Stratford survive heart-stopper to remain undefeated

Steve Spoljaric continues to dominate the SMCA. His latest outing saw him score 79 and take four wickets in Bundalaguah's win over Boisdale-Briagolong. File photo

Josh Farrell

THE final round of the 2021 part of the Sale-Maffra Cricket Association was played on Saturday.

In what felt like the first proper summer day this season, teams had their final hit out before Christmas.

STRATFORD almost stumbled in its final game but finished the first part of the season undefeated with a narrow one wicket win over Sale.

The Redbacks looked like they would cruise to victory when they needed 40 runs with five wickets in hand.

A steady procession of wickets from then saw Stratford needing 12 runs with one wicket remaining and hearts in mouths for the Redbacks.

Sale’s Brody Dobson struck twice in one over to dismiss Sam Anstee and Lachie Dowd and the Swans were right in the hunt for a win against the top of the ladder team.

The steady head of Nathan French guided the Redbacks home finishing on an unbeaten 22 batting with Ethan Albrecht.

Earlier in the match it was a tale of what could have been for the Swans after three batters reached scores of 30 before they fell.

Nathan Massey continued his strong return to the SMCA making 31.

Ben Jones and Hayden Glover ensured Sale was able to reach a respectable score of 8/169 from their 45 overs.

Skipper Jack Tatterson continued the form line of captains bowling well this summer taking 3/32 from his nine overs.

Anstee and Albrecht were able to take two apiece.

For Stratford they had a number of contributors across the board with Chris Aurisch (34) the top-scorer.

Lewis Bolton and Bodhi Walker continued the good form of the middle order scoring 28 each to ensure Stratford was quickly approaching Sale’s score.

Dobson was the pick of the bowlers for Sale, taking 3/24 from his eight overs and was ably assisted by Jones who pitched in with 2/32 from nine.

MAFFRA continued the tough start to the summer for Longford, inflicting a seven-wicket loss after chasing down the Lizards’ moderate score of 144 in only 26 overs.

It was a tough start for Longford courtesy of debutant Max Knobel and stalwart Nathan Magnuson who had the visitors reeling at 4/23.

Wickets fell regularly after that but Lachlan Floyd steadied scoring 67 not out from 100 balls to keep Longford in with a chance partnering well with Sam Lucas-Laws who scored 20 before he fell to Mitch Bennett.

Josh Davis cleaned up the tail to finish 2/18 from 5.3 overs whilst Knobel was the best for the Eagles with 3/28 from his nine overs.

Josh Rurawhe continued his exceptional return to A Grade with an impressive 82 from 79 balls to set up a commanding win for the Eagles.

Ben Sly got 24 from 29 before he was run out and Davis batted with Rurawhe to help guide Maffra home.

Maffra will be happy to have only dropped one game in their pre-Christmas fixture, but will know they have big match ups with Bundalaguah and Collegians in the New Year.

Longford’s bid for a first win will extend into 2022.

BUNDALAGUAH once again put an impressive score on the board to secure a 45 run win over Boisdale-Briagalong.

The Bulls made 5/231 from their 45 overs once again utilising multiple members of the batting order for a big score.

Steve Spoljaric continued his impressive summer top scoring with 79 from 88 balls and is proving to be a handful for opposition bowlers.

Jason Langshaw made 24 at the top of the order seeing off the Saints opening bowlers to ensure his batters could accelerate later in the innings.

Matt Dowsett has been one of the picks of the summer so far and put on 41 batting at three for the Bulls.

Sam Bedggood has been impressive in the middle order and put on 44 from 67 to help guide the Bulls to their big total.

Keenan Hughes returned to the SMCA for a one-off match as his home club Toongabbie had a bye in the Traralgon District Cricket Association.

Under local rules, players can be cleared back-and-forth before Christmas.

He partnered with Connor Hughes to take 2/37 from nine overs.

Boisdale-Briagolong started well but similar to Sale it was a tale of what might have been for the Saints as a number of batters got starts but failed to go on and punish the Bulls bowlers.

Michael Roberts and Stephen Noble started well for the Saints with two very different innings.

Noble started aggressively scoring a run-a-ball 31 which included three fours and one six whilst Roberts was far more circumspect scoring 39 from 62.

Tom Langshaw continued on from where Noble left off and scored 21 from 18 before he fell to Spoljaric.

After what looked to be a promising start for the Saint’s wickets fell at regular intervals before a late cameo from Keenan Hughes saw him score 42 from 61 in an attempt to guide Boisdale-Briagolong to a win.

Spoljaric and Bedggood continued their good batting form with the ball this time.

Spoljaric took 4/21 from his eight overs while Bedggood was a bit more expensive but took 2/45 from his eight.

COLLEGIANS almost stumbled in their SMCA A Grade match against Rosedale-Kilmany, but
an impressive bowling performance ensured they secured a 43-run victory at Rosedale Recreation Reserve.

It was a solid start from College, but a wicket from Spencer Fox gave the Warriors the first
inroads into the College batters.

Two quick wickets from Brandon McDonald saw the pressure beginning to build for Collegians.

Wickets continued to fall and the wicket of skipper Isaac Love at 70 was quickly followed by
Jonty McGuiness which left Collegians reeling at 5/72.

Tom Love and Jay Diamond were important for the Warriors taking three and two wickets respectively.

Tim Dessent put up a rear-guard action for College scoring 23 before he became one of McDonald’s three victims.

After four quick wickets, the Warriors were in trouble at 4/26 and the total of 121 seemed an eternity away.

Adam Diamond and Fox got about rescuing the innings for the Warriors, each scoring 26 slowly before they succumbed to Charlie Morrison.

From then the wickets fell regularly and the Warriors had no answer for College and were
bundled out for 78.

Collegians spread their wickets with three going to Tom Morrison, Charlie Morrison and Henry Anderson.

Anderson finished with the best figures, conceding 12 runs from his 4.5 overs, marginally
ahead of Tom Morrison (3/14 from nine overs) and Charlie Morrison (3/15 from nine overs).

Rosedale-Kilmany appear to be the side to watch for those in the top four, taking some of the top sides to task and proving to be a handful.

College has won the games they need to and been well led by captain Love and will be happy finishing the first part of the summer in the top four without setting the league on fire.

The SMCA competition takes a break for the Christmas/New Year period and will return on
Saturday, January 8 for a replay of the matches originally scheduled for round two.