WITH only five rounds remaining in Seymour District Cricket Association’s A Grade season, Kilmore and Tallarook each took big steps towards securing a finals berth with wins at the weekend.
Kilmore made an important statement with a win against Yea Tigers in a rematch of last season’s grand final.
After earning the plaudits of Kilmore captain Josh Buttler with 91 runs against Eastern Hill in round eight, opening batsman Dale Tassone once again showed his class with an unbeaten 117.
Tassone batted out Kilmore’s full 45 overs as partners fell around him, with Robert Hanson, who made a vital 46 not out batting at number eight, the only other Blue to reach double figures.
Tassone and Hanson guided the visitors to 6/198, setting a daunting target for the Tigers.
Yea’s run chase was in trouble quickly when opening batsmen Darcy Pell and Lawrence Heath were removed cheaply, Pell caught off spinner Jayme Lowe and Heath bowled by Brett Buttler.
Brett’s son Josh got in on the act, removing top-order batsman Nathan Beattie for 27, while Brett claimed another scalp when he bowled the dangerous Cam Armstrong, 51, to keep his side in the driver’s seat.
Yea tailender Jack Christie’s unbeaten 39 kept the Tigers competitive, but with the required run rate spiralling out of control, the Blues were able to hang on for a comfortable 31-run win after Yea finished its innings 9/167.
Kilmore’s bowlers shared in the spoils, with Brett Buttler finishing with a tidy 2/10 with three maidens from nine overs, while Lowe and Josh Buttler also had two wickets apiece.
The win was a vital one for Kilmore, which now leads the Tigers by three points in fourth place on the ladder with an edge in percentage.
Tallarook also shored up its spot in the top four with a nine-wicket thrashing of bottom side Seymour at Tallarook Recreation Reserve.
The visitors batted first after winning the toss, but Tallarook’s bowling attack immediately seized the upper hand.
Seymour opener Jason Brown was bowled by Tallarook skipper Lachie Watts for a duck, setting the tone for the day.
Seymour laboured to put runs on the board, with only Hayden Gawne, 21, Brodey Pointon, 21, and Daniel McLarty, 12, reaching double figures.
Kalon Winnell and Ben Tarran were Tallarook’s best bowlers, Winnell claiming four wickets for only 11 runs in nine overs while Tarran, remarkably, did not surrender a single run in seven overs, claiming one wicket in the process.
The visitors survived for 41 overs but put up only 80 runs before finally being bowled out, setting a modest target.
The Rookers wasted no time in chasing it down, with Tarran, 31*, and Watts, 35*, leading the team to victory within 17 overs after opener Travis Muir was bowled for 12.
The round’s final game between Broadford and Eastern Hill was washed out.
In round 11 this weekend, Kilmore host Seymour, Eastern Hill will take on Yea Tigers and Tallarook will travel for an important road game against Broadford.