By Colin MacGillivray
UPSETS and thrillers were the order of the day in Seymour District Cricket Association’s penultimate round of A Grade competition at the weekend.
Top sides Broadford and Kilmore each suffered surprise defeats, while Pyalong earned its second A Grade win in a nail-biter against Seymour. The round’s final match between Alexandra and Eastern Hill was washed out.
The clash between Pyalong and Seymour came down to the final ball of the day, with the home side hanging on for a 7/169 to 168 victory.
Pyalong batted first in front of a good home crowd after winning the toss and were led to a strong start by opener Sean Walsh.
After losing fellow opener Peter Campbell for seven, Walsh batted well with Jamie Pryor, building a 58-run partnership.
Pryor was eventually removed for 28 by Seymour spinner Hayden Gawne but Walsh continued on, batting quickly with Damien Zoch (one) and then Daniel Sowden (38).
Walsh was eventually removed, also by Gawne, for 65 leaving Pyalong 4/118, but Sowden continued to build the team’s innings, batting until the last over before being bowled by Danny Fountain.
With a defendable total on the board, Pyalong took to the field with plenty of confidence.
Opening bowlers Zoch and Connor McLeod made life difficult for Seymour, with Zoch (2/20) bowling four maidens from his nine overs and McLeod taking 2/35.
Brett Gordon and James Voogt helped build Seymour’s innings, but Pyalong seemed to have the game in hand before a late explosion from the visitors.
“We bowled very tight and very well, and they batted really well towards the end of their innings,” Pyalong captain Matt Wilkins said.
“We had the game in the bag until late, and then they had a flurry at the end.”
Needing five to win from the final over and facing Pyalong bowler Jackson Ruddick, Seymour benefitted from a no ball and a single to move within striking distance.
But Ruddick held his nerve, bowling four dot balls to bring the match down to the final ball.
“We had a run out on the last ball – it just went through to the keeper and he took the bails off when they tried to run through, so we won by a run,” Wilkins said.
“We had our sponsors’ day, so we had all our sponsors out supporting us and they all thought we rigged the game so that it was so close.
“It was our second win of the season, so it’s nice to get two on the board with one round to go.
“The young kids are getting a bit better, learning the caper a bit better and understanding what you’ve got to do to be competitive in A Grade, which is good. It gives us some options for next year.”
Yea Tigers recorded an upset against Broadford in similar thrilling circumstances at Broadford.
The home side batted first and while Riley Mason (37) and Mitch Collier (38) made starts, no players were able to put together a dominant innings.
A total of 8/139 left the door ajar for Yea, and Damon Malcolm (40) helped the visitors seize the opportunity. Jack Connell (3/29) led the Broadford bowling attack, but Malcolm and Andrew Butterworth (18) forged a 22-run partnership for the sixth wicket, hitting the winning runs with one ball to spare.
Kilmore was belted by Tallarook, losing by nine wickets at home.
Blake Coyle (4/22) starred with the ball for the visitors as no Kilmore batsmen with the exception of Jacob Walton (28) surpassed 21 runs.
Matthew Martin (61) and Lachlan Watts (60) were untroubled after the removal of opener Coby Schulz for 16, bringing up the winning runs with more than eight overs to spare.