Eagles back on winners’ list with scrappy win over Tallarook
Eastern Hill bounced back from its first loss of the season with a tight 25-run triumph over Tallarook at Tallarook Recreation Reserve.
In a match destined to be a low-scoring slog from the early passages, the class of the Eagles’ line-up proved the difference between the two sides, as dominant all-rounder Ben Bryant once again stood up to take 4-21 as his side successfully defended a total of 115.
Winning the toss and batting first, Eastern Hill got off to a decent start, with opener Brayden Speechley putting on 24 to help negotiate the new ball and build a platform for his team.
This is where Tallarook skipper Lachlan Watts put his stamp on proceedings.
Bringing himself on at second change, Watts tore through the Eagles’ top order, taking three quick wickets to have the game firmly under control at 4-56.
Needing someone to rebuild the innings, Eastern Hill’s Oscar Bryant played with his usual flair and got away to a nice start, striking a crucial 30 to swing the momentum back into the visitors’ favour.
With the Eagles seemingly on their way to a score of 150-plus, Watts threw the ball to the talented Xavier Arandt, who proceeded to wreak absolute havoc on the Eastern Hill lower order with four wickets.
After a collapse of 6-25, the ladder-leader remarkably found itself bowled out for just 115, with the reality of a second successive defeat staring it right in the face at the innings change.
On a pitch that was playing tricks, however, any triple-figure score would have been hard to chase down, and the Eagles got themselves off to the perfect start, removing both openers in the early stages to have the score at 2-10.
When Watts came to the crease, the captain went about replicating his heroics with the ball in a bid to revitalise the Tallarook innings.
Putting together a patient 34, the skipper survived all the chaos going on at the other end to take the game down to the wire.
However, the Eagles’ combination of Bryant (4-21) and Nathan Dundon (3-16) proved too much for the home side, as they managed to remove Watts with 43 runs to get, before rampaging through the tail to claim the 25-run win.
Yea Tigers moved back into the top four with a crucial seven-wicket win over cellar-dweller Seymour at Chittick Park.
Needing to bounce back after a disappointing showing on their home deck against Tallarook last week, the reigning premiers were dominant across the board as they looked to build some momentum heading into the finals.
Beginning with the ball, Jack Christie was the standout for the Tigers, taking 4-34 as they managed to restrict the Maroons to 9-149.
Having faltered with the bat for much of the season, Nathan Beattie (57) and Andrew Butterworth (46 not out) came out and made a statement, sending the Maroons’ bowlers to all parts of Chittick Park in a match-winning partnership.
Reaching the victory total in just 32.3 overs with seven wickets in the sheds, the Tigers showed they are still able to dominate on their best day as they look to round into top form come finals time.
The final A-grade contest saw Broadford maintain its stranglehold on second position with a clinical 46-run win over Kilmore.
Batting first on their Harley Hammond Reserve home deck, Ashley Wood (45) and Mitchell Collier (37) were dominant at the top of the order as Broadford posted a defendable 155 from its first innings.
With the ball, James Jones stood up for the home side, producing a stunning nine-over spell that yielded 3-13 as Broadford wrapped up the Kilmore innings for just 110.
In B-grade, Pyalong put on arguably the performance of the season, annihilating Alexandra by 156 runs.
A dominant batting performance served as the catalyst for the win, as Sean Walsh (53), Gavin Thomson (65) and Joseph Ryan (53 not out) all posted half-centuries as the team finished with a daunting 4-232.
Pyalong then continued the procession with ball in hand, as five of the six bowlers used registered two wickets in a display that saw them bowl Alexandra out for just 76.
The winners’ list in B-grade was rounded out by Eastern Hill, Broadford and Puckapunyal.