and extend the innings into the 39th over.
The last pair of Younghusband and Quirk put on 58 for the 10th wicket, delaying the Dragons their first win since round five.
Dragons' Teenager Reilley Porter snared the best figures of his short A Grade career, opening the bowling and taking 4-24 from 8.1 overs.
Porter started the early carnage for the Dragons when he had the Redbacks' Harper (0) caught by wicket-keeper Will Gadsden off the third ball of the innings.
"Reilley is sending them through at good pace and he's getting better each week. He's bowling really well and it was good to see him get a reward today with four wickets," Murphy said.
KANGAROO FLAT v GOLDEN SQUARE
Kangaroo Flat made a mess of Golden Square, bowling the Bulldogs out for the lowest score of the season in an eight wicket win at Dower Park.
The day started positive for Golden Square when skipper Liam Smith won the toss for the fifth-straight time and chose to bat - but that's where it ended for the visitors.
Bowling first for the 10th time in their 11 games this season, the Roos routed the Bulldogs for a meagre 81 in the 38th over.
It was a team effort by the Roos' bowling unit, with all six bowlers taking a wicket - Lewis Stabler (2-13), Brent Hamblin (2-13), Kenny Beith (2-16), Jake Klemm (1-0), captain Chris Barber (1-9) and Adam Burns (1-28) - while they were well backed up in the field.
Only Smith (26) and Riley Hocking (15) reached double figures for Golden Square, which had one stage been 1-32 before losing 9-49.
The Roos took 24.5 overs to reply with 2-83 led by a second-consecutive half-century to Jake Klemm (50 n.o.), while Matt Dwyer finished 26 n.o. as Kangaroo Flat increased its buffer inside the top two to 18 points.
STRATHDALE-MARISTIANS v BENDIGO
An early onslaught with the ball set up Strathdale-Maristians' six-wicket win over Bendigo at Bell Oval.
After winning the toss and batting the Goers were reeling at 3-9 after just 19 balls after paceman Chris Sole (2-26) and spinner James Vlaeminck (1-19) quickly put Bendigo on the backfoot and revived memories of their last trip to Bell Oval in February last year when they were beaten outright.
With the game just 15 minutes old the Goers already had the competition's leading run-scorer Kyle Humphrys (4), Bailey George (0) and Xav Ryan (4) back in the pavilion and an early finish was looking likely.
However, the Bendigo middle-order dug in and as unlikely as it seemed early, the Goers batted out their 45 overs to reach 7-163.
The steadying partnership the Goers needed was provided by captain Nathan Fitzpatrick (48) and former skipper Shane Koop (46 n.o.), who put on 68 for the fourth wicket, while Declan Slingo (24) and Dylan Johnstone (21) also chipped in with contributions to help get the score above 160.
While the Goers fought back well from where they had been early, 7-163 was always going to be well short of testing the undefeated Suns, who took 28.2 overs to answer with 4-164.
Opener Cameron Taylor batted through the innings, enjoying some valuable time at the crease after a lean run to finish 54 n.o. off 73 deliveries, with he and Jack Neylon (44 off 33) adding 68 for the third wicket.
In his first A Grade game of the season, Matt Gray (2-31) took two of the four wickets for Bendigo.
NEXT WEEK IN THE BDCA:
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