By Jackson Russell
Tallarook has staked its claim for a home semi-final with a five-wicket win over Broadford at home in its Seymour District Cricket Association A Grade clash.
The win puts the reigning premiers three points clear of Broadford in second place on the ladder, and six points behind ladder leaders Yea.
After bowling out Broadford for 137 on a rain-affected day one, Tallarook was able to get the job done before tea, finishing on 5/149 from 37 overs.
Broadford struck early with the ball, as Tallarook opener Mitch Itter was caught by Jeremy Bradshaw off Lee McKenzie’s bowling for eight with the hosts 1/25.
Opener Ben Cooney and Jac Smith-Williams gathered some momentum, putting on 44 runs together before Cooney was bowled by Jack Connell for 32.
Off-spinner Blair Hobba dismissed both Smith-Williams leg before wicket for 35 and Leigh Irving for 1 as Tallarook fell to 4/89.
The hosts were still well in control with a 38-run partnership between captain Lachlan Watts (25*) and Cameron Muir (24) setting up the Tallarook victory, before Muir was caught behind by Liam Collier off Shaun O’Neill at 5/127.
The result was beyond doubt at that point as Tallarook cruised to the first innings win.
Broadford coach Greg Hobba said 137 was always going to be hard to defend.
“With 137, everything has to go your way,” he said.
“In the first session, I thought we’d bowled pretty poorly and enabled their batsmen to get on top.
“They got away fairly well and all of a sudden it was an uphill task from then on.”
Despite dropping to third, Hobba was optimistic about Broadford’s chances of a home final.
“We’re playing Seymour and Eastern Hill and hopefully get a couple wins, and you never know, we might be lucky enough to have that second chance,” he said.
“We just need to work on our own game and make totals that we can defend.”
Kilmore’s finals destiny is virtually sealed after ending its two-dayer against Eastern Hill with a draw.
After Eastern Hill finished a rain-affected day one on 6/192, Kilmore was able to take the four remaining wickets in just eight overs to bowl the visitors out for 221 from 71.2 overs.
Corey Dennehy struck first, bowling Alan Sinclair for a duck and followed up with the crucial wicket of Matthew Collard, caught behind by Matt Rose two runs shy of a half-century.
Josh Buttler got in on the act, bowling Tyler Peacock for a duck before Dennehy and Rose combined against to take the final wicket.
Dennehy finished with figures if 3/36 from 8.2 overs while Shane Topham took 3/37 from 12 overs with three maidens.
It was a wobbly start for Kilmore as the hosts quickly fell to 6/50 with one batsman of the top seven reaching double digits.
Opener Josh Buttler and Topham were able to put together a 90-run stand to get Kilmore to 7/140 when Topham became the fifth of Ben Bryant’s six scalps, getting bowled for 56.
Ben Dawson was the final victim of Bryant, getting caught for 12 with Kilmore 8/180.
Despite a valiant effort, Kilmore ran out of time, finishing the day on 8/180 after 56 overs.
Buttler finished unbeaten on 64 not out while Bryant had figures of 6/37 from 19 overs with six maidens.
Yea cruised to its eighth win of the season, bowling Seymour out for 94, after the home side finished day one 7/84.
Yea finished its run chase in quick fashion, declaring at 7/132 from 42 overs before Seymour had another go in the middle, making 1/42 from 16 overs before stumps.
Ryan Akers led Yea, making 32 off 48 balls.