By Marcus Uhe
A return to winning ways for Casey South Melbourne has not seen them rise in vital ladder positions in Victorian Premier Cricket with just one round remaining in the home-and-away season.
The Swans remain in fifth position despite the 99-run win over Melbourne University, with just two points separating them from Prahran in top spot.
Returning to the crease with Lachlan Sperling in touching distance of a century, the visitors added a further 13 runs in two overs to the score from last week before declaring at 5/384.
The extra time allowed Sperling to reach his hundred, bringing the milestone up with a six, his third of the innings, finishing unbeaten on 104 off 66.
Ash Chandrasinghe was also unbeaten on 159, rocketing into fourth place on the competition’s leading run scorer table.
It was then time for Nathan Lambden and his fellow bowlers to wreak havoc on the Students’ top order, the home side slumping to 7/88 after a withering opening session.
Lambden got the ball rolling with the opening three wickets, sharing an extra bolwing burden without his partner in crime, Jackson Fry, recovering from a split webbing.
Young talent Harry Hoekstra filled Fry’s big shoes with two wickets of his own, with the Swans bowlers combining to remove three Students batters for ducks.
The home side then fought back, however, with a 180-run partnership for the eighth wicket.
Dhruv Redhu and Yuvraj Singh both made hundreds for the home side to stave off the inevitable and drag the innings into the evening from a position of peril, before spinners Luke Shelton and Ruwantha Kellapotha put the game to bed with the final wickets.
Lambden finished with 4/80, the standout bowler, to remain the competition’s leading wicket taker.
There will be plenty riding on the final clash of the year at Casey Fields against Footscray, with access to live scores from around the competition set to be the hottest accessory in Cranbourne across the round’s two days.
A top-four finish would secure the Swans a double-chance, and with the squeeze at the top of the ladder, all manner of outcomes is possible.
First-placed Prahran welcome fourth-placed Geelong to Toorak Park while Carlton play Ringwood in a clash between third and second, respectively, at Princes Park.
Should the Swans get the better of Footscray, a side scrapping to sneak into the bottom portion of the top eight, and the other two matches produce results, the Swans look likely to finish third.