Sharks circling Country Week glory

SALE-Maffra will meet Bendigo in the provincial division final at Country Week.

But a Geelong appeal threatened to change that.

While the Sharks comfortably defeated South West on Thursday to move into the top two on the provincial division table, controversy arose when the match between Geelong and Murray Valley was abandoned because the pitch at Sunshine was not prepared.

Heading into the last round of matches, Geelong and Murray Valley were among five teams, including Sale-Maffra, in the running to qualify for Friday’s final.

Geelong, the reigning champion, is seeking to have Thursday’s round of matches abandoned, meaning it would play-off in the final against the undefeated Bendigo.

The Victorian Country Cricket League met Thursday night to decide whether to overturn a decision to award Geelong and Murray Valley points for a draw.

Sale-Maffra remained in the hunt to make the final with a strong victory over South West at Oakleigh.

The Sharks scored their best ever total at Country Week, 8-337. Their previous best was 315.

With pitch showing a tinge of green, Sale-Maffra sent into bat. There would have soon been regrets in the South West camp when Matt Dowsett gave the Sharks a terrific start, scoring 61 runs off 48 balls.

Dowsett and Brad Scott put on 88 runs for the second wicket before the former was bowled.

Scott was joined in the middle by Josh Rurawhe, who continued the blitz.

Scott looked set to notch a century by was dismissed leg before wicket for 94 off 82 balls. Scott was one of four wickets claimed by Kyle McDonald.

Scott and Rurawhe (73 off 69 balls) combined for a 48-run third wicket partnership.

Rohan Diamond added vital late runs, scoring an unbeaten 46.

South West didn’t show much intent to chase down the victory target, only getting to 1-60 after 25 overs before finishing on 7-165.

Dylan Bolton bowled an economical 5-35 from 10 overs, including five maidens.

The final will be held on Friday at the Albert Cricket Ground in St Kilda.