WHITTLESEA faces a do-or-die clash with South Morang in Diamond Valley Cricket Association’s Mash Shield on Saturday after a big win against Thomastown at the weekend.
Entering the season’s final round, the Eagles have a three-point buffer between them and fourth-placed Lower Plenty, with Lower Plenty likely to win its final match against Hurstbridge.
Whittlesea will take hot form into the meeting with South Morang after a 36-run victory in the penultimate round of the season.
The Eagles batted after winning the toss and, after losing opener Suresh Fernando for a duck, performed admirably.
Rajitha Ratnayake’s 65 at the top of the order set the tone, and consistent contributions from the likes of Corey Baker (25), Brody Bell (21) and Braydon Avola (34) kept the scoreboard humming.
A total of 5/186 presented a challenge for Thomastown that was not made any easier when opening batsmen Nicholas Fellows, caught behind by Ratnayake off the bowling of Rodney Pratt for a duck, and Sumeet Kumar, run out for seven, fell quickly.
Nathan Somerville struck at regular intervals to take 3/18 from five overs in a standout performance for the Eagles, ably supported by Pratt (2/14) and Baker (2/22).
The results were not as good for Laurimar, which went down in a tight match against Thomastown United at the weekend.
Skipper Jake Zerella again set the standard for the Laurimar batsmen with 54 runs at the top of the order, but too few of his Power teammates followed suit.
Rian Boddy (26) and Sam Toull (20) were the only other Laurimar batsmen to surpass 20 runs as the side was bowled out for 169 in the 37th over.
The Power came out with clear intent in the field, Josh Deans-Draper removing Thomastown United opener Jason Lalios for 12, but a knock of 57 by Matthew Del Mastro put the visitors back on track.
Thomastown United brought up the winning runs with eight balls left and three wickets in hand.
Ash Williams was the best of the Laurimar bowlers with 2/18, the side’s only multiple wicket-taker.
Mernda was defeated but could hold its head high after challenging second-placed Bundoora Park in Money Shield play.
Bundoora Park set an imposing target of 215 on the back of Rubal Singh-Dhillon, but Mernda gave its all in the run-chase.
Opener Dushantha Ranatunga scored 53 and Cooper Perrin blasted 12 boundaries in an innings of 82, but the duo lacked enough meaningful support to get the Demons within striking distance.
Mernda finished its innings 8/190, 25 runs short of Bundoora Park’s total.
The Demons will play Bundoora in the final round of the season and are out of finals contention.