By Jonty Ralphsmith
Parkfield’s clash with Dandenong West and Keysborough’s bout with Cranbourne both look set to go down to the wire next week in DDCA Turf 2.
Parkfield will be ruing letting a massive opportunity against a weakened Dandenong West slip on Saturday after having the Bulls on the ropes.
Missing opening batter Shaun Weir, Malinga Bandara and Nuwan Kulasekara, Dandenong West was bowled out for just 141, with Anthony Brannan’s 68 a lone hand in the middle-order.
Kulasekara, however, was named in the XI, so will play a part with the ball next week, with the Bulls’ bowling attack laying a solid foundation to have the Bandits 5/72.
After Parkfield claimed the Bulls’ last five wickets for just seven runs, all the momentum at the halfway point belonged to the hosts.
But the visitors kept it simple with the ball, their patience rewarded with five top-order players failing to reach triple digits.
Travis D’Souza and Suliman Iqbal played positively to start the rescue mission late on day one.
That pair will likely need to score the majority of the 70 runs required for victory in what looks set to be a tight finish next week, while Hansika Kodikara has played coolly under pressure in the past for Parkfield and is still in the sheds.
Earlier in the day, Kodikara was back bowling his heat after playing as a batter only against Parkmore, while spinners Nick Jeffrey and Travis D’Souza claimed five wickets in seven overs between them.
Dandy West’s score of 141 could have been even smaller had Riley Payne held onto a sharp chance at gully when Brannan flashed outside his off stump on 30.
That it took allrounder Riley Siwes 23 balls to get off the mark in his first game of the season was a nod to the consistency of Stephen Cannon, Sanjay Kahawatte and Jeffrey all day.
There was also play at Rowley Allan Reserve, where the winless Keysborough has put itself 99 runs from victory with nine wickets in hand against Cranbourne
After holding the batting order together for much of the season, Harsaroup Singh and Sajan De Silva were both unable to go on with their starts for Cranbourne.
The Knights seized control after those middle-order wickets to bowl Cranbourne out for just 130.
Needing to navigate 24 overs late on Saturday, Keysborough played risk-averse cricket to finish on 1/32 off 24 overs.
After a surprisingly springy start to the season, Cranbourne collapsed last week to fall to Heinz Southern Districts (HSD) and can ill afford to lose next week with contenders Dandenong West next up.
HSD’s clash with Narre Warren and Lyndale’s clash with Parkmore both saw no action, with both set to be one-day fixtures this week.