By Nick Creely
DDCA TURF 2 AND TURF 3
REVIEW – ROUND 9
It’s almost impossible to predict what will happen next.
In one of the tightest seasons in recent memory, there is a mere six points separating first from sixth as the race to the finals is only just heating up.
Ladder-leading Narre Warren scored a vitally important victory, knocking over Parkfield in a thrilling contest.
Two finals fancies, this clash had more significance than usual.
It was largely a struggle for the Bandits after being sent in to bat, with the home side posting just 134 from his 45 overs, with Josh Dinger snaring another bundle of wickets, this time 5/31 from 12 overs.
But a fighting 50 from the talented Riley Payne gave the home side a fighting chance after he came in at 5/55.
The Magpies suddently found themselves 3/20 after a hot start from the home side, but a vital 79-run stand from Cam Dinger (44) and Ben Swift (44) proved crucial as the win drew closer.
Despite another late rally from the home side which saw the Magpies fall to 8/124, the visitors had enough depth to scratch out the final runs to bank a massive win in its season.
Cranbourne were another major winner of the round, surging back into the top-four after an impressive win against Lyndale.
The Eagles were superbly led by the Sweeneys once more, with Mick (51) and Pete (74) controlling proceedings with commanding knocks.
In the end, the Eagles posted 4/207 from its 45 overs in a strong display.
Priyan De Silva (56) ensured the Dales wouldn’t go down without a fight, playing a gem of a knock to keep his side in it, but it proved too hard a task.
Spinner Jordan Margenberg (4/35) was outstanding, bowling the side to victory with seamers Trishane De Silva (2/23) and Marty Kelly (3/27) doing damage as well.
The Dales were eventually rolled for 153.
Beaconsfield was merciless in victory against Narre North, with star recruit Michael Vandort once again in the runs.
The home side were restricted to 9/90 after an incredibly disciplined bowling effort – led by Luke Stow (3/11) – making runs a precious commodity.
It took 28.1 overs for the Tigers to find the runs, with Vandort punching an unbeaten 39 from 69 balls, as he moves past 300 runs for the season at a healthy average above 50.
In the final game of the round, Dandenong West and Parkmore Pirates provided drama with a tie.
Both sides – in the middle of the finals fight – couldn’t be separated after a tense contest.
The Westers – in a reduced 35-over contest – did well to reach 8/125 after an entertaining knock from Matt Collett (34) set the tone.
The Pirates did their best to stay ahead of the run-rate but lost steady wickets, before Madhawa Fonseka (36 not out) took control and looked likely to see his side home.
But in the end, nothing could separate the two sides, with the Pirates finishing on 8/125 at the end of their innings.
Shaun Weir’s wicket-frenzy continued, with the Westers spinner snaring 3/43 to once again be a major factor.
Springvale are now almost three games clear on top-of-the-table after yet another win on Saturday.
The ladder-leaders dominated Coomoora at Springvale Reserve to keep its winning season going.
After being set 81 for victory, the remarkably consistent Nuwan Mendis struck 54 not out as his side won by nine wickets.
Since making a blob in the opening round of the season, Mendis has now made scored 52, 46, 64, 69, 48, 97 and now 54 not out in what has been a golden season for the gun opener.
Doveton picked up a major upset, knocking over second-placed Keysborough.
Keysy struggled with the bat, rolled for just 81 after a stunning spell from St Kilda footballer Josh Battle, who snared 4/21 from eight overs, while Nathan Wilson (3/1) was dominant.
It was a hard toil to get the points, but the Doves found the win with three wickets still left in the shed.
At Marriott Waters, Lynbrook is keeping its season alive after defeating Berwick Springs comfortably.
The Titans posted 105 despite a classy 46 from Muneem Alam, with the Lakers putting together an incredibly strong bowling effort, and were helped with two run outs.
The Lakers had little trouble in the chase, passing the target with four wickets lost. Opener Cody Thompson guided his side home with 33 not out.
And Fountain Gate got home in a vitally important result against Silverton at Max Pawsey Reserve.
The Bakers were well served by Clint Gottinger, who slashed an outstanding 82 from 70 balls to guide his side to a competitive 9/160 from 40 overs.
John Mirranay (4/28) was brilliant for the Gators, as was Shammi Dissanayake (3/18).
Mirranay – clearly high on confidence – then belted an unbeaten 86 not out – helping his side recover from a shaky start.
Combining with Steve White (50), the Gators got home from 4/48 to not lose another wicket in a dominant display.