By Jonty Ralphsmith
The top four in the Dandenong District Cricket Association Turf 2 competition looks set following the weekend’s results.
In Turf 2, Cranbourne recorded an outright win over Lyndale to cement its place in the top four, while Parkmore’s surprise loss to Keysborough has made it decidedly difficult for the Pirates to sneak into finals.
Cranbourne arrived at Casey Fields on Saturday 38 runs in arrears with five wickets in hand, and were able to knock off the total quickly, reach a lead of 42 and then bowl the Dales out for 91.
With 15 overs to chase 50 runs, Cranbourne won with eight in the shed and 18 balls remaining.
Parkmore, meanwhile, struggled for rhythm against a Keysborough side which has been more competitive since December, losing its last six wickets for 12 runs to go down by 47 runs.
After Kyle Gwynne looked to blunt the Knights attack on a hot day with 10 off 94, the only partnership which looked likely was that between the in-form Jaime Brohier and stand-in skipper Ammar Bajwa before tea, which supplied 51 runs.
Meanwhile, skipper Anthony Brannan and vice-captain Riley Siwes combined to maturely guide Dandenong West to a comfortable win over Heinz Southern Districts, affirming the Bulls’ premiership favouritism.
Unphased by the disciplined bowling, Brannan, who finished on 43 off 144, blunted the Cobras’ attack which was spearheaded by Triyan De Silva, whose 27 overs delivered four of his team’s seven wickets.
After playing his part perfectly, Siwes (36 off 117) departed just before the total was reached, with Malinga Bandara playing a confidence-boosting cameo of 41 before the skippers shook hands.
Led by a 10-wicket haul to Nick Jeffrey, Parkfield, meanwhile, had an easy outright over Narre Warren, propelling it ahead of HSD to second on the table.
After the openers played well last week, the Bandits’ middle-order struggled until number eight Stephen Cannon scored an unbeaten 42 to give his team an 89-run lead.
After taking five wickets in the first innings, Jeffrey’s spinners were dangerous again in the second innings as he held down an end in the fatiguing late-afternoon heat.
Jeffrey finished with match figures of 10/50 off 32.1.
“He’s okay,” skipper Steve Cannon said with a chuckle.
“The bounce and kick he gets is incredible and he was so tight.
“He was always challenging the stumps so they always had to play.
“In their second dig, he came on just before drinks and got the big breakthrough of Bevan and then just carried on and got his tail up.”
It continues a strong season for Jeffrey, with Cannon attributing it to the season-on-season improvement of the pace bowlers upfront, which allow him to attack the middle order.
Jeffrey has 26 wickets for the season, putting him third in the competition and 11 wickets clear of his nearest teammate, Sanjay Kahawatte.
Turf 2 ladder: Dandenong West 58, Parkfield 55, Cranbourne 46, HSD 45, Parkmore 32, Lyndale 30, Narre Warren 21, Keysborough 21.
Turf 2 fixture: Parkfield v Keysborough, Narre Warren v Parkmore, Cranbourne v Dandenong West, HSD v Lyndale.