SALE-Maffra is the only team to have won both its Gippsland Cricket League after a thrilling victory over Leongatha on Sunday.
The Sharks scrapped home by eight runs at Leongatha, after the men in green made the surprising decision to bowl first.
The match saw a good contest between bat and ball develop, with Brad Scott and Jack Tatterson both making half centuries for Sale-Maffra to see them post 204.
Leongatha’s wickets were shared between Jake Cochrane, Senal De Silva, Tim Wightman and Eli Richards, who each took two.
Leongatha’s innings got off to the worst possible start, with a wicket falling without a run being scored, however it recovered to creep closer to the winning target.
Callum Honeyman was his side’s top-scorer with 48, while Eli Richards compiled 32.
As the situation became tighter, John Ginnane and Tim Wightman played valiantly down the order, both scoring in the 20s, until the former was bowled off the final ball trying to hit a six to possibly tie the match in case the books didn’t add up.
A THRILLING tie between Warragul and Bairnsdale was the highlight of the round.
Playing at Lucknow, Bairnsdale won the toss and elected to bat, but the first three batsman faced five balls between them for only four runs.
From there, Michael Comber rescued the innings, compiling a fine 74 under pressure, while Ben Saxon also chipped in with a vital 52.
Some handy contributions throughout the order of 23 from Brayden McCarrey and 22 from Ryan Halford eventually saw Bairnsdale post 9-217 off its 50 overs.
Best bowlers for Warragul were Troy Lehman, who finished with 4-43, and Nuwan Perera, who took 2-36.
In reply, the Warragul top order all got starts, and took the game right to the final over as players and supporters were kept on the edge of their seat until the final ball was bowled.
Three scores in the 40s from Jack Armour, Fraser Duncan
and Ben Spicer all helped Warragul, as did Andawaththa Tyrone, who made 35.
With Warragul needing eight runs to win off the final over, Max Kelly and Nuwan Perera played hit-and-run and scampered home two runs off the final ball to tie the match in a pulsating finish.
Despite not winning, Warragul team manager David Armour said he was happy with the team’s performance, and predicted a close finish to the season to remain in the mix for a birth in the final.
“Our top five batted very well and got us in the box seat but credit to Bairnsdale, they fought back with their experience and cooler heads and were able to force a slower run rate as the game went on,” he said.
A PATHETIC batting display from Latrobe Valley gifted Traralgon an easy victory at Stoddard Park, with the home side cruising across the line in the 15th over.
Luckily for Latrobe Valley, captain Blake Mills elected to bat first after winning the toss, as his side would probably have been chasing leather well into the night if it had of bowled.
The Latrobe Valley innings got off to a disastrous start when Zimbabwean opener Ronnie Chokununga decided to walked down the track to try and hit the fourth ball of the game on to the Princes Highway, only to be caught by Jackson McMahon.
“I don’t know what he was thinking, fair enough you want to take the game on but at least give yourself a few overs to get in,” a disbelieving Latrobe Valley teammate Ross Whelpdale said after the dismissal.
From there, Tim Fitch did his best to knock the ball around, with his total of 34 the only to make an impact in the scorebook as wickets continued to crumble.
Traralgon’s bowlers were able to cash in on some poor shot selection, as Danny Revis and Cameron Graham took six wickets between them.
With only 111 to get, Traralgon openers Adrian Burgiel and Frank Marks showed no mercy, as they clubbed quick-fire scores of 48 and 36 respectively to secure a walk-in-the-park win.
In the aftermath, Traralgon players jokingly refereed to
themselves as the premier league, in an obvious tongue-in-check reference to the two divisional structure of the Latrobe Valley league and to the ongoing rivalry between the two associations as to which is the higher standard.
“The result was a bit surprising, as we thought with 12 clubs to choose from in the Latrobe Valley league they would have put up a decent performance,” Traralgon captain Lee Stockdale said.
As Latrobe Valley was picking up the pieces of its defeat, wicket-keeper Jordan Campbell kept things in perspective.
“Let’s be honest, if we had everyone available I wouldn’t be getting a game,” a brutally honest Campbell said.
Traralgon and District Cricket Asssociation president Steve Kay highlighted the significance of placing importance on GCL cricket to make sure representative games did not become token gestures, and said the TDCA would be continuing to make the league as attractive as possible.
“The Traralgon players all enjoy a healthy respect off the field and are pretty tight-knit when they play rep cricket,” Kay said.
“Down the track, we are hoping to get two more clubs to come across to make the TDCA an eight-team comp, which would be a good number to work with.”