Whittlesea cruises to victory

Braydon Avola’s half-century helped guide Whittlesea to an important win over Panton Hill.

By Jackson Russell

Whittlesea was up to the tough task Panton Hill set in their two-day Mash Shield match at AF Walker Reserve, chasing down the 261 total with five wickets and eight overs to spare.

Opener Mitchell Komen was dismissed early on with Whittlesea 1/28 before opening partner Nathan Heaney and Braydon Avola put on an 89-run partnership, before Heaney was dismissed leg before wicket for 32 with the hosts 2/117.

Avola followed shortly after before he and Corey Baker could get a partnership started, caught out for 51 with Whittlesea 3/117.

Baker and Suresh Fernando were able to get the Eagles back on track with a 52-run partnership before Baker was bowled for 21 with Whittlesea 4/169.

Fernando and Rajitha Ratnayake were able to put another 62 on the board until Ratnayake departed for 20 with Whittlesea in the box seat at 5/231.

Fernando finished the innings unbeaten on 81 alongside Yasith De Silva (17*).

Whittlesea captain Rodney Pratt said he was happy with the win after last week’s loss to Thomastown.

“We’re looking for play finals. We stuffed up a run chase against Thomastown and it’s good that we learned from it,” he said.

“I think we were more patient. We tried to get them too quickly, this time we were more patient and it gave us a better chance.”

Pratt said Fernando had been a standout all season.

“Suresh has been our best batsman since he’s come into the team and hasn’t made a score under 47,” he said.

Whittlesea remain one game out of the finals with four wins and three losses behind five-win Laurimar.

The Eagles face Hurstbridge in an Australia Day long weekend one-dayer on Saturday.

Laurimar fell short of the mark in the culmination of their Mash Shield two-dayer against Thomastown United, going down by 77 runs.

Despite a strong partnership between opener Ray Kelsey and Rian Boddy, the Power were bowled out or 161 from 69.3 overs.

Laurimar looked to be in trouble early, falling to 3/32 before Kelsey and Boddy put together an 86-run partnership.

Boddy was dismissed for 49 with Laurimar 4/118 and was quickly followed by Kelsey who fell for 46 just one run later.

Laurimar’s tail wasn’t able to put together any substantial partnerships and fell in short order.

Laurimar travels to Greensborough on Saturday for a one-day match.

Eltham stifled Mernda’s batsmen on their way to a 51-run win in their Money Shield two-dayer.

With a target of 176, Mernda was bowled out for 124 from 61.5 overs.

The Demons were in trouble from the get-go, falling to 4/50 early on.

Captain James Taylor and Mitchell Harris put together a 45-run partnership before Taylor (17) and Harris (25) fell one after the other as Mernda fell to 6/95.

Mernda’s tail wasn’t able to make any inroads and was dismissed cheaply.

Mernda remains winless on the bottom of the Money Shield ladder and hosts Lower Plenty in a one-dayer on Saturday.