After wet weather and COVID attempted to cancel Round 2 of the Sale-Maffra Cricket Association season, it was finally played out on the weekend.
Bundalaguah asserted themselves as the team to watch in 2022 after defeating first place Stratford on Saturday and then second place Maffra on Sunday.
Once again for the Bulls it was a spread of runs after they won the toss and batted first at Cameron Sporting Complex.
Skipper Jason Langshaw went early but opener Kyle O’Reilly was solid at the top of the order making 54 from 69.
Steve Spoljaric continued on from where he left off on Saturday compiling a well-made 42 before he became one of Mitch Bennett’s two victims.
All-rounder Sam Bedggood continued his impressive summer top scoring for the Bulls with 66 from 78 balls, only hitting two boundaries on Maffra’s vast ground.
James Read put the finishing touches on the innings making 31 from 36 to help propel Bundalaguah to its total of 7/235.
Bennett and Lee Hopkins were the pick of the bowlers for Maffra taking two each bowling the middle and death overs.
Maffra’s run chase got off to a shaky start when the Eagles found themselves at 3/27, but captain Josh Davis and opener Hopkins steadied.
Davis fell for a well-made 35 from 44 bringing Ben Harrington to the crease to partner with Lee Hopkins.
The pair got to work trying to chase down the Bulls mammoth total but Hopkins fell for 78 with Maffra still needing 93 runs for victory.
Harrington departed soon after for 20 and then wickets fell regularly after that with club legend Brett Lanigan trying to salvage the innings but eventually fell for 22.
Much like they have all season, Bundalaguah spread the wickets well with Nathan Whitford, Gayashan Munasignhe, Toby O’Reilly and Matt Dowsett picking up two each to help the Bulls to an important victory to leapfrog Maffra and finish the weekend on top of the table.
All summer it has appeared Stratford was the team to beat but in one weekend, Bundalaguah has shown the competition that they are going to be difficult to beat come March.
SALE got an important win to stay in the hunt for finals punctuated by an impressive century to opener Ben Jones against Boisdale-Briagolong.
Jones batted aggressively going at better than a run a ball to help Sale to a score of 6/249 making his 114 off 104 balls including eight boundaries.
He found support in skipper Rohan Blandford (26) at the top of the order and Hayden Glover (38) to grow the Swans score before a late flourish from Matt Raidal who scored 28 from 14 saw the Swans almost reach 250.
It was a tough day for the bowlers but Connor Hughes, Mark Donald and skipper Dylan Bolton chipped in with two wickets each and attempted to keep scoring to a minimum.
It was always going to be an uphill battle for the Saints but opener Steve Noble went a run a ball for his 45 at the top of the order to get the Saints off to a solid start.
Noble nearly fell to an astonishing catch from Matt Raidal on the boundary when the gun fielder leapt one handed and almost took an astonishing catch, but the ball just slipped through his grasp to go for one of Noble’s two sixes.
College got an important win over Longford to keep its nose ahead of Sale on the ladder and remain in the top four.
It was a tough day for the Lizards with College punishing the bowling attack to post a mammoth 7/290 at home.
The most promising sign for captain Isaac Love was the spread of scoring with all, but one batter scoring over 20.
College saw two half centuries coming from opener Mark Nicholls (54) and Jonty McGuiness (53) while Tom Morrison (42) and Charlie Morrison (43) fell just short of their own half centuries.
The four batters were well supported by Henry Anderson (27), Isaac Love (22) and Ben Hurley (21) to help College to its imposing score of 290.
It was a hard day for the Longford bowlers who toiled away in an attempt to slow the scoring, Mitch Floyd took 2/58 from his nine and spinner Jake Wynd was the pick of the bowlers taking 2/34 from his nine overs.
Longford once again showed signs in its batting innings, but the task became too great.
The Lizards did not help its cause after Mitch Floyd and Lachie Cunningham found themselves at the same end during a run which saw Floyd dismissed for 15.
Austin Bauer in his return to the SMCA showed why he is a class above and a cricketer to watch as he moves into the premier competition making 22 before he fell to Mark Nicholls.
Wynd and skipper Lachlan Floyd put together an excellent rearguard action making 39 and 26 respectively to add respectability to its score.
Wickets were well spread for College and even though star Isaac Love went wicketless, other bowlers chipped in to ensure a big victory.
Tim Dessent, Hudson Holmes and Mark Nicholls all took two wickets to help steer College to an important victory which keeps them in the top four and ahead of Sale.