By Nick Creely
DDCA TURF 1 AND TURF 2
REVIEW – ROUND 12
That’s a huge result for Buckley Ridges.
The Bucks – facing their great rival Springvale South away from home – were graced by the class of their star recruit, with Ian Cockbain blasting his way to victory in a gem of a knock.
There was an inevitability to the knock in many ways, and this one against a fellow premiership contender could prove the masterstroke in the Bucks’ quest for another piece of silverware.
It was a stern task for the Bucks, who were set 221 for victory after a strong batting performance from the Bloods.
Winning the toss and batting, the Bloods lost dangerous duo Nathan King and Ryan Quirk early, courtesy of a ripping new-ball spell from Michael Davies (3/52), and when Benny Howell prized out star bat Clint Tomlinson for 21, the home side was wobbling at 3/46.
But Jack Sketcher steadied the ship beautifully, compiling a classy 75, knocking five fours and four sixes to lead the way, linking up in a key partnership with Paul Hill (40) to get the home team in a strong position, eventually lifting beyond 200.
Daniel ‘DJ’ Watson was in no mood to waste time running down the target, racing away to 36 off just 18 deliveries like only he can, but a double-strike from Akshat Buch (2/22), firstly Watson and then bowling Benny Howell (21), saw the Bucks fall to 2/65.
As Cockbain entered Alex Nelson Reserve it was clear that if the visitors would pull of their most important win of the season, he needed to be there at the end.
The right-hander started steadily, building in small partnerships with Troy Aust (13) and skipper Jayson Hobbs (20) before he accelerated with precision.
As it looked like the Bloods were tightening the screws, Cockbain blew the game away, flaying a remarkable 95 not out as the Bucks took the points with four wickets left to spare.
But, despite the win, the Bucks are only just outside the four, with the Bloods holding on to fourth position by just .03 in what looms as a mouth-watering finish to the season.
St Mary’s produced a stunning result, upsetting Narre South’s run towards finals in what could loom as a costly loss for the Lions.
Sending the Saints in at Strathaird Recreation Reserve, Matt Brooks’ group restricted the visitors to 141, with seamer Josh Dowling (3/45) the man to lead the charge again, while Kirk Dickson (3/33) also got in on the act with some impressive bowling.
But it was a horror start to the chase, and one the Lions just couldn’t come back from in the end.
In-form batsman Kyle Hardy fell second ball, before skipper Matt Brooks was skittled the next delivery as the home side lost 2/0 off its first over.
New ball duo Deeshan Vimukthi (5/31) and Corey Ely (3/14) proved almost unplayable as the home side slumped to 5/23, and with very little answers.
Morteza Ali (36) showed the fight required to get the Lions back in the contest, but the Lions were bowled out in the 44th over.
Ladder-leading Hallam Kalora Park, meanwhile, show absolutely no signs of slowing down, brushing aside Heinz Southern Districts.
The Hawks were relentless after being sent out to field, rolling the Cobras for 70 in the 35th in a disciplined, well-drilled display of one-day bowling.
It could have, however, been a lot worse for the home team, who were at one stage 7/32.
Quick Will Whyte (2/9) was once again sublime, taking both openers’ wickets, while Lee Brown (3/11) controlled things through the middle and Leigh Booth (3/9) continued his outstanding season with another trio of wickets.
The Hawks were never really in any bother in the chase, running down the target with seven wickets to spare, as Sachith Jayasingha (33 not out) cooly guided the team home.
In the final match of the round, Berwick was made to work for it, but ultimately overcame North Dandenong after a match-winning knock from Brodie Emmett.
The Maroons batted first, and clawed its way back from 4/70 to post a highly competitive 6/192 – largely off the back of the highly talented Imran Laghmani.
Laghmani belted 74 from just 79 balls with a total of nine boundaries to really make his mark with the bat, while skipper Clay McCartney was once again among the runs, compiling a fluent 45 not out.
It was yet another show of class from leggie Ruwantha Kellepotha, who snared 4/38 from his 12 overs to be a constant threat.
The Bears were dealt an early blow, with skipper Matt Chasemore falling in the opening exchanges, before dangerous keeper bat Jordan Cleland was trapped LBW for a quickfire 21.
At 2/35, Emmett – alongside the experience and power of Nathan Pilon (46) – got the home side back on track, before Pilon’s scalp gave the Maroons an opening.
Buddhika Janith (2/31) was up and about, bowling the dangerous Kellepotha and having Lachlan Brown caught, and suddenly – at 5/134 and needing near a run-a-ball – the home side were in trouble.
Brodie Emmett was the man of the moment and ultimately the difference in the end, crunching 74 from 112 balls (his second half-century of the season) to keep the runs flowing, bringing the game close before his departure once again shook things up.
But Josh Holden (19 not out) and James Wilcock (12 not out) quickly rattled off the remaining 26 runs, with the Bears registering a four wicket win with two overs to spare.
The Parkmore Pirates, meanwhile, have surged into the Turf 2 top four in a brilliant display against Cranbourne.
As a result of the victory, the Eagles have been replaced by the Pirates in fourth position with just two rounds of cricket left to play.
The Pirates sent the Eagles in to bat at Wachter Reserve, and had some early success with important opener Craig Hookey departing.
But skipper Mick Sweeney dug in, compiling a vitally important 53 to help anchor the innings, but key scalps through the middle-order continually held the visitors back, with a late cameo from Braedyn Jansz (21) eventually helping the Eagles to 9/164.
The Pirates were made to work for the victory with impressive young seamer Trishane De Silva (4/36) bowling superbly, but a clutch knock from opener Johann Brohier (65 not out) guided the home side to its most important win of the season with four wickets and three deliveries in hand.
Beaconsfield also enhanced its premiership hopes with a dominant win against Parkfield at Perc Allison Oval.
The second-placed Tigers sent the visitors in, and were set 173 for victory with Luke Stow, Nathan Goodes and Brad Miles each chipping in with two wickets.
But it was with the bat that the home side truly shone, with Michael Vandort (49) continuing his stellar season with more runs, while fellow recruit Tyler Clark (49 not out) and Michael Dunstan (39 not out) were also clinical as the Tigers ran the total down with eight wickets left.
Lyndale, meanwhile, inflicted Dandenong West with a surprise loss at Greaves Reserve.
Batting first, Priyan De Silva was all class, blasting 69 to help guide the visitors to 8/172, with wickets falling around him at a steady rate.
A top-order collapse, sparked by a brilliant new ball spell from Harish Rao (4/41) had the Westers in deep trouble at 5/30, and in with dire need of a steadying knock.
Despite a battling knock from Karanbir Tiwana (32) the Westers were rattled by a stunning spell from Rohit Dixit (5/24), who rattled through the lower order to bundle the home side out for just 110.
And in the final game, Narre Warren (1/121) was in dominant touch against Narre North (119).