By Nick Creely
David White has a serious love affair with Park Oval.
And the Buckley Ridges’ superstar captain’s latest blazing knock has lifted his team into the Dandenong District Cricket Association’s Twenty20 semi-finals.
White’s latest stunner, an unbeaten 118 off 38 deliveries on Tuesday evening against Heinz Southern District at Park needs to almost be seen to be believed.
In the same fixture last season, White crunched 150 off 59 balls against the same side, and this one had the same brutality.
The skipper – in the middle chasing the excellent 201 set by the Cobras – slapped 15 sixes in his freakish knock, having the crowd ducking for cover.
The visitors put in an excellent effort with the bat after winning the toss, with Trevor Davies (43) and the in-form Chandima Abeykoon (66) putting the home side right under the pump.
But West Indian seamer Jerome Jones (2/13) was absolutely stellar, and largely responsible for holding back a score that threatened to be over 220 at one point.
During the home side’s chase, the Bucks were incredibly 1/116 off seven overs, with only the dangerous Daniel Watson back in the sheds.
As a result of his latest century, the Bucks skipper has moved past 1000 runs at the venue at an average of 100 as side continue to figure out a way to combat his power and shot placement on the small surrounds.
The Bucks took just 12 overs to race down the target, going at 16.9 runs per over, with White also slapping 36 off Josh Dinger in the second over of the chase and later on another 33 off Robert Davies.
Susa Pradeep was also in vintage touch, crunching a 27-ball 66 in the win, providing the perfect foil for the rampaging skipper.
The win sees the Bucks shoot for an eighth Twenty20 title in the association from just 13 tournaments, but there’s plenty of competition in the remaining three spots.
Down at Alex Nelson Reserve, batsmen found it a bit more difficult with the white-ball as Springvale South and St Mary’s went to battle.
The Bloods were dented early when Dandenong champ Brett Forsyth fell first ball of the game, but youngster Ryan Quirk (54 not out) played an assured knock to guide the home side to a competitive, but potentially under-par 5/123. Andrew Staude also provided a quick-fire 31 for the Bloods.
With dangerous MPCA superstar Bobby Wilson opening up for the Saints, the Bloods proved its overriding class with the ball, with Akshay Ballal (3/12) and Jarryd Straker (4/10) combining superbly to help roll the visitors for just 78.
Narre South also held off a fierce challenge from North Dandenong down at Lois Twohig Reserve.
The Lions were set 159 for victory with all-rounder Matin Sultani lighting it up with a brilliant 83 off 63 balls, but the bowling of Dale Vaughan (2/10) was vital for the visitors in keeping the total within reach.
It was a horrible start for the visitors, with Morteza Ali and Rumesh Rangana back in the sheds early, but the Lions recovered through the class of Jonty Jenner (40 off 24 balls) who helped change the game in his own aggressive style.
Joe Thomas (49 not out) helped finish it off despite some late wickets from the Maroons, with the Lions winning by four wickets and with nine balls to spare.
And in the final game, Berwick eased past Parkfield.
The Bears bowled superbly to roll the visitors for 69, with young spinner Isaiah Jassal (3/6) once again prominent, while the experience of Jarrod Goodes (3/11) was on show.
The home side had a little hiccup in the chase, but ultimately got the job done six wickets down.
The semi-finals are locked in for 11 February, with the final four – also the top-four in the Turf 1 competition – set to battle it out.