Stars of the lower grades

Maffra fourth grade captain Luke Heyne has made two half centuries so far this season. Photo Maffra Cricket Club

Josh Farrell

Each week the Gippsland Times covers the Sale-Maffra Cricket Association A Grade competition, ensuring all of the top performances are celebrated for fans to see.

With the Christmas break underway, now is an opportunity to celebrate some of the impressive performances in the seconds and hard wicket competitions so far this season.

In the seconds, Heyfield remains unbeaten with five wins from as many games, closely followed by Bundalaguah and Stratford who have each only dropped the one match.

Somewhat surprisingly, there is yet to be a centurion in the second grade competition, with Heyfield’s Kayne Amiet the closest with a knock of 97 against Sale.

Only one player has taken a five wicket haul – Bundalaguah’s Kanishka Bannak Ralalage – who took 5-24 against Longford.

The ladder for third grade sees Stratford leading on 30 points, followed by Bundalaguah (24 points), Wurruk (18), Sale (12), Maffra (12), Rosedale-Kilmany (12) and Collegians (12).

When looking at the most impressive scores for third grade so far, it is impossible to go past Nicholas Anderson’s 165 in round four against Wurruk.

The College opener punished the Toads bowling attack, whacking 15 sixes and eight fours in his astonishing innings to see College to a huge total of 333 from 40 overs.

This game saw some other terrific batting performances on both sides overshadowed by Anderson.

Anderson’s teammate Sam Morelli made 78 while Wurruk’s Angus Tilley scored 61 and Lenny Van der Velden hit 57.

Nathan Thomas has been a consistent performer for Stratford in third grade this season, skippering the side to the top of the ladder.

Thomas started the season strongly, scoring 73 against Collegians in the first round, hitting eight fours and one six.

His strongest performance however came in round seven with both bat and ball against Maffra.

The captain took the ball for the middle overs and proved a challenge to get away for the Eagles’ batters.

Thomas took 6-22 from his eight overs in an impressive display that helped his team bowl out Maffra for 120.

Thomas took the scalps of batters three through six ensuring the Eagles’ players could not come back into the match.

After his dominant display with the ball Thomas then delivered at the top of the order to ensure victory for his team.

Chasing a low score of 120, Maffra was looking for quick wickets, but Thomas had other ideas.

Thomas took the match away from the Eagles, making 72 from 78 deliveries which included nine fours, the next highest score was 27 from Tom Boyd who supported his skipper well.

Impressive team bowling performances came from both Rosedale-Kilmany and Stratford in their round five matchup.

The Redbacks were bowled out for 97 after they were put in to bat by the Warriors.

The wickets were spread between the Rosedale-Kilmany bowlers. Harry McCann took three wickets and Brandan Hill, Mick Edgar and Jye Goodwin took two each.

The Stratford bowlers were in need of quick wickets and their bowlers delivered.

Jonathan Boyd and Thomas took four wickets each to instantly put the Warriors on the back foot and saw them eventually bowled out for 55.

Other impressive performances this season came from the round five clash between Sale and Maffra.

The Swans batted first and struggled to get going, but the highlight of the innings was Kevin Arbuthnot who made 68 at the top of the order hitting nine fours in his innings to help his team to 122 from their 40 overs.

The Eagles chased down the Swans score in 29 overs thanks to Ben Lanigan who made 66 hitting five fours and one six in his innings.

Fourth grade cricket sees the ladder at the Christmas break showing Bundalaguah Yaks on top with 30 points. Maffra is equal second on 30, and then Nambrok (24), Stratford (18), Rosedale-Kilmany (18), Bundalaguah Bulls (18), Heyfield (18), Longford (12), Sale (6), Collegians (0), Boisdale-Briagolong (0) and Wurruk (0) follow.

In the fourth grade competition players must retire at 50.

Readers may recognise one name on the list of players to make a half century this season in former Gippsland Times journalist David Braithwaite, who scored 50 for the Bundalaguah Bulls in round three.

SMCA fourth grade half centuries so far are: Bundalaguah Yaks: Anthony Day (round three and five), Jason Scicluna (round five), James Mathews (round five); Maffra: Luke Heyne (round four and five), Archy Sellings (round five); Nambrok: Greg McMillan (round four), Phillip Shields (round seven); Stratford: Clinton Gartung (round four); Rosedale-Kilmany: Guy McGrath (round four), Geoff Kinnish (round seven); Bundalaguah Bulls: David Braithwaite (round three); Heyfield: Jack Burton (round one), Ronnie Winter (round five); Longford: Jack Neesham (round seven), Jimmy Love (round seven); Sale: Jarrod Ingle (round three); Wurruk: Warren Breddels (round four).

Fourth grade has seen some impressive bowling performances so far this season and it is hard to go past Heyfield’s opening bowler Curtis Berryman who took 6-6 from his eight overs in round five which included five maidens.

The performance was impressive as Heyfield struggled through their batting innings, only scoring 93, but the Kangaroos bowled well, dismissing the Bundalaguah Bulls for 49 to snatch the win.

Another top bowling innings came in round one for both Stratford and Bundalaguah Bulls.

The clash between the Bulls and the Redbacks was a low-scoring affair with the teams scoring 99 and 86 respectively.

The men who did the damage with the Kookaburras were Nathan White for Stratford who took 5-19 from 7.5 overs, bookending the innings taking the openers wickets and finishing off the tail.

For the Bulls the scalps were taken by Anthony Begie who took 4-10 from his 3.1 overs and Coby Bronts who took 3-6 from five overs which took the Redbacks from 2-50 to all out for 86.

Bundalaguah has had a strong season in fourth grade and the Yaks Ken Lenehan had a strong performance in the final round before Christmas.

Lenehan opened the bowling and took 5-12 from his eight overs which included four maidens to help defend the Yaks low score of 124 against Nambrok.