BOWLERS across the Sale-Maffra Cricket Association will be having sleepless nights this week thinking about having to bowl again after the batsmen dominated matches in round four.
Curators had to work overtime to get the already damp grounds up for Saturday after wet weather last week, but did a spectacular job which culminated in a great round of cricket.
COLLEGIANS won a final ball thriller against Bundalaguah at the weekend, in what was match of the round in round four of the Sale-Maffra Cricket Association.
Adam Phillips was the hero off the last ball for College, hitting a six to get his side across the line.
Needing six to win – facing Connor Lay who had only gone for 16 off 6.5 overs – Phillips sliced a wider delivery away over backward point for a maximum to hand College the win, much to the delight of those watching on and the dismay of Lay.
Earlier on Bundalaguah put on 185 with Matt Dowsett top scoring with 80 from 87 balls, only hitting two boundaries in his well-crafted innings.
Dowsett was supported by captain Jason Langshaw who fell for 16 and then was joined by Steven Spoljaric who continued on from Langshaw, supporting Dowsett, scoring 26 from 44.
Sam Bedggood helped the Bulls to their final total of 185 scoring 21 late in the innings.
College split the wickets evenly with two wickets going to Tom Morrison, Isaac Love, Mark Nicholls and Henry Anderson.
Much like their bowling innings, the College batters spread the workload between each other.
At the top of the order Tom Morrison started the innings well scoring 21 from 33 before falling to Lay.
Charlie Morrison anchored the middle of the innings for College, with the innings teetering when he came in at 3-48 and captain Isaac Love falling shortly after. Morrison paired up with Jonty McGuiness to guide a tricky part of the run chase.
The pair quickly got about rescuing the innings for College. Morrison scored 33 and McGuiness 27 before they both fell to Gayashan Munasignhe.
Henry Anderson was pivotal in College staying in the hunt, scoring 40 from 42 in what was a crucial innings in the match on what was proving not the easiest wicket to score quickly on.
Mark Nicholls scored 20 from 22 pairing with Adam Phillips to get College over the line.
Bundalaguah’s bowlers put in a strong team performance with Nathan Whitford, Munasignhe and Lay all taking two wickets.
The two sides now sit equal on the ladder, with the Bulls in third on percentage ahead of Collegians in fourth.
STRATFORD once again flexed their muscles with a dominant win against Longford in which the Lizards struggled to put up a fight against the might of the reigning premier.
The Redbacks defeated Longford by 143 runs with the match essentially won with a strong batting performance.
Longford made good early inroads and had Stratford 4-33 before skipper Jack Tatterson and Bodhi Walker steadied.
Tatterson fell for the dreaded 87, off 109 balls in which he ensured his team got to an impressive total. He hit four boundaries into the rope and three over.
Walker went at close to a run-a-ball until he fell for 37 off 39 also hitting four fours and one six in his innings.
Tom Wrigglesworth put the final flourishes on the innings, scoring 22 from 21 balls, hitting two sixes, helping Stratford to a total of 9-218.
All Longford bowlers pitched in with wickets, with captain Lachlan Floyd taking two opening the bowling and Andrew Tyson taking two as well.
In response the Longford batters barely let out a whimper in their chase with spinner Ethan Albrecht the chief destroyer with the Lizards bundled out for 75.
Albrecht took 5-20 from his nine overs to break the back of Longford’s chase early in the innings.
Mitch Floyd put up a fight batting at three scoring 21 from 41 trying to stop the steady flow of wickets but he succumbed to the spin of Sam Anstee.
Longford has struggled to put together a strong team performances this summer.
While their early performances have been poor, they have had different contributors week to week and will hope to put together a strong team performance this weekend to get on the winners list.
Stratford is showing the rest of the competition that they are going to be the team to beat.
Each week a different player is dominating, ensuring all opponents will need to be on top of their game if they want to go toe-to-toe with the champs.
MAFFRA batsman dominated Boisdale-Briagolong, highlighted by Josh Rurawhe making an immediate impact on his return to the side.
Maffra won the toss and sent Boisdale-Briagolong in and the Saints started well with Michael Roberts and Stephen Noble scoring 22 and 21 respectively at the top of the order.
Early signs were concerning for the Eagles, who had picked two extra batters, losing Ben Durrant and Josh Farrell from the side that had defeated Sale, but the bowlers showed why they were grand finalists last season and regained some momentum.
Mitch Bennett continued his consistent season taking two of the top three wickets and David Griffiths took the wicket of Noble.
Tom Langshaw and Connor Hughes steadied for the Saints, putting on 21 and 39 respectively to continue the good start.
Liam Hurst put the finishing touches on Boisdale-Briagolong’s innings scoring 32 from 29 to help get the score to 172.
Griffiths was the pick of the bowlers for the Eagles, taking 3-30 from his nine overs, while Josh Davis will be wondering what more he needs to do after only going for 16 runs from his nine overs to continue his economy rate for the season of 2.7 but with no wickets thus far.
Boisdale-Briagolong could not have asked for a better start, taking the wicket of Ben Sly for a duck thanks to Connor Hughes.
Lee Hopkins was joined at the crease by Rurawhe and the pair got to work taking control of the innings and slowing the momentum of a buoyed Boisdale-Briagolong line-up.
Hopkins has continued his good start to the summer, scoring 66 from 108 to ensure the Eagles were in complete control for the innings.
Rurawhe could not have asked for a better return to the A Grade side, hitting 88 not out from 130 balls to guide Maffra to a commanding win batting at number three.
Maffra would be happy with another strong performance with new contributors to their win showing that the team is putting together a strong form line as the season progresses.
It is not all doom and gloom for Boisdale-Briagolong who remain in touch with the top teams and will still be one of the teams to beat this summer on their day.
SALE will be happy to get their first win of the season travelling to Rosedale-Kilmany, getting a win it what is always a tough away game.
The Warrior’s won the toss and batted first. Opener Brandon McDonald put on 28 before he became one of Andrew Nicholas’ two victims.
Rosedale-Kilmany will know their batters need to turn their starts into big scores, with their middle-order all getting scores of around 20 but not going on with their innings.
Dylan Rowley got to 20 before he became a victim of John Mayman and Jay Diamond scored 22.
Rohan Diamond continued his good form to start the season, finishing on 38 not out.
Brody Dobson picked up two wickets for the Swans along with Mayman and Nicholas.
Rohan Blandford was the man of the moment for Sale, scoring 100 not out, impressive considering Sale only scored 148 and the next best score was 18 not out.
Blandford had clearly decided enough was enough and Sale was going to get its first win off the back of his bat.
He went at better than a run-a-ball, scoring his century off 96 balls including 10 fours and one six in his innings that punished the Warriors bowling attack once again reminding the competition he is still one of the SMCA’s top players.
Bailey Reid was the pick of the bowlers for Rosedale-Kilmany taking two wickets from his 6.5 overs.
Sale will be pleased to get their season off the mark, they know they were not far away in their games and if they got a couple of big wickets in matches we may have seen them at the top of the ladder.
Rosedale-Kilmany will be happy with theexperience their young players are getting and will be hoping for week-on-week improvement.