By Jackson Russell
WHITTLESEA avoided the rain to score its second win of the season by seven wickets over Thomastown on the back of a 120-run partnership between Nathan Fowler and Suresh Fernando.
The win has the Eagles fourth on the Diamond Valley Cricket Association’s Mash Shield ladder after four rounds, behind undefeated leader Laurimar.
After winning the toss and sending the visitors in, Whittlesea made a solid start with early wickets to Braydon Avola, putting Thomastown under pressure at 2/39.
Thomastown was able to stabilise its innings momentarily until a middle-order collapse saw the Eagles take the next four wickets for just 11 runs, three of which were taken by Nathan Somerville, as Thomastown fell to 6/94.
The visitors’ tail was able to consolidate the innings, making small partnerships to keep the scoreboard ticking over, before finishing at 9/163 from 40 overs.
Somerville finished with figures of 3/19 from eight overs with three maidens while Fernando took 3/42 from six overs to close out the innings.
The early wicket of Deakin Tennant, bowled for just six, had the Eagles in trouble before Nathan Heaney and Avola put on a 33-run partnership to steady the ship, ending when Avola was caught for 17.
Heaney fell shortly after, caught for 23 with Whittlesea 3/50 and in strife.
However, Fowler and Fernando picked up the pace and carried Whittlesea to the win in just 32 overs with a 120-run partnership.
Fowler finished unbeaten on 67 while Fernando made 46 not out.
Whittlesea captain Rodney Pratt said he was very happy with the win.
“It was good to get another win on the board,” he said.
“[Fowler and Fernando] gave themselves time to get in and back themselves to do some damage late.
“We always go conservative before drinks, but after drinks they picked it up and made sure we got the job done.”
Pratt praised the performance of Somerville, who had only started bowling spin in-game this season.
“It was good to see him get some results for his hard work,” he said.
“[He started bowling spin] towards the back end of last year, but has only really bowled it in games this year.
“He didn’t think he would get a bowl as a paceman so he would try spin and he’s doing well.”
Laurimar remain undefeated in the Mash Shield following a five-wicket win over Thomastown United on the road.
The Power’s bowling attack put the hosts under pressure early at 2/4 with wickets to Nathan Woods (3/24) and Steven Mitchell (2/16).
Thomastown United was able to put a couple of 48-run partnerships together but was losing wickets two at a time to fall to 6/100 before its tail collapsed to have the side all out for 126.
Laurimar chipped away at the run chase with small but effective partnerships until a 53-run third wicket stand between captain Jake Zerella (41) and Rian Boddy (67*) set up the win.
After scoring the winning runs the Power stayed at the crease and picked up some bonus points, finishing its innings at 6/194.
Mernda is still winless in the Money Shield after an eight-wicket away loss to Bundoora Park.
Damien Stevens did his best to carry the Demons, making a half-century along the way, but Mernda was only able to make 9/133 from its 40 overs, with only three batsmen getting out of single figures.
After losing an early wicket, taken by James Baker, and with rain looming, Bundoora Park did not wait around to secure the win, getting it done in just 20 overs.