Cricket turns to Snakes and Ladders in Turf 1 run home

Berwick and North Dandenong look destined for an elimination final battle. 380206 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Marcus Uhe

The Dandenong District Cricket Association’s Turf 1 competition is reaching a fascinating crescendo, with two round remaining in the home and away competition.

Three points separate Berwick in second and Hallam Kalora Park in fifth, while a quirk in the draw sees Berwick and Narre South slated with two brutal matches in the run home.

Springvale South is just about untouchable at the top, but it’s the bottom of the top four where things get interesting.

The top two sides will play a qualifying final, with the loser to face the inner of an elimination final between third and fourth place, and the winner advancing directly to the decider.

Round 13 is a two-day game, a return clash from the washed-out seven, while Round 14 is a one-day contest.


Games remaining: Narre South (A), Berwick (A)

Despite a minor hiccup last week against arch rivals Buckley Ridges, the Bloods will finish on top of the ladder for a second consecutive season, barring a catastrophe in the final fortnight. The double chance and a home final in the first week will be theirs for another year, a credit to the excellence of the club. It’s what they can do to shape the remainder of the four that’s where the interest lies.

BERWICK – 42 points

Games remaining: Buckley Ridges (A), Springvale South (H)

Early season bolters, the Bears share one of the toughest runs home against competition heavyweights. Should they finish equal on points with anyone, a healthy percentage and second-best net run rate is in the Bears’ favour. North Dandenong is the team to watch for a potential points tie.

NARRE SOUTH – 40 points

Games remaining: Springvale South (H), Buckley Ridges (A)

Kyle Hardy’s Lions shape as the heartbreak story of Turf 1 this season. They hit form just after Christmas but Callum Nicholls’ injury on Saturday is a crushing blow. With two likely losses to come against experienced sides priming for finals action, they’re unfortunately the side most likely to fall out of the four.

BUCKLEY RIDGES – 39 points

Games remaining: Berwick (H), Narre South (H)

What a difference a week makes. From a tough day in the field that saw them concede 361 against Springvale South, the Bucks are right back in the hunt for a top four spot. And if they’re good enough, they’ll get there, with clashes against two clubs desperate to take their place in the four. They could climb as high as second, securing a double chance in the process.


Games remaining: Beaconsfield (H), St Mary’s (A)

The competition’s form side along with Narre South, but with a considerably softer draw to come than the Lions. They should comfortably bank 12 points, and even consider an outright possibility against Beaconsfield, as it could see them grab second ahead of Buckley Ridges.


Games remaining: St Mary’s (A), Beaconsfield (A)

On the basis of recent form, North Dandenong should not even be in the conversation, having lost their last four. But cricket is funny game, and the fixture keeps the door alive for the Maroons. They should pick up 12 points from the remaining two contests, particularly in the final round against Beaconsfield, when their white ball skills will come to the fore. So do they push for an outright against St Mary’s? The extra points could see them jump Berwick into the four. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

BEACONSFIELD – 24 points

Games remaining: Hallam Kalora Park (A), North Dandenong (H)

The Tigers appear to be running out of puff, with the length of the season catching up on Mark Cooper’s young squad, in their first Turf 1 season. They should be safe from relegation discussions, however, outside of St Mary’s shocking the world, in what would be a fantastic achievement for last season’s Turf 2 premiers, doing what Narre Warren and Parkmore before them could not.

ST MARY’S – 12 points

Games remaining: North Dandenong (H), Hallam Kalora Park (H)

A win over Beaconsfield last means it’s “mathematically possible” that they’ll avoid relegation to Turf 2, but plenty would need to go right for the Saints, starting with an outright win over North Dandenong this week. It’s hard to envisage, but you never know.

PREDICTED FINAL LADDER: Springvale South 66, Buckley Ridges 51, Hallam Kalora Park 51, Berwick 42, North Dandenong 42, Narre South 40, Beaconsfield 24, St Mary’s 12.

FINALS MATCH-UPS: Springvale South v Buckley Ridges, Hallam Kalora Park v Berwick.