• A Grade, Division 1
INVERLOCH looked gone for all money in their two-day match against Wonthaggi Club at the Inverloch Turf; their position seemingly hopeless at 6/30 on Sunday when Dylan Clark strode to the crease.
With only the bowlers left to hold up an end, it was up to Clark to get as many runs as he could while his team mates farmed him the strike but no one could have anticipated how successful that strategy would be.
The day before, Inverloch had won the toss and opted to insert the visiting Club team and they appeared to have pulled the right rein when Sam Huitema 4 and James Sheerin 2 were out in quick succession.
But Mitch and Ryan Thomas steadied the ship with a 59-run partnership and Club was still in reasonable shape with Tim Hooper and Brian Osborne to follow.
But the Inverloch bowling and fielding was tight and the outfield relatively and the Club batsmen were never able to dictate terms at any stage. Ryan and Mitch Thomas did take toll of the odd loose ball but these were few and far between.
And when they fell to Rankin and Rotthier, Tom McQualter took over the bowling with his offies and rolled through 25 overs for a miserly 25 runs.
When Brian Osborne was accidently hit on the helmet by a rising delivery, it didn’t help Club’s cause and while he bravely came back and continued on, their effort petered out, dismissed for just 136 after 68 overs.
It never looked like being enough but Inverloch were terrible in response.
They lost quick wickets as soon as the innings started and there was no let up, falling to 7/45 even after Clark had come to the crease.
But a tentative revival had begun and especially while Rotthier (partnership of 38) and Darien Matthews (partnership of 51) were there in support, the score continued to tick over nicely.
But when Matthews departed on the cusp of victory, Inverloch still needed three runs to win, sitting precariously at 9/134 chasing 136.
But last man, Ryan Thomas needn’t have worried. Clark polished off the winning runs and then set about chasing down an unlikely century which he did in short order, slashing the Club bowling through and over the boundary.
He passed the ton with a delightful drive to mid-off and promptly went out the very next ball, bowled by Scott Williams.
It had been a thrilling innings and dramatic chase but also a very near thing for the reigning premiers who’ll nonetheless have to take a good hard look to their batting ahead of the grand final rematch against Nerrena at Nerrena next Saturday.
Town’s timely win
Leongatha Town desperately needed a win to get them out of the relegation stakes and after a hard-fought contest against Korumburra on the turf at Scorpion Park, that’s exactly what they got but it was by no means easy.
Having got that vital victory, Town’s far from content and will be aiming to push up into final’s calculations, starting this week against Imperials.
Opening bat, Madura Weerasinghe, led the way with a mercurial knock on Saturday, soaking up the considerable early pressure from Korumburra’s opening bowlers Ash Meade and Luke Zanchetta to play possibly his best-ever knock for the club, an absolutely vital 86 when it was most needed.
There were good partnerships throughout and when Town’s Jake and Damian Burge came back on Sunday to help put on a further 50 runs, the balance in the match tipped ever-so-slightly their way.
Korumburra always seemed to be in a position to push on and win but to their credit, Town’s bowlers, especially Amila Ratnaike 4/37 off 13 and Madura Weerasinghe 3/67 off 18, got the breakthroughs at just the right time and the crucial wicket of Shane Dole, out for 31 with the score at 4/126 was one such occasion.
The Burra continued to get good contributions through the middle of the batting order but in the end, their challenge petered out and Town was delighted to get the monkey off their back in season 2015-16.
The OMK versus Imperials match at Outtrim was an absolute run fest and it was Jason Wilson 90 together with Tom Wyatt 102 who delivered the coup de grace at the end of the OMK innings to boost their total to 5/325 off 75 overs.
Not to be outdone, Imperials also batted really well to make 8/267 in reply, bookended by the Sauvarin family, Gary 37 and Tim 61 not out on the fast Outtrim outfield but the OMK bowling was that little bit tighter and the big target was too much in the end.
Meanwhile Phillip Island had an important win over Nerrena at home, putting up a worthy 6/221 off 75 overs and then defending it well with Charith Keerthisinghe leading the way with 4.52 off 22 overs.
The ladder looks a lot more interesting all of a sudden.
Catches win matches at Leongatha
• A Grade, Division 2
THE most competitive match of the weekend in A Grade Division 2 was the contest between Meeniyan-Dumbalk and Koonwarra-RSL on the Leongatha Turf.
The turf was presented in great condition for the match and the outfield at Leongatha looks an absolute picture at the moment.
The key to MDU’s total of 193 off 69 overs was definitely the efforts of Joel Sinclair 43, who got the team through to 107 after a rather shaky start.
This allowed Craig Hoober and Mark Cantwell some level of freedom and they both contributed strongly in the middle of the order.
Koonwarra-RSL was just as circumspect about getting their innings established but just as they looked like to Gary Webster took a pearler of a catch to dismiss Ben Perry of the bowling of Luke Mercer to keep Koony-RSL on the backfoot.
Later in the day on Sunday, Neville Toms got stuck in with a nice knock of 35 and once again it took an excellent catch to dismiss him, Mark Cantwell hanging on to a beauty off Michael Olden to finish the innings.
Although Koony-RSL fell 40 runs short, there were stages during the chase on Sunday that they looked some chance of overhauling MDU.
In other matches, the Kilcunda-Bass versus Poowong-Loch game featured two knocks, on either side, of 69 to Wilson Pollock of Poowong-Loch and Andrew Donohue of Killy-Bass, which dominated the scorecard.
However while Donohue remained not out, he couldn’t find another batsman to go with him, apart from Trevor Aplin 12, while Pollock had plenty of support enabling his side to push on and make a match-winning total of 200 with several other good contributions through the innings.
At Foster, the Tigers put up a good fight against Wonthaggi Miners, especially while Tyler Smith 74 and Frazer Griggs 30 were batting but Miners had more strength overall on the way to 9/171 in reply to Foster’s 140.